06:07 AM on 08/03/12
Sound & Fury review by Josh Lyford I woke up at 2:30am on Thursday, July 19th to start my journey to Santa Barbara, California for the annual Sound and Fury Festival. My good friend Shane drove me and he was a real trooper, this was a bit early for both of our tastes.
When I arrived at the airport the vibe deteriorated rapidly, there seemed to be an extra high percentage of grumpy businessmen irritated that they couldn’t get through the security checkpoint any faster. I thought one of the more vocal suits was going to get tossed out of the airport after saying some particularly gnarly things to a woman working behind the X-ray machine. Unfortunately he didn’t and you could tell that was enough of a victory for him.
I escaped the grouchy businessmen with haste and got myself a coffee, I had three flights to Santa Barbara and I wanted to be on point. Every time I fly I am amazed when I arrive successfully at my destination, I wander terminals like some sort of confused Basset hound.
The first two flights went smoothly, I hopped out in LA and grabbed an $8 beer and some grocery-store grade sushi and read some video game magazines (I can’t help myself). After the flight to San Francisco I had to use this time to get some work done and the aural accompaniment to my emailing was a baby making demon noises and spluttering spit everywhere, it was strangely calming.
After 5 delays, I finally got on to my last plane destined for Santa Barbara. The flight took place on a small prop plane and my nerves were tested. I get a little spooked on planes and I really appreciated my newfound conference attendee friend who bought me some drinks.
The plane touched down and I stepped out into the sun and realized that I had an entire day before the festival with virtually no plans whatsoever. I didn’t have friends in Santa Barbara, I didn’t have a hotel and I didn’t have transportation. I decided to hedge my bets and hopped in a cab bound for downtown Santa Barbara, there had to be a room with my name on it and once I had established a home base, fun was sure to follow.
The festive looking taxi-driver informed me that I had arrived in Santa Barbara at an exciting time, aside from Sound and Fury, there was also a Greek Festival, Wine Festival, and some other music festival and in addition it was college week. He went on to tell me that due to these perfect storm-like conditions, there was going to be an outrageous amount of hot babes downtown. He actually looked me up and down and said that if I, “Couldn’t find one tonight, there was something wrong with me.”
There must have been something wrong with me because after a brief adventure to get a burrito and some Tecate, I was laying in bed alone watching American Dad.
I would be touring home with Mountain Man after the festival and Pat Murphy, drummer for the band, called me and informed me that they would be arriving in Santa Barbara around 1 and needed a place to crash.
Once they arrived we had a few more Tecates and most likely confused our neighbors as we all got comfortable in the heat by removing most of our clothes and posting up in front of our room. Eventually, we all crashed in the steamy hotel room.
I woke up with most of Mountain Man in my bed, a sticky, sweaty pile of human beings ripe with booze and moisture.
I shot out of bed with some excitement in my step, it was Friday and I was going to be at Sound and Fury! I had wanted to make the trek out for the last few years but had either touring obligations or couldn’t make it work with my schedule. This time was different, I was here and thanks to SJC Drums I was going to see a lot of awesome bands.
Pat dropped me off bright and early and I went off on an expedition to find coffee, I needed to get caffeinated and quickly.
Once the coffee had been secured, I headed into the venue to meet Ray Harkins, the man behind the event and some other people before checking in with the SJC backline kit to make sure that it was on point. From there I wandered around a bit before the festival kicked off, I even found out a little about Earl Warren, the man that the venue show grounds was named for.
I traded my coffee in for water and enjoyed Cocksparrer on the PA as Jesse Menard from Mountain Man brought me a survival burrito. Just as I began to unwrap it, New Brigade announced that they would not be able to play at this time. This was a bummer but Disgrace was ready to go and their set was awesome. To see that many people going off that early in the day was something to behold.
Bankrobber was up next, some of my friends had told me that I had to check them out and I am exceedingly glad that I did. They ruled and already the day was amazing.
I was already impressed at the speed of changeovers as Single Mothers plugged in. The logistics of having this many bands set up and going so rapidly melted my brain. Regardless, Single Mothers was rad. They had a much different vibe than many of the other bands but that was appreciated.
Next up was Ill Intent. They ruled all the way through and even covered Cocksparrer, grade A band in my book.
After Ill Intent wrapped up, I had to take a second to go lay in the grass outside of the venue. It was super nice and I had trouble not sleeping off some of my jetlag. A bug hung out on my leg at one point and we became close friends. Good luck out there little creature!
I went back inside as Ivy League played, they were really cool and they covered Saves the Day, which meant that they won me over pretty quickly.
I unfortunately had to leave the festival to help with a hotel reservation for the weekend and had to miss a few bands. Sorry to everyone that I missed.
When I did make it back to the festival, Suburban Scum was playing. If you are familiar with Suburban Scum at all, you know this set was something to see, and it did not disappoint.
After Suburban Scum finished up, Sabretooth Zombie began. They were pretty cool and I couldn’t help but notice that their drummer hits hard, I love it. At some point a situation arose with a broken mic stand and the band may have been asked to leave the venue.
Downpresser was next and they were ridiculous. This was the first set that you could start seeing an almost subconscious creative-stage diving contest begin and it was great. I hadn’t seen gainer stage dives before and while I don’t think I saw one fully executed here, it was a really nice attempt.
Take Offense was next and they were sick. I couldn’t stop banging my head as I slowly got more and more hungry for burritos.
The Mongoloids were next and they were sweet, I was honestly pretty distracted at this point as I had just bought a cheese quesadilla but it was a perfect soundtrack for nibbling cheese.
Next up was Xibalba and I can describe them in one word: heavy. Heavy like the cheese quesadilla pitting in my stomach but, probably even heavier than that. At one point the makeshift divider between the show floor and the merch vendors almost came down. Awesome.
Afterwards Rotting Out played and all I can say is this; they had easily one of the crazier sets I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. It was actually chaos. Rotting Out is fucking awesome and I enjoyed their music, now I had a spectacle to put alongside the tunes.
I’ve had the pleasure of touring with Comeback Kid so I have seen the band play many times. They have never once disappointed, and their set at Sound and Fury was no exception. They have to be one of the tightest bands around and it was truly a joy to experience. It gets me stoked knowing that a band I have listened to for probably around ten years is still making awesome new music and still completely killing it.
Touché Amore wrapped the night up and it was great. They are another departure from much of the Sound and Fury bands and their set was atmospheric and had an almost eerie vibe to it. At one point the singer caught himself with the microphone and began bleeding from the face, kids were very clearly psyched.
Once they wrapped up, it was time to shower and head out to enjoy the post-fest activities.
State Street was the name of the game, the gathering of several festivals and college week meant that good times would be had and these Tecates weren’t going to drink themselves.
Some sort of classic rock dance party occurred and climaxed epically. By that I mean we were asked to leave the hotel we were hanging in by the police and had to make our way back to our own hotel.
I finally fell blissfully to sleep and woke up the next day much later than I had intended, I got a veggie burger and headed back to the festival.
I had promised my friend Andy from Green Vans that I would help fix an air conditioning unit in one of his vans and that was my priority today. My qualifications for working on an AC unit? Moped repair experience and working under the table for an HVAC company 6 years ago. Basically, flying blind.
Almost my entire day was taken up by the repairs, which was a bummer because I missed a lot of the bands I would have liked to see, on the other hand however, I got to meet a lot of really nice people and in the end the AC unit had been fixed with vice grips. Naysayer had ice cold AC once again!
When I finally wrapped up I headed inside to see the last portion of Bane’s set. I have seen Bane countless times in Massachusetts, but this was my first time seeing them out of state and it was awesome. So much love for those guys.
Terror came afterwards and I am 100% positive that I could watch them every single day and never not be stoked. Scott Vogel is an incredible front man and you can’t help but go off, when he says more stagedives, you oblige.
H20 came after and it was a great segue into the rest of the evening. Positive, stoked music to get everybody smiling and enjoying themselves. Props to H20 for still keeping PMA alive.
After the Fest wrapped up for the day, a bunch of people when to Whiskey Richards on State Street and indulged in beverages and karaoke. In fact, the entire event was so out of control that when a particularly awesome Metallica cover started, featuring stage dives, pile ons and beer flowing from the ceiling, the gentleman running the event immediately pulled the plug. No more karaoke for us!
I had a few too many drinks that night and my notes for the rest of the evening are unintelligible. I am going to assume that this is for the best.
Sunday morning crept through the shades bright and early. I got over to the Earl Warren Showgrounds ASAP and caught a bit of Alpha and Omega’s soundcheck. Rad.
Once everyone started spilling back into the venue, Brawl started things off. I wasn’t familiar with this band at all going into this, but they seemed appropriately heavy for a start to the day.
Silver Snakes came next, I only caught a bit of their set but it was enjoyable.
Break Away was sweet, they had a ton of energy and the audience seemed to feed off of it. Things were really starting to get heated up.
Mountain Man ruled. I am going to indulge a little bit more here as they are my close friends as well as my ride back to Massachusetts. I have followed this band since they first formed and musically, they keep growing in huge steps. For their fest performance, and for their tour home, they have two full drum kits and a floor tom for percussion. To say that their set was intense would be a gross understatement. They fucking ruled and I was really stoked to see some pals get the reaction that they did on the opposite coast. I also stupidly re-bruised my heel during their set, I had already been limping around the whole weekend but due to some choice waffle-sole stomping I was now hobbling like a peg-legged pirate. It didn’t matter though; the insanely heavy drum circle that was the Mountain Man set made it all worthwhile.
Tough Luck was sweet, I was seated through their set due to my heel but I thought it was great.
They were followed by Early Graves and Early Graves ruled. Tons of longhaired head banging, which I will always support. In fact, it made me mad that my own ginger hair wasn’t about a foot longer.
Xerxes was amazing, they had some bass issues during their set but it didn’t matter, they killed it and that is what I will take away from their show.
Hour of the wolf is always awesome. Their frontman is hilarious and they sounded great. I also really appreciated the glitter exploding everywhere during their set, solid gold.
I left after Hour of the Wolf to get a grilled cheese from In N Out and probably could have been rolled out of the restaurant like a gigantic albino tick swollen with blood. I had no choice but to try and deflate while lying in the grass.
I headed inside just in time for Fire and Ice. I was so glad that I did, their set was completely insane. They have a style all there own and I hope I get to keep catching these guys as they keep writing music and touring. It occurred to me that I have to see these guys in their hometown one day.
After Fire and Ice was Seahaven which was a treat. They were another band that had a much different vibe than everyone else, but it was a completely awesome change of pace. Bizarre plug of the piece, my band played with them and Daytrader once awhile back and it was really rad to see them get such a good reaction.
After Seahaven was Alpha and Omega. They sounded tight as hell and kids went off. Their guitarist Brian is from Massachusetts and I was amazed that he left our hotel in the morning as banged up as he did from a wild night out on the town to shred as well as he did.
Harms Way. What can I say? They are outrageously heavy and their set may have been the only one where I was legitimately concerned for my safety. I loved every second of it, they are called Harms Way after all, I couldn’t claim to not see this coming. Mosh or die mentality and everyone went off.
The Rival Mob was next. I love this band and when they played “tough love” I think my brain exploded. Their set was crazy and their frontman has an outrageous stage presence that gives a personality to the otherwise total chaos.
Black Breath came next and they too made me super pissed that my hair wasn’t a foot longer. So much head banging and shred occurred everywhere. They mixed things up a bit from the standard sound as well and it was in a totally awesome direction. So stoked on my Razor to Oblivion T shirt.
Ceremony. I was glad that I went into this without expectations. They are easily one of the most unique shows I have ever seen. Say what you will about their musical direction but onstage there is simply nothing like them. Banana suits, stage dives, chaos, swagger, their singer Ross even had the mic taped to his hand for a while. I can describe their set in one word: Entertainment.
I had to leave during Blacklisted, which drove me up a fucking wall. They are one of my favorite hardcore bands and I had wanted to catch them forever. At least I got to see a few songs and they were all nailed. I walked out the back door of the venue watching kids go insane. It honestly seemed like a suitable way to say goodbye to the weekend.
I piled into the Mountain Man van and we drove straight to Huntington Beach to stay with our friends in Comeback Kid. We spent the night playing with our friends’ dogs on the beach and telling stories. It was incredible. We slept in the next day and began our trek to play Tucson, Arizona.
I am looking forward to making our slow way back to Massachusetts and seeing some bands play as well as the Mountain Man percussion/groove experience.
Sound and Fury was an incredible event, amazing bands, amazing friends and while there were some injuries and incidents, as a whole the entire thing was run incredibly well. I certainly hope that I get to go again next year.
To get sappy for one moment, I have been listening to hardcore, going to shows and playing in bands for the last ten years and to see the current state of hardcore in 2012 is reassuring. Hardcore is alive and well in 2012 and I can’t wait to see what is next.
Huge thanks to SJC Drums for sending me out to the festival, Mountain Man for putting me up for the trip home, Sound and Fury for inviting me out (and doing an incredible job with the entire weekend), Comeback Kid for housing us and an extra special thanks to Tanner, Lisa and Kyle for letting us hangout with their dogs. Also, thanks to AP.net for letting me write this and you for reading it!
Also, as an addendum to all of this, I was informed that Naysayer’s AC went down again once they left the festival. I apparently fastened the vice grips too tightly and the connecting hose was separated. Sorry gentlemen, I hope you can get it ripping once again!
07:22 AM on 08/03/12
Everything he writes reads like an eighth grade essay.
07:58 AM on 08/03/12
I have to make it out for this some year.
10:46 AM on 08/03/12
Why did this dude fly from LA to San Francisco to Santa Barbara?
11:04 AM on 08/03/12
Inside of your heart always
Hopefully I can attend this in the future.
11:55 AM on 08/03/12
cant wait to read this.been to sound and fury 5 years in a row now ? :)
12:13 PM on 08/03/12
You long to dance, but I must sleep
My thoughts exactly. Hitching a ride from LA would have been much quicker.
Flights aside, this was a horrible review of Sound and Fury.
04:29 PM on 08/03/12
Do it. It was the highlight of my summer and it did not disappoint. So many good bands seen and so much merch bought.
05:26 PM on 08/03/12
Josh works for SJC Drums, who sent him to the festival to work.
05:32 PM on 08/03/12
Ya, but flying into LA, then up to San Francisco, then back down to Santa Barbara is crazy haha. Tool an extra 2 flights.
05:37 PM on 08/03/12
Yeah, not my ideal situation either, but if they're paying for it...then whatever. I'm afraid of heights though, so this would be pretty nightmarish. "AUGHHHHHHH WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!!!"
08:24 PM on 08/03/12
I wish the review had more description really. More than just bands playing. I also thought; Why don't I ever do something after concerts? Questions I'll answer later in life. Sounds like they had good food there at least. Sounds like Bled Fest in Michigan but with more burritos.
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