by Karl Bakla
FEST 11, fuck yeah! The FEST is what I look forward to every year, it's a great excuse to meet up with friends, get drunk, eat yummy food, & of course rock out to some bands. For those not in on-the-know the FEST is a Music festival that is held every year in Gainesville, FL. Most of the bands are Punk, but there is also a shit load of bands that play Hardcore, Indie rock, Weird shit, Ska, & Folk. The Festival is held at 13 venues of various sizes around downtown Gainesville; they are all within walking distance, which makes bouncing back and forth from venues half the fun.
We arrived on Thursday, so we could register early and get the party started, as for myself I was drunk before I even left my hotel room. I do remember leaving the hotel, but I don't know how I got to the High Dive for the pre FEST show. The line-up was 8 amazing bands, but I can’t tell you much about the show, I do know that I saw Cobra Skulls, the Shook Ones, Off With Their Heads, & Dear Landlord. I vaguely remember jumping around with the crowd and singing along with Off With Their Heads, "I don't care about anyone when the dealers paid and gone and pain is relieved / I'll tie it tight around my neck and kick the chair out with my legs / Because I want to fucking die today / Yeah, die today!" I probably had no business being this drunk at a show. I don't even know how I got back to my hotel room, fuck it! I didn’t get into Punk Rock to remember shit.
Friday FEST Day Number Juan
For some reason I didn't have a hangover when I woke up, but I had a solid boner, this was a surprise since I haven't had an erection since the 90's. My excitement turned to fear when the hard-on made urinating nearly impossible. My solution was sitting on the toilet & making pp like a woman. It dawned on me when I was on the toilet that I was up for about 48 hours before I went to sleep, so I was probably more exhausted than drunk the previous night. After going potty I returned to bed and tapped Bethany on the shoulder, I told her that I had a big one & asked her what she thought of that, “fuck off” is all she said, Broken Bones! After rolling out of bed, Bethany & I met up with our buddies Allan & Floyd at Karma Cream, we ate some yummy vegan grub while making plans to erase whatever health benefits were received by the Curried Chickpea/Chick-un Salad Wrap. For the record, even if you aren't a pretentious vegetarian, Karma Cream is the place to be, you can’t beat their build-your-own ice cream sandwich. After breakfast it was decided that we would get some Yuengling & drink it in Allan & Floyd’s hotel room.
By the time we got to the pool party Bomb The Music Industry was playing & I was already drunk! The PA sounded like shit, but that’s OK. The fun part of going to the pool party is getting shit faced and making new friends. While bullshitting with my friends I saw the trombonist of BTMI jump off the stage & hop into the pool. Sure, that sounds like a refreshing idea, but with all the fat drunk Punkers in the pool, I assumed it was full of urine, which made it a disgusting idea.
The first band of the night was the Groovie Ghoulies at Bar 1982, it was basically Kepi Ghoulie being backed by the Mean Jeans, but there was no complaints from the crowd. I've seen the Groovie Ghoulies a shitload of times when I lived in Sacramento & I have never seen people go as ape shit for them as they did at this show. If the PA would have went out it wouldn't have mattered, because everyone in the crowd was singing along to every word. All of this was fine and dandy, but I had to make a massive shit & I can only poop at home and at 4 star hotels. After the Groovie Ghoulies were done playing, we agreed to head towards a venue that was near the hotel, but Floyd seemed to know everyone we passed on the street, so we had to stop every few seconds for him to talk to some asshole, but my asshole didn't have the patience so I ditched my group of friends on University Ave & ran towards the Hampton Inn. My butt wasn't even on the toilet seat when it released the Venti Crappuccino into the toilet. I drunkenly sat on the toilet reading Neon Angel, it's a book about the Runaways, I have to say that Kim Fowley is a real creep. That part in the book about him showing the Runaways how to eat pussy was disturbing.
After my soul cleansing poop I headed to Loosey's for Arms Aloft. It seemed like they have gotten a bit more popular since the last time I saw them play & I was glad! There were lots of fists in the air & folks singing along. Call me a sucker, but I love bands that have that Melodic / Post-Hardcore / Gruff vocal sound. I needed a drink so Bethany ordered me a beer; she told me that Rochelle and her met some big wigs from Pabst, who bought them shots. She told me it was obvious they were doing market research on the Punk scene. At this point I ditched Bethany; she went to go see the Soviettes & the Grabass Charlestons play at 8 Seconds, I had punk business at Bar 1982.
I arrived at Bar 1982 just in time for the Capitalist Kids. I was stoked to see that Ron from the Anchor was in that band. At this point in the night, I was fucking wasted… the extremely poppy punk sound of Capitalist Kids was the perfect soundtrack for my party mood. According to my drunken notes I saw Nothing In The Dark & I may have seen Bent Left, but shit got a bit fucked up at this point. Somehow I ended up on the other side of Downtown Gainesville & reunited with Bethany. All of my friends wanted to see F.Y.P. at 8 Seconds, but I've seen them play several times in Las Vegas & I wanted to remember them as the band that played to 50 people at the Elks Lodge, not the band that played to a googolplex amount of people at 8 Seconds. So we headed to Bar 1982 because we wanted to check out Perdition. I wasn't sure if this was the crust band I have been hearing people rave about or some other, so when it turned out that the Perdition that was playing was not the crust band, I was stoked. This Perdition played an awesome set that the kids and this old fuck were stoked on. I have a very fuzzy memory of Perdition's set, but judging from the drunken text messages I sent my friends I really loved them! Perdition's sound reminded me of a mixture of All's Breaking Things LP & later day Samiam. If you get the chance, pick up their CD Hispaniola, their song Gatorade Punch rules! After Perdition's set I stumbled around Gainesville, eating ice cream & pizza. Once again, I wasn't quite sure how I got back to my hotel room.
Saturday FEST Day Number Dude
We originally planned on starting the day by going our separate ways and meeting up later for Dudes Night, but when I saw the line at Durty Nelly's I decided against seeing Vacation & House Boat, so I followed Bethany into 8 Seconds. Good Luck were playing. I've seen them live before and they were really good, but seeing any band in a big venue like this does nothing for me. I was relieved when Bethany said to me, "Let's check something else out", so we headed to Bar 1982. When we got into Bar 1982 Run Forever were playing & I noticed the bar's special “Modelo $2”; it was a sign to get fucked up! I remember diggin' Run Forever, but my attention was on playing Tetris & pounding beers at the bar, so I don't remember too much about them. By the time Boardroom Heroes started to play I was feeling pretty good, they were poppy, maybe a bit too poppy for someone drunk enough to consider paying $2000 for a Koro 7". Luckily for me, being an alcoholic has kept me from ever having $2000 at one time. If you like Broadway Calls you might like 'em. I was stoked to see Dudes Night. I met Richie a few years back, & had no idea he was in a band, I just knew he was a cool dude, so when he told me his band was playing, I knew I had to check 'em out. By the time they played their first note, I was fucking hammered! Dudes Night were the type of band that made you wish you knew every word to their songs, since everyone that did seemed to be having a good time! During their set they had some guitar issues, which didn't slow shit down. Richie gave up his guitar & let the other guitarist use it, which allowed him to just focus on singing, which I think made things more festive. After them was American Pin-Up. A bunch of creepy guys were perving on the singer. American Pinup wasn't bad they just weren't rough enough around the edges for me. I was stoked that No More played next since I could only hold my poop for about one more band & because I like them a lot! I remember No More's set being a bit of a blur, but I do remember at the end of their set starting a chant of "Yes, More!"
At this point I should have returned to the hotel to produce some chorizo, but Bethany fed me some jive shit about me not being able to make it into the club in time for Tiltwheel, so like a dummy I went into Durty Nelly's, fuck… it was that shitty Pinkerton Thugs gig all over again. I tried to piss 14 Modelo's out of my system, but while doing so I let out a tension fart, but it was no tension fart, it was chicken vindaloos. Fuck, I was a block away from the hotel, but a block was too far to walk when you have curry butt. So I did the unthinkable, I cleaned off the toilet seat, sat my butt down, & slowly cleaned off the gravy. After cleaning up I realized I should just let it fly & slide. I released an avalanche of Sheppard's Pie filling. Tonight would be a night to remember. I take that back. According to my notes I saw Money / Paper / Hearts prior to the dump, but I don't remember seeing them play. By the time I got out of the toilet Pretty Boy Thorson & the Falling Angels were playing - it was time for more beer! Pretty Boy Thorson & the Falling Angels is a band I love & one that I've seen before, but like my previous times seeing them, I was too fucking wasted to remember much of anything. After them was Tiltwheel one of my all-time favorite bands, sadly I was so wasted I remember very little about their set. After Tiltwheel my friend Allen had the job of babysitting me, he suggested we get a slice of pizza & walk over to the hotdog man & see if he would let us use our slice of pizza as a hot dog bun. He agreed to our drunken request and piled on a hot dog & all of the toppings on our slices of pizza. After drunkenly wandering the streets we made our way to Boca Fiesta just in time for Toys That Kill. I think they were good, but I was still hungry so I ended my night by sitting my fat ass in Boca Fiesta and ordered some Nachos with my friends. On the walk back to the hotel I saw a drunk guy with his pants down urinating into the wind, his pp almost got my buddy Kramer.
Sunday FEST Day Number Wee Wee
Surprisingly when I woke up I wasn't hung over, I just felt bloated, sweaty, & uncomfortable… it's the high price of being a drunken fat fuck. We started the day off with brunch, and then we headed to Loosey's to see Dee Cracks play. Dee Cracks hail from Austria and play Ramones / Queers influenced Punk Rock, but I think they do it better than most of their Converse All Stars wearing contemporaries. I think it's their gravely vocals! Even though the crowd was on either day number 3 or 4 of straight hang overs they still dug it. Ssssakes was next & a band I was excited to see because I totally dug their side of their split 7" with the Slow Death. There was only one problem, I had to shit again! There is something about Florida that makes my butt produce paneer tikka masala or maybe it was the shiitake mushroom benedict I ate at Leonardo’s 706, either way I had to make caca, but like a good Punk Rocker I endured through it. During Ssssakes set I received a text from Bethany, it read, “Jesse Jackson is performing at FEST”. I assumed she was being racist & it was just a homeless black man wearing roller skates & playing a guitar, so she sent me another text explaining to me that Jesse Jackson was making a speech right next to our hotel. So after Ssssnakes’ set I headed over to the Lunch Box & found Bethany drinking a beer, she told me, “I need some money”… it turned out Souls To the Polls was going on, so Jesse Jackson was in town to make a speech. Fuck, as someone that follows current events & politics closely, I was using FEST as an excuse to escape from it all for a few days, but I have to admit… it was really cool to see how excited everyone was to vote, which is pretty funny because when I early voted in Las Vegas a week prior people seemed to be bit inconvenienced by the experience.
After a little break at the hotel room, I met up with Bethany so we could check out Cheap Girls at 8 Seconds, they were pretty good, but mid paced music in a huge venue is never my idea of a good time. Seriously though… if you start dating someone, I suggest putting on a Cheap Girls record, it will trick the person you are pursuing into thinking you are sensitive. After you get into his whitey tighties kick that guy to the curb & go back to listening to Group Sex by the Circle Jerks. When Cheap Girls were done playing we headed down University Ave on the hunt for felafel & luckily we found some. When we were done eating we raced to Durty Nelly's to catch Off With Their Heads, when we got in the club, the front was so packed I couldn't weasel my way up front, so I had to enjoy their set from the back of the club, bummer! City Mouse was next & I have been pretty stoked on them since I picked up their 7". They played a really good set of poppy Punk tunes & everyone was happy, especially the buttholes watching the baseball game on the club's TV. Next up were the Masked Intruders, they are a band I have been hearing a lot about, but have never heard, they dress up like burglars & play extremely poppy Punk love songs from a criminal's perspective, everyone seemed to know every word to their songs & had an awesome time. Next up were Slow Death, who is a band I like a lot, but I was a bit pooped, so I hung in the back of the club bullshitting with my friends. When Too Many Daves came on, we rushed to the front of the club. After playing a few songs things seemed to get a bit violent, a group of assholes were up front & they were being overly aggressive with me & a few others. Several cans of beers were thrown in my face & I felt as if they trying to pick a fight with me. I have dealt with dickheads like this in the past & I could tell I was getting pissed. Instead of pulling my usual move where I grab one guy and beat the shit out of him while his friends violently kick me, I actually walked away and stood in the back of the club bummed. I guess I was glad I did the right thing, or at least the "right thing" according to my court ordered impulse control class. Stupid jock assholes at a Punk Rock show, & stupid jail and it’s non-vegetarian cuisine. I look forward to seeing Too Many Daves every year & these dicks ruined it for me. After I got done being a cry baby I ran across the street to the Florida Theatre to catch Good Riddance, after all these years they are still really good & it was awesome seeing a huge crowd of people go buck wild for them. When they were done playing I ran back across the street to catch the Tim Versions, who is another band I love, their album Decline Of The Southern Gentleman is quite popular in the Bakla household. At this point I was running out of steam and needed a line of Peruvian Marching Powder, but there was none to be found, oh well. I probably could have went to bed right then & there, but luckily for me my friends were wide awake & drug me across the street to see Propagandhi. The kids in the crowd seemed to love Propagandhi, but to me it was too Metal & not in the funny devil worship kind of way. I love their Less Talk, More Rock album, but I wasn't expecting them to play that just for me, so after a few songs we left and went on a search for food! By this time I was ready for bed, my friend Rochelle had a plan to sneak Bethany & me into the Holliday Inn for the after party, which included several bands playing cover song sets. We caught one band doing a Green Day set, but after them we headed back to the Hampton Inn for some sleep. I have no idea how some of these fuckers partied till 6am, I love music & I had enough.
The next day we headed towards Tampa to catch our flight with an obligatory stop at Taco Bus, we were broke, bloated, & already missing our friends Allen, Brian, Floyd, Kramer, Loren, & Rochelle. I was eager to get home to my dog Ottie, to sleep in my urine drenched bed, & be away from debauchery for a few minutes. Prior to FEST we discussed making this our last FEST & possibly going to a different festival next year, but after having so much fun I have no doubt we will be back next year.