It's been a couple months now since the the most recent biggest annual pop punk fest of the 21st century, Insubordination Fest. I never really wrote anything about it because I put all my time into issue two and getting permission to use those songs for the comp. and all that. So it's really been bugging me. Anyway, I think a really really late and overdue review is in order before I forget altogether.
I don't necessarily remember the schedule and the lineup and who played on what day and stuff, but I remember the gist of it. But in sequential order - first the pre-show. I remember it being a hell of a hot day outside and walking several miles from our hotel to the venue. When we got there, it was hot in there too and everything drinkable seemed too expensive. Pat Termite kicks ass because he hooked us up on admission for the weekend so Pat, if you're reading, thank you.
I remember particularly enjoying Deep Sleep, an amazing hardcore band out of Baltimore. I got wood for that band after seeing them play Reggie's in Chicago with Psyched To Die and Dillinger Four. They were a great band - old school hardcore with short and intense songs. Definitely more fun than a lot of other hardcore bands which I think just take themselves way too seriously.
Short Attention was pretty cool - I've longed to see The Steinways, The Unlovables and all those east coast pop punk band I love and have never got the chance to see in Chicago. Short Attention though was different. I thought they were funny but I ended up actually being pretty annoyed mostly by the girl in the band, who didn't even play an instrument. Unless talking incessantly is an instrument. Then Teenage Bottlerocket played last and they played some new songs, which I fell in love with. One of them being "Skate or Die," the first track off their new album, "They Came From The Shadows" due out September 15.
That CD is going to own. Anyways, the pre-show was awesome. I remember Festipals was cool, but having never heard of them, I remember being puzzled as to why they were so high up on the bill.
The Max Levine Ensemble impressed me as well. They were a trio of aggressive songs but also poppy, catchy songs, if memory serves me correctly...I remember it looked like they conveyed elements of frustration and anger as the lead singer would quickly shake his head back and forth as he played his guitar. I dunno how he managed to sing like that, but it was pretty awesome - they showed a real energy up there and it was awesome. They did a song with Delay (who were also good to see) and Delay finished their set with a cover of Argent's "God Gave Rock and Roll To You" (later covered by KISS). Playing that turned it into an all-out fucking rock show. Chicks appeared from nowhere with KISS face paint on - random people (as far as I know) came on stage to play guitar and the crowd seemed to be digging it as well. It changed the air in that place from heavy "typical semi-awkward punk show" to a "pretty relaxed show with a whole variety of shit so don't be extra awkward if you see something completely different."
Stuff that sucked: It was hot. I also wasn't too impressed with The Loblaws. I know they are a little different than the other pop punk bands out there but their songs didn't wow me at all and I didn't like the way any of their music sounded either. All the other bands I remember thinking, "meh, they're OK" about. But it was really good to see Delay, Max Levine Ensemble, Short Attention (kind of), Deep Sleep and Teenage Bottlerocket. John Walsh was pretty cool too. They were actually the most entertaining of bands at the pre-show. Never before have I witnessed a high-five pit or a hug pit before seeing these dudes. I saw them in Chicago once before, but yeah - pretty funny stuff. And they have Jon Weiner of The Dopamines in them, which is kinda cool if you like The Dopamines.