My Fest beer coozie reads “420 + 69 = The Fest V” -- however, No Idea seems to have the wrong equation. My mathematical analysis to the incredible weekend of October 27th-29th works out a bit differently…
The Fest V = Hundreds of punks + 160 bands + eight venues + gallons of sweat + tons of beer + a lifetime of memories + only two urinals
It’s a bit more intricate, but it roughly sums up the weekend quite well.
Speaking of complexity, it would take nearly ten pages of this size 10 Verdana font to summarize the fifth edition of the Fest, so instead I will just talk about the highlights of the weekend.
Top Five Bands at The Fest Five:
Dillinger Four: Orgcore’s premier group tore Abbey Road apart on Saturday evening. It’s been a few years since I had seen D4 so I was looking forward to them profusely. Paddy opened the set discussing how he had found God before appropriately diving into “Mosh for Jesus.” It didn’t let up from there and neither did Paddy’s pants, as the frontman practically played the entire show naked. Dan Yemin is correct: Dillinger Four is the greatest punk band at the moment and it was apparent everyone at The Fest agreed. The venue was filled, including just about every band that wasn’t playing a show at the moment.
The Lawrence Arms: As the trio took the stage it appeared that Bren had drained the Common Ground’s kegs. It’s no secret that the Larry Arms enjoy their alcohol, but I had never seen Bren that wasted before as he stumbled around the stage trying to wield his guitar. Despite being tremendously inebriated it did not affect his playing or the groups as TLA easily put on the best arrangement I have witnessed from them yet. The set list was Oh, Calcutta! heavy, but also featured notables like “100 Resolutions” and “Porno & Snuff Films.” Bren even gave a modest shout-out to Punknews.org, before telling all us Orgers to go to hell!
Lifetime: This was my fifth time seeing the influential Lifetime since their reunion last August and their performance closing out The Fest on Sunday evening at Abbey Road was easily one of their best. The long weekend exhausted me and I was too weary to brave the crowd so I watched from the side of the stage as the Jersey boys slammed through a stunning show. Melodic hardcore classics “Danuerysm,” “Rodeo Clown,” “Young, Loud, & Scotty,” and “The Boy’s No Good” helped make up their fantastic set list, which also included the new song “Haircuts & T-Shirts,” which picks up right where the band left off. The crowd, not ready to end the weekend, began chanting “One more song!” Ari, Dan, Dave, Scott, and Pete stormed the stage for a terrific two-song encore that included “Cut the Tension” and at the request of Sickboi, Scott Heisel, and myself, “Anchor.”
Paint It Black: Earlier this year PIB played at the minute Mr. Roboto Project in Pittsburgh; there were roughly 30 kids there and no one seemed into it. In a complete contrast, the 100 or so fans that packed into the Atlantic on Sunday afternoon went completely batty for the Philadelphia hardcore act. Dan Yemin led the pack through 15 abrasive songs including “Pink Slip,” “CVA,” “Atticus Finch,” and “Election Day.”
Latterman / Dead to Me / None More Black / Chuck Ragan: It would be impossible for me to pick one of those four phenomenal acts to take the fifth slot as each performed well above my expectations.
Latterman opened for the Larry Arms on Friday night and really set the pace for the entire weekend with their unique brand of punk rock. Their songs were meant to be sing-alongs and watching a packed venue grasp onto every word was a sight to see.
I was really looking forward to Dead to Me's set as I have yet to see them yet. Even though they had a small set and not too many turned out to watch them (New Mexican Disaster Squad were playing at the same time), they could have easily stole Sunday evening if it wasn’t for Lifetime playing.
None More Black easily matched Dead to Me’s performance -- had I not seen them a handful of times already I may have favored them a bit more. Their short set was engaging and straight to the point. Colin uncorked the set claiming that Gainesville’s number one export was dirt; if it wasn’t for the copious amount of frat boys I encountered during the weekend I may have agreed with him. NMB put their best effort forward with an equal mix of songs from File Under Black, Loud About Loathing, and their new album This Is Satire.
Later this month the Lawrence Arms and Chuck Ragan will be stopping by Pittsburgh, however I have a mandatory work dinner to attend that evening. Needless to say I was not going to miss Ragan’s set at the Common Ground on Sunday evening (I was mildly upset about missing Fifth Hour Hero, but I feel I made the correct choice).
Other bands I saw: Smoke or Fire, Savage Brewtality, North Lincoln, You Me & the Atom Bomb, New Bruises, the Arrivals, the Bomb, Radon, Armalite, Pink Razors (A.K.A. “The Tuning Band”), Hot Cross, Haram, Coliseum, Against All Authority, the Revenge, No Trigger, No More, Ghost Mice (twice), Static Radio, Affirmative Action Jackson, and Cloak/Dagger.
Dan Yemin Facts from The Fest V:
Dan Yemin wrestled an alligator
Armalite is a thousand times better live than on record
Dan Yemin is the “Where’s Waldo of Punk Rock” (term coined by Scott Heisel)
Paint it Black needs to change the lyrics to “Atticus Finch” as Yemin wore Adidas shoes and not Chucks (except during Lifetime’s barefoot set, because Dan is better than shoes)
Dr. Dan is the nicest guy in history
Dan Yemin drinks like a fish
He was once a telephone booth for Halloween
Owns only three shirts
Liza Minnelli is Dan’s celebrity crush
Dan Yemin loves Inquisition
Biggest Surprises at The Fest V:
The Ergs: My friend Adam sent me a few of their songs prior to our trip, but I sort of brushed them aside. However, their style of pop-punk meets New Jersey melodic hardcore is a blast, especially on top of their quirky and energetic live show.
Affirmative Action Jackson: Josh Argan and Andy Nelson from Paint it Black are in this hardcore/punk/comedy outfit. They were as hilarious as they were abrasive. Bassist Josh may have had more energy than anyone at The Fest -- which really helped pump up those piled into the Atlantic whom were looking dead tired from the three days of shows.
Drunkest Band at The Fest V:
The Fleshies: Wow, Johnny No Moniker (A.K.A. Emilio Estevez) was completely trashed when they opened up Abbey Road on Saturday night. He definitely spent more time on the ground than on the stage.
I’m a little disappointed that I did not get to see all the bands that I wanted to ([Defiance, Ohio], Planes Mistaken for Stars, Drag the River, the Velvet Teen, VCR, Minus the Bear, Blood Bath & Beyond, and New Mexican Disaster Squad), but The Fest works and it works well! If you ever need proof that punk rock succeeds, then all you need is one look at The Fest. Despite there being a plethora of drunks roaming Gainesville no one was ever drastically out of control, and there was no security (sans a few volunteers) at the shows; this worked well, as everyone in attendance took care of each other. The Fest is an exhausting weekend, but a truly remarkable one at that. This was my first one and based on my experience this year I will be in attendance at the annual event from here on out.
Thank you No Idea, the bands, the volunteers, Tony, and of course all the people in attendance who made this the most amazing music festival I have ever been to.