March 26, 2005

SHAKLETON AT THE FEST

I knew during World Burns To Death I would not make it. I had seen 17 bands in the last 10 hours. I only had to make it through two more. Two more. Career Suicide who were "rumoured" to be awesome, and Riisteyt, the only band I had ever actually heard before, and who I was half-excited to see as their name sounds like a European breakfast cereal, though apparently they are THEE Finnish hardcore band, going strong since '82... I made it four songs into Career Suicide, the only band I was expecting to be good, the carrrot in front of my horse since noon... and it just did not happen. I needed a reason to believe (that's not a reference to straight edge hardcore band Reason To Believe), and I found no reason (again, not a reference to HXC band of same name). I felt like Shackleton, in the Anarctic, sans the pony-guides... I had to turn back... for the good of the ship.

World Burns To Death put me over the edge, they broke me. WBTD were scary looking (Samhain/gayleatherbar) and scary acting, singer was really prisonrage/FTW/failed suicide energy drink, and they sounded like old testament God splitting the earth into two halves. Which was a good thing ( good being relative) as I had just sat through 14 identical-sounding bands, which was a sea of 1984's punk money shots, and X'd up hands point at screaming heads -- all kabuki, no charisma to charm to beguile.

The other band that did not sound like that being Municipal Waste, who sounded like Septic Death and DRI, with a touch of Iron Maiden's queer mystique. They were kind of wacky, which was totally welcome and appreciated. The singer wore chaps and the rest of the band wore spandex bike shorts, despite being really rugged, ragged, dreadlocked crusties. The set started with one of the omnificent weird/costumed French dudes (I'll post pictures later) dressed as Jesus, stage diving... with a nine foot plywood cross. Then, Jesus and his cross got in to the 60-dude-strong high velocity circle pit. In trying to get pictures, I had to stand on the edge of the pit, which was the most scared I have been in a while. I felt like I was standing on the median of I-94.

The other 16 bands, again, were interchangable - except some singers did SOA-style Rollins, some did pre-Rollins Black Flag, and others did "feral dog", with the exception Hit Me Back who were all Latino, had songs in spanish and brought gymnastics springboards on stage to facilitate stagediving. They were from Albany ( I think thats what they said?) and they sounded a little like Los Crudos. Latino-punk was out in real force today. Which means, for a hardcore fest of 400 kids, maybe about 40-50 audience, and two all latino-bands. (Yesterday, there were four black kids in the audience, two in bands. Today there was two in the audience.)

A band that was staffed by 40 yr old guys who were still down for, uh, jamming econo and never leaving the 1980 Rock-Against-Reagan incubator in which they spent their teen years, a band known as The State, had the most casually offensive in between song banter of the day, equating "the war in Iraq" with "our war in the streets." I have a really hard time buying that the most volatile moments of the "punks vs. skins" scene war of greater St. Louis even comes close to say, Fallujah on a Tuesday morning. I expressed my disgust by saying "WHAT?!" loudly, in an indignant tone, to no one in particular, then continuing to read the Dan Rather profile in The New Yorker I brought with.

Oh, And I checked, I checked. It's not that I'm not too old to get hardcore, totes not just me syndrome. I asked my fest friend Shawn, who sings in New Hampshire hardcore band Bad Business, and is 24, and he said "Aside from being in this band, I hate everything about hardcore. All these bands are the same, the politics are totally unrealized - it's all false awareness." He then went back to crochetting the brown scarf he had started working on the day before.

I interviewed a lot of kids today, kids that took the bus 22 hours to attend, or drove from Huntsville, AL - where every hardcore kid in the state knows each other personally and they routinely go to shows in trailers, other kids who came from Bogota and France and Japan, kids from places where they were stoked they could walk around Chicago without getting harrassed for being punk... it really had me grateful for punk and hardcore and fests and bands that sell their records on cassettes for two bucks... but I just was not connecting on anything beyond "the punk idea" - we'll see if the highly touted FUCKED UP changes my opinion tomorrow.

Posted by Jessica at March 26, 2005 11:25 PM | TrackBack