Fest vets to catch at Fest 15

Your bags are probably packed by now, because we're only a few days away from Fest 15. While we always encourage you to take time out of your busy schedule to catch those under the radar acts that deserve your support, the truth is there are bands you've seen before, and will see again, that you just can't miss. With that in mind, the Punknews staff has curated a list of veteran acts that are worth a slot on your Fest schedule. Fest 15 kicks off this Friday, October 28, and runs through October 30. You can still pick up passes here.

Toys That Kill

Toys That KillThe casual coolness of a Toys That Kill performance manages to affect the vibe of being present for a band’s A-game jam practice with their closest friends and a couple of beers, despite that room being filled with hundreds of people—that comfortability is something earned over time, and the guys in Toys That Kill have been cranking out jams for the almost two decades. Their dorky, off-kilter style is absolutely infectious, carefully crafted throughout the band’s long and lustrous career, and the result is what keeps fans coming back for more. Put it this way: I’ll gladly give you a dollar if you can manage to only stand still and nod throughout the 77-style assault that is absolutely made to be moved to. You can catch Toys That Kill at Boca Fiesta on Friday during their late-night set. -Stevie Navarre Allen

Dead To Me

Dead To Me People, Jack Dalrymple is back in Dead To Me! That and the fact that the band is back alone should be enough as to why you should see them at Fest 15 -- other than the other fact that this will be their only Florida show. Since Jack’s return, Dead To Me have only played a handful of shows in California. I was fortunate enough to catch their only Los Angeles show (thus far) and it was hands down one of the best shows I have been to. Don’t believe me? Here is my account of what happened. It was so great to hear Jack and Chicken’s voices switch off during classic songs from Cuban Ballerina and the Little Brother EP. At least when I saw them they played a couple of new songs from their recently released 7-inch. And if I had to bet on it, they’ll probably throw them on their set list at Fest 15 as well. This is performance that should absolutely not be missed! -Ricky Frankel


PropagandhiI know a lot of you kids like to drink wine (among other things), so you know what I mean when I say Propagandhi are like a fine wine -- they keep getting better with age. While so many others fall back on old formulas, Propagandhi has remained fresh, vital and smarter than you for more than two decades, and the band shows no signs of slowing down. If there's a can't-miss set this weekend, this is it. -Adam Eisenberg

Negative Approach

Negative ApproachLast year I encouraged you go see Mustard Plug at The Fest. You should try to catch them again this year. They are Grand Rapids’ greatest musical ambassadors, and their shows are always a ton of fun. This year you must also catch a band that is much more unpleasant, Detroit’s Negative Approach. They are the definitive hardcore band from America’s ugliest city. Their bleak sound perfectly reflects the violent wasteland that is Motown. Their music is like the city itself, cold, hard and punishing. Negative Approach originally started melting faces way back in the early 80’s. Since singer John Brannon put the band back together a decade ago, a whole new generation has been able to experience the brutality first hand. Do not miss the most intense half hour of the entire Fest weekend. You can thank me later. -Tom Crandle

Dillinger Four

Dillinger FourLet’s be honest, Dillinger Four hardly ever tour. So if you have been dying to see them whether it is your first time or it is your tenth and you are going to Fest 15 this year, do yourself a favor and make it your mission to see this band. I saw them at Punk Rock Bowling Las Vegas this year for the first time and goddamn was I happy that I did. This west coaster just wishes he could shout along to “Gainesville” -- IN GAINESVILLE! -Ricky Frankel

Jeff Rosenstock

Jeff Rosenstock I don't need to waste your time telling you why you should go see the Jeff Rosenstock band at FEST. You and I both know that you'll be there anyway. You'll be there for the big, explosive, everyone-in-the-room-shouts-aloing choruses. You'll be there for the LET'S-PARTY-(EVEN-THOUGH-WE-ARE-DEPRESSED) atmosphere. You'll be there for the sheer spectacle that is the full-wattage Jeff and John and Mike and Kevin powerhouse, slam down, kick ass rock show. So, I won't waste your time telling you to go. What I will do is say that when you do go see the Jeff Rosenstock band, you might gouge your eyes out afterwards because you will be of the belief that you won't ever see anything that cool again, and therefore, all sights seen after the JRB shows will exist only as a mockery of what you once saw, and might never see again. But, like I said, even with this info, we both know that you'll be there. It's that good of a show. -John Gentile

Night Birds

Night Birds Night Birds have quickly become one of my favorite east coast bands. Last year’s Mutiny At Muscle Beach is such a killer record and I had the absolute pleasure of finally getting to hear some of those live (also) at Punk Rock Bowling Las Vegas this year. What you hear on the record is what you get from them when they hit the stage – furious and aggressive punk anthems that are sure to melt faces. Night Birds should be an obvious choice to add on to your Fest 15 “must-see” list. -Ricky Frankel

Small Brown Bike

Small Brown BikeThere has long been a connection between Michigan and Florida. When those of us from the Great Lakes State turn 65 or so, we’re supposed to buy a condo or roll our RV down to the Sunshine State to avoid the brutal winters. Likewise, there has long been a connection between Michigan bands and Florida record labels. Marshall, MI’s Small Brown Bike were one of the first to forge that path. SBB has been around since 1996, and released their debut LP Our Own Wars on Gainesville’s No Idea in 1999.Twenty years later, their combination of punk, emo and post-punk still sounds fresh. Be sure to check them out at The Fest, their live show still packs a punch. -Tom Crandle

Brian McGee

Image Brian McGee, he needs no introduction, but I'll give you one anyways. The dude has spent decades fronting the intelligent but bombastic Plow United. He knows his way to the end of a crescendo. This guy is a punker with brains. (That's the most dangerous kind!) And now, he's doing the solo-guy thing. McGee brings roots rock song composition together with punk combustibility and crafts jams that are moving that also get people moving. This is EXACTLY the kind of music FEST was made for. -John Gentile


PEARSYou want to see a guaranteed amazing show? Go see PEARS at Fest this year! If you have not seen them since the wonderful Green Star came out, then this is definitely the time to see them. I had the pleasure of catching them on their tour with Direct Hit! not too long ago and at least in my opinion their live show gets better each time I see them. Since their second record was released they have become much more confident on stage and have really grown in terms of how that perform. God knows they have had enough practice. But I have to hand it to the band, those new songs sounds excellent live and it is always a great time when PEARS come into town. -Ricky Frankel

The Flatliners

The Flatliners The Flatliners consistently rank as one of my favorite acts to see live—having caught 4 or 5 of their performances in recent memory, I am reminded each and every time just how damn dynamic, energetic and overall, well, fun they are to observe in their element. Switching effortlessly from hard and fast (“Shithawks”) to long and lanky (“He Was a Jazzman”) and everywhere in-between, you’ll want to put on your best moshin’ shoes and warm up you vocal chords for the crowd wide sing-along that inevitably erupts with each show. One dose of the Flatties not enough for you? You can catch frontman Chris Cresswell’s solo acoustic performance at Loosey’s early on Saturday, with The Flatliners taking the stage at Bo Diddley Plaza later in the afternoon. -Stevie Navarre Allen