The Fest 13 (Day 2) - Live in Gainesville (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Fest 13 (Day 2)

Live in Gainesville (2014)

live show

The first day of November marked the second day of Fest 13, and the plunging of temperatures in Gainesville. Bands not selling hoodies missed out on what possibly was their greatest merchandising moment ever. Descendents were certainly not one of those bands, as Milo’s familiar visage was seen everywhere throughout the day. But first, there were monsters to battle.

It was just after noon when I rolled into 8 Seconds (a country-themed bar 362 days of the year) to find a wrestling ring set up in the middle of the spacious venue. Kaiju Big Battel had come to Fest. Billed as a “battle of epic proportions,” The combantants in the wrestling promotion are “maniacal villains, ominous alien beasts, and gigantic, city-crushing monsters who are fighting for control of the globe, their volatile tempers periodically detonating into bouts of intergalactic sparring and senseless acts of violence.” Those of us in attendance were treated to an entertaining wrestling spectacle. Watching Tucor defeat French Toast was heartbreaking, and a shock to the crowd that had assembled for the early show.

I walked a couple blocks over to what would become my main venue for the day, Bo Diddley Plaza. The fences had been moved out to accommodate more people, and the difference was noticeable. Any worries people may have had about missing out on the bigger name acts were instantly eliminated. I managed to catch the final few songs of Broadway Calls, who seemed a bit out of place in such a large venue. Their 1:30 start time may have had something to do with it as well, with a few hundred people at the front of the stage during their set. Banner Pilot was next, offering a generous helping of their newer material, while going back to Collapser for shout-alongs like “Central Standard.” They were surprisingly energetic as well, considering the sweatfest of a “secret show” that they had played the night before at Loosey’s.

The crowd continued to grow even in the presence of four hooded criminals. Allegedly. In the middle of the afternoon, Masked Intruder hit the Bo Diddley stage (with Officer Bradford at stage right keeping an eye on things) to the opening strains of “Stick ‘em Up.” Almost half of each of their full-lengths was played, and the band even obliged a fan in the front who had shouted for them to play “Gimme Parole” from their debut 7", First Offense. Telling the crowd that they were going to “play a song that no one’s ever heard of from the 90’s because that’s punk,” they then tore into the NOFX classic, “Linoleum.” Officer Bradford jumped into the crowd at various points singing with fans, and Mixtapes’ Maura Weaver came up to duet with Intruder Blue on, naturally, “Heart Shaped Guitar.” The mid-afternoon set was one of my favorites of the weekend.

I got to Durty Nelly’s about midway through Awkward Age’s 30-minute set. The Tampa-based trio had just released their new album, We Could Be Anywhere a few weeks previously, just in time for their second trip to Fest. Just around the corner, Brooklyn, NY’s Candy Hearts played a tight set of pop-punk gems to an excited crowd, Mariel Loveland putting down her guitar for several songs and simply holding the microphone, fronting the band alone.

Seeing both Radon and Less Than Jake satisfied my Gainesville nostalgia for the day. The former being particularly special for me, as they were one of the very first bands I had ever seen when I lived there. I left after about 20 minutes to catch the last part of LTJ, arriving in time for “History of a Boring Town,” “Nervous in the Alley,” and “All My Best Friends are Metalheads.” Not to mention closing out with LTJ’s upcoming theme for Pac-Man cereal (after having played it twice earlier in the set). Coming next spring. Seriously.

After about a half-hour changeover, it was time for Descendents. “We haven’t played in Florida in quite awhile. In fact we haven’t played in Gainesville in like, 30 years. That’s really scary,” declared vocalist Milo Aukerman. After giving a shoutout to the members of Less Than Jake for their hospitality, the band slammed into “Everything Sux” followed by “Hope,” and “Rotting Out.” The crowd of approximately 4000 screamed along with every word, and Andrew Seward (formerly of Against Me!) could be seen playing air drums and singing along to “Clean Sheets” while working the barricade. They played through all the classics, closing out with “Thank You,” and “I’m Not a Loser.”

By the time I made it out of Bo Diddley Plaza, I decided to forego some of the later sets for some rest. I’d have to see Chuck Ragan and Tim Barry some other time. I still had another full day ahead of me.

Pictures from Fest 13 can be found on the Punknews instagram under the #FEST13 hashtag.