Lobsterfest is right! I look like a damn lobster right now with this sunburn, and it doesn't even make sense that I do; seeing as, we were only outside for the first couple hours of the morning!
As I walked to set-up at 10 in the morning, I shot a venomous glare at a kid who was toting an umbrella as he walked, thinking his preparation for rain a curse. Turns out, my causality logic may be a bit off, but the kid was wise to have had an umbrella.
Stages were set and humans were arriving on South Beach when storm clouds started forming. Promo Director Aaron Vilk announced before the first act's playing, "We're gonna rage out here for as long as possible."
We didn't get to "rage" outside for very long at all...
Melk was the first act of the day, and the only one that got to play outdoors. Their set was preceded by a long, low growl of thunder before Mother Nature got a slapping of drowning-outage in her gloomy face from the drum and bass duo that comprised Brian Jackson and Ghost of Asa Phelps' vocalist/guitarist Ryan Ford (or "Boomer" and "Sick Old Bastard" as they preferred to be called onstage). Rough instrumentation and unintelligible lyrics were the name of the game with Melk, though, I think I may have picked up some "fuck"s here and there. The band's sound was just as ominous as the looming storm clouds that would force Lobsterfest into the South Pole below Nelson after its performance.
The migration to the South Pole was a quick one as everything got packed in and the original stages were covered with protective tarp. Inside the air-conditioned rec room in the parking garage, everyone found a place to sit and to socialize as we waited for everything to get reorganized.
Bag of Hair, formerly known as Sandcrawler, captivated the room as the drummer and guitarist went madmen on their instruments and what appeared to be an interpretive dancer in an
Then came Legends of Wrestling
What the hell, Brotthheerrrr? Legends of Wrestling, a Grindcore sideshow of all things brutal, took place in a makeshift wrestling ring with two-man tag-team of Ty Owen and Pat Snyder pacing within its confines. They wore football pads with nails driven through them and red and black face paint. Terrifying.
With songs that were shorter than the roughly 30-second intros given to them played from a Mac and screamed over by the men within the ring, Legends of Wrestling held my and everyone else's attention.
Characters such as a honky-tonk bigot, an evangelical hater with a "God Hates Grind" sign (Aaron Vilk in drag) and Bret Hart met their ends at the hands of the Legends and their harnessed Warrior powers via guitar-beating, light-tube shattering and trashcan doom respectively. I actually found it hilarious and, even...brilliant. Too far? No. Brilliant. I even left with a bruise on my arm from being barreled into by Owen after the set. I'm just glad no one lost an eye from those football pad nails.
At that point, as I sat at the merch table, performances started blurring together for me, perhaps because it was nearing dinner time and I had yet to have breakfast or that my sunburn was starting to eat at my brain. The tunes just weren't motivating me to get up from being the obsessively organizing shirt-nazi behind the merch table to get a better view.
In Silent Moves, Whale Zombie, and Manor Animals are bands I often hear praised here in Athens and in this blog, but that I had neither actually "scene" nor heard (haha, get it?) until Lobsterfest. All three, especially the latter two, drew a very distinct crowd, one that appeared to have actually seen them play as many times as I had heard they were playing. They danced, sang along and had a fabulous time to the music.
I must admit at this point that my attention is something that is easily lost, and -- though the music was good, I can't remember much of it. Again, sunburn blur. I do, however, remember one song from, I believe, Manor Animals that had the lyrics, "Oh, oh, oh my God!" happening. That was cute.
I believe it was during Scubadog's performance that I left to edit Carolyn's review of Lobsterfest Day 2 and came back to catch the end of The Cutter Family's set then to be re-energized by Tin Armor, whose music made me start bobbing my head again.
I was able to stick around just long enough to see my favorite local band, The Ghost of Asa Phelps.
I don't know why I even like those guys. There's so much dude happening all the time with them. Seriously. It's an almost overwhelming amount of brothership. Well, maybe I like them because I like dudes. Maybe I have an attraction to dudeship. Nah, I think it's the fact that the bassist definitely started playing Alkaline Trio's "Trouble Breathing" as they soundchecked. That's what gets me with those guys: It's familiarity and closeness to my tastes that most other Athens bands don't offer that helps make me feel more secure in this place. Now I'm writing like I'm selfish, but whatever. I enjoy the band. What can I say?
The last time I had seen TGOAP, the band performed a Misfits cover, and I'll admit that I was crossing my fingers for another one this round, but I wasn't disappointed when they covered "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival for the singer's father. It certainly lead to sing-alongs and grins... Not that sing-alongs aren't the absolute norm for those guys. Again, DUDES, a pack of them, are always found in the front row ready to lend their voices for gang vocals. They played two new songs, one of which was a slow one, described by the band's singer/guitarist as being "about a girl, but -- in a way -- aren't they all?" True.
I left at 8:30 p.m. just before She Bears played to look for an icy lake of aloe into which I could throw my sensitive-skinned self. Before I left, I took note from Ty that I should at least come back to see Coltrane Motion play. I probably should have and would have taken that suggestion had I not fallen ill by the time I reached my dorm room.
Oh, well. I got my 10 hours in at Lobsterfest and can't wait to do it again next year!
Fortunately, Miss Hannah Cook was there to tell you how the rest of the day went!
--Cassie Whitt, Blogs Editor
I didn’t even know this so-called South Pole existed. When the sky was cracked down the middle with a strike of lightening and everyone collectively decided to move the show inside, I was so confused as to why they were going into a parking garage. “You…you guys. That’s…not…a place,” I thought. It was a place, though, with a stage and a refrigerator and chairs and inside-ness. But it was an odd atmosphere for live music. I felt like I was in the lobby of a hospital or in a dining hall at a summer camp. Needless to say, it just didn’t seem like the right place for Lobsterfest.
But Lobsterfest controlled the South Pole. South Pole did not control it. And despite the technical and weather mishaps, bands, duos, lobsters and weirdos alike rose to the occasion. As Cassie covered the beginning of the day, I shall cover the end. Although, there are a few things from the beginning that I’d like to discuss. Only because…shit got weird. And sort of scary. Ty Owen, I hardly know you, but you never ever fail to freak me out entirely, and I’m sure that’s sort of the point. Cassie will do the description justice, but I just had to add my personal thoughts and feelings about the matter. First, I hope the three dudes who got hit brutally by light bulbs, guitars, chairs, “cocaine,” etc. are okay. It looked painful and real. I hope that I didn’t look like too much of a pansy in comparison to the badassness when I threw my hands to my cheeks and widened my eyes in worry.Second, those boys are quite the screamers and quite the intimidators. They were just pacing around the home-made wrestling ring, making a mess, spitting water, dripping sweat and face paint, beating the crap out of people. Dear GOD. Third, way to be inventive. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I had heard mutters of eagerness about this Legends of Wrestling. I honestly thought it was going to be a band playing whilst people wrestle. But this was much more creative. Music wise, not really my style. I’m much more in to calm Indie delightfulness. If I had to put a contrary to that, it would probably be Legends of Wrestling. It’s okay though, because the show in and of itself was entertainment enough for me. I missed a few bands during my naptime. I know, I know. I shouldn’t have missed Lobsterfest for a nap. But if you only knew my weariness. It just had to be done.I also skipped out on a couple bands who I had seen before, like She Bears and The Ghost of Asa Phelps, so I wasn’t terribly upset, though I am sorry.
What I was terribly upset about, however, was that I didn’t get to see what musical essence the young man in the dress (Evolve) had to offer. I knew, just from lookin’ at ‘im, that it was probably going to be really interesting and probably really worth not napping. When I walked in as he was clearing off his technological who-nots, I asked about him. Apparently it was a DJing and rapping sort of thing. Which makes it all so much more bizarre. I guess I’ll never know. I caught the end of Coltrane Motion, who were really cool. They were two men sounding like many more. One was on a keyboard and computer, the other on electric guitar, and they worked together to form danceable beats and clever sounds. There’s nothing I love more than some good electriconically-steered music. The movement of their bodies only added to it all. They twisted their legs around, slammed their feet backward, jumped, hunched over, nearly always looking like they would fall down. They were limitless. I wondered who the people in bright yellow, marching band-looking uniforms were and apparently I was really out of the loop for not knowing. Forgive my ignorance. They were Flotation Walls, and they were magnificent. They had dynamics and joyous harmonies that were radiating like a sun’s rays through their bright yellow bodies. The girl’s voice was so beautiful. It had a sort of opera tone about it, very full and impeccable. But then she could also make it rougher and loud. It's the sort of voice I wish I had, but I won’t digress to that. At the last song, the lead singer, in all his cheery sincerity, came off the stage and into the crowd, as we all sung our last verse of “oohs” and “aahhs” together, like an unpolished choir.
Check out a video our Managing Editor Kevin Rutherford took of Flotation Walls' performance:
Russenorsk was the last band I saw. I honestly don’t feel like I can be the one to write about them. They’re an Athens legend I unfortunately missed as a youngin’. But I looked around often, at all the people in the crowd who clearly realized what they had missed since September. And they were rejoicing in the reunion, both with tears and smiles. Perhaps the song that triggered wild emotions most was “Long Winter’s Coming.” Even in me it did, and I wasn’t around to see any of this unfold. The cello was alluring behind Tim’s unique chords and crafty loop pedaling. Man, I love a good orchestral string instrument in modern music. All their instrumentation pieced together so perfectly. It just didn’t seem like they hadn’t played in months. Their warning of potential rustiness was not necessary No apologies were needed, and no forgiveness was shed. Everyone was just enjoying the moment for what it was worth and soaking in the nostalgia. This whole thing needs a much grander description and appreciation than what I’ve given. But if you were there, you know.I missed Sidekicks! Crap! Apparently it was a good show too. I just figured since I wasn’t that into to pop-punk stuff that it just wasn’t for me. Stupid stereotyping! Alas, my first Lobsterfest is over, and those set to leave have had their last. We young ones have big shoes to fill and a turny, adventurous route of footsteps to follow. We can only hope we’ll make it out alive and well, the way our old friends have. I was going to get all sentimental about the leaving seniors and juniors, but this may not be the right place or right time. I can’t get like that anyway; I have finals to study for.
--Hannah Cook, Live Reviews Editor
Photos and Flotation Walls video Courtesy of Managing Editor Kevin Rutherford