A Fest Virgin’s Guide To Whatever The Fuck Is Gonna Happen To Her In Gainesville This Weekend
As soon as I decided that I would be attending Fest for the first time this year, just about everyone I know has felt the need to give me some form of advice or tip on how to tackle the 4-day-long punk rock fiesta that kicks off this Thursday in Gainesville, FL. First, it was my dear friend Lisa who decided that because it was my inaugural Fest, I couldn’t say “no” to anything she offered the entire weekend… meaning she would basically be pouring alcohol down my throat and I couldn’t do anything about it. Then it was my high school friend Dustin who laughed after I sent him my “tentative schedule,” claiming I’d probably end up seeing less than half of my list. And even my co-worker Matty claimed I might want to change my return flight on Monday morning to a later time because I would be that hungover.
This got me thinking - what the fuck is actually gonna happen to me in Gainesville this weekend?! What am I getting myself into? The only thing that I can do to prepare for the inevitable mayhem is keep focused on some of the bands that I absolutely will not miss, no matter who pours what down my throat (and yes, I wrote a ‘that’s what she said’ joke into my own blog. Whatever).
Restorations 11:30PM - Saturday Nov 2 @ The Wooly
Okay, really, if you’re not into this band by now AND you’re going to Fest, who are you? Actually I don’t want to know any person who doesn’t at least respect what Restorations is doing with their sound. Granted, I am their publicist so I may have a tiny bias but you know what? No. I first heard A/B long before I got my job at S1D and knew way back then that this was a band worth paying attention to. I’ve had the most amazing honor to work with these dudes for the past 10 months and can confidently say that their live show will be one of the best that anyone will see at Fest this year or probably ever.
Song to check out: “D”
Dikembe 4:40PM - Saturday Nov 2 @ The Wooly
We all loved American Football long before LA Weekly or Stereogum started including them in those click-hungry list-icles. So it’s no shock that a band that brings to mind the same “I don’t care about anything but this moment” indie/emo greatness is a hit within this community. I think I was sold on Dikembe as soon as I read that they had an EP called Chicago Bowls. Awesome name. But besides that, what I really love about this band is the sheer honesty you can feel creep out of the speakers thanks to Steven Gray’s achy yet always on-point vocal delivery and lyricism. They’re also pretty good at the internet.
Song to check out: “We Could Become River Rats”
The Moms 9:00PM - Thursday Oct 31 @ Rockey’s
Full disclosure: I know absolutely nothing about this band. Last week, I decided to listen to every band playing Fest that I had never heard before and these guys were one of them. Out of the many bands I checked out, The Moms stood out like a sore thumb. They sound like early Against Me! mixed with a little Menzingers too. There’s more personality and satirical charm laced within their 4-song Viva! EP than I’ve heard from most bands in my entire music-listening life. This isn’t punk, it’s certainly not emo and it's quite far from indie rock— The Moms are bonafide American rock ‘n’ roll and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.
Song to check out: “Viva”
Red City Radio 4:50PM - Thursday Oct 31 @ 8 Seconds
I like Red City Radio, always have. But I don’t think I knew what I was getting into when I first heard Titles a few weeks ago. It’s truly a game-changing album for the band, who I’ve come to know and love since I first heard their 2011 full-length The Dangers Of Standing Still. Didn’t think they could write better songs than they did on that record but man, was I wrong! I have probably played Titles all the way through at least twice a day since I got it. Obsessed? Maybe. Genuinely in love with these songs? You bet. Can’t wait to sing along to words I can hardly understand in Gainesville this Thursday? Duh.
Song to check out: “Joy Comes With The Morning”
Torche 12:40AM - Thursday Oct 31 @ The Wooly
There are way too many of you Fest-goers that are overlooking Torche. Have you even listened to this band? If the answer is no, then you have no idea what incredible sludgy stoner rock you’re missing out on. Suuuuuure, they’re playing at the same time as Bouncing Souls and Tim Kasher. But hey, if you prefer circle pits and sing-alongs over drone-y head-banging that feels like it lasts a lifetime, then you probably shouldn't go see Torche anyway. I’m looking forward to closing out my 1st night at Fest with these dudes— even more stoked for the stiff neck and serious PBR migraine that I’ll inevitably have the next morning. No, really— bring it on!
Song to check out: “Grenades”
Have Mercy 9:40PM - Sunday Nov 3 @ 8 Seconds
Out of (everyone I’ve knownnnnn— okay sorry) all the new bands I’ve “discovered” in the past year, Have Mercy is probably one of my favorites. I first heard “Let’s Talk About Your Hair” through a Braid Pandora station and instantly fell for the groovy bass lines and heart-crushing vocal range of inevitable emo heartthrob Brian Swindle. I went to see these guys over the summer and REAL TALK - this dude opened the set with a Lana Del Rey cover. Come on. Anyone who has respect for Lana and can also take my heart out of my chest, throw it on the ground, stomp on it a little then put it right back in its place again, well they’re a-okay in my book.
Song to check out: “Let’s Talk About Your Hair”
Look Mexico 10:30PM - Saturday Nov 2 @ The Wooly
Before you say anything, I know damn well that I should’ve checked these guys out ages ago but for whatever reason, it took me until now to actually listen. The first song I played was “You Stay. I Go. No Following.” and was instantly hooked, as I suspect is the case for pretty much everyone who hears this band for the first time. They’re like folk and also emo with punk parts and sometimes mathy too and a little groovy then ooh look more folk but WHO CARES — Look Mexico is just really fucking good.
Song to check out: “You Stay. I Go. No Following.”
I was standing outside the Pearl Street Co-Op during Topshelf's showcase at SXSW 2013, swigging Tennessee Honey with some homies, when I heard what can only be described as a sludgy onslaught of perfection coming from inside the venue. It was Creative Adult. Found out afterwards that they’re former members of All Teeth and No Sir, so that explains the hardcore inspiration that’s laced all over their incredible Bulls In The Yard and Dead Air 7-inchs. But there’s also something inherently dirty about this band— maybe it’s the detached, droney vocals or consistently-vigorous rhythm section. Regardless, it’s certainly the good kind of dirty, the kind you want to roll yourself around in and just lay there with for a few hours.
Song to check out: “Dead Air”
The Smith Street Band 8:00 - Sunday Nov 3 @ Florida Theatre of Gainesville
I first got sucked into the wave of The Smith Street Band after Restorations went on an Australian tour with them. I listened to Sunshine & Technology and that was that. I love how they can tell a story and teach a lesson all in one song, without it ever seeming like they’re actually trying to do anything but have fun. In fact, the title track to their 2013 Don’t Fuck With Our Dreams EP is supposedly about an altercation that an unruly crowd member got into with one of the members of fellow Aussie punks, The Bennies. At the same time, there are very few lines that relate to being in your mid-20s and confused as all hell as “don’t fuck with our dreams” does. I honestly can’t think of a better place (well, okay, other than Australia) than Fest to finally see these songs come to life. Hopefully they won’t make me drink beer out of someone else’s boot.
Thanks for your input! Maybe I'll be OK, but I have to admit my tolerance is pretty low, haha. I don't know why Florida doesn't get with the times and just ban smoking indoors anyway... I guess living in Canada has really spoiled me.
I won't lie – I very rarely see people smoke inside. Like, it happens a bit....but it's kinda strange when it does? I lived in Gainesville for four years and it's definitely not super common.
I see, so it's not really that socially acceptable then? I just kind of assume the worst, I know there's a lot of people in this "scene" that still seem to smoke, haha. But I also know some smokers who won't even smoke in their own homes so you never know I guess. Either way I'll probably just suck it up and go.
Yeah, I know... based on my music tastes it's probably ridiculous I still haven't been to the Fest yet.
I mean — you'll probably see it happen, but it won't be awful and I definitely wouldn't let it factor into a decision about whether you should go.