Feature :: Dear Diary, Krazy Fest Was Awesome

“Oh yea, and I slept some but not much of that is done at these things.”

I had a four hour drive from the St. Louis area to Louisville, Kentucky for Krazyfest 2011. I can say, confidently, that I would have driven much, much farther. I got Louisville early Friday morning and was able to explore the downtown area some. The Louisville slugger museum (StL representing the top of the Central division was posted resulting in ‘St. Louis!’ calls and disapproving looks) and some resale shop ran by an eccentric veteran and his dog were the highlight of that.

So, as a result of being in Louisville entirely too early, I was able to see the very first band play at Krazy Fest 2011. There were, roughly, 30 other people who shared this pleasure, excluding the merch table people and the crew. Lions, Lions were the opener. I think it would be terrible to be the opening band, and they were a pretty average harder band. They were really happy to be there though and high energy, so good for them. Next was Reading Group, who I enjoyed. They were new to me and were pretty unique. The singer has a nice melodic voice but the music is fast and has plenty of edge. I explored the merch booths and venue after that while other bands that didn’t grab much of my attention played. Krazy Fest was held at Expo Five. It is a flea market/airport hanger/big ass parking lot area. There were three stages, two outside and one in the hanger. To someone driving by it looks like a carnival, kind of, the singer/guitarist of Lemuria even expressed her displeasure at the lack of sweets and cotton candy being sold. Pretty cool. I, too, love me some funnel cake. I suppose that wasn’t the point though, back to the set up. There was a cluster of tents set up in the middle of the two outside stages as well as around the fencing leading to the parking lot. Most of the booths had exclusive interviews, signings, merch, and various other goodies and freebies to promote. There were a couple tents that were devoted to drinks and food outside and a full bar inside with the inner stage.

The rest of my Friday was spent meeting new people (I Hate Punk Rock Records) who, ironically, live 20 minutes from myself and provided a place to stay for the evening, and picked back up watching the shows with Kevin Seconds. He is a nice acoustic act with a pretty surprisingly falsetto voice. Next was Bane, HUGE change from Kevin Seconds. There were circle pits and hardcore fans going crazy. And rightfully so.  Tigers Jaw was next up and those boys can put on a show. I just recently started listening to them and their show was loud and the singer was so humble. He was having some guitar issues apparently but if he hadn’t said so I wouldn’t have really notice. Really enjoyable. Then I listened to Chamberlain. Those guys sound so incredibly good live, but they are admittedly hard to watch, kind of a boring show. I caught some of Small Brown Bike and wished I could have seen more but had to retreat to get some food, we were given wrist bands and allowed to go back and forth from our vehicles. The last bands of the evening were By the Grace of God, not really by style but a lot of people really dug them, and Against Me! Strike Anywhere had some traveling issues and didn’t make it. Against Me! was easily Friday’s main attraction. They were so high energy the crowd responded from their first chord. Tom was doing a little dancing on stage and the crowd fed into it. He was grinning the whole time and played lots of favorites. The set ended with Thrash Unreal and the crowd begged for an encore but due to ‘curfew issues’ we were left without. I went and drank lots of wine and got a lot of inside jokes from the hotel room after the show. Oh yea, and I slept some but not much of that is done at these things.

Day 2, Saturday, easily the BIGGEST and my favorite day of the festival.  Pre-show I went and ate in an Irish pub complete with genuine accents and memorabilia. I also happened across a little antique collectors’ place. I saw place because he was very outwardly NOT selling anything.  He did give lots of information about his collection and its history and his history with it. I walked away with a horseshoe off of a filly that had run in the derby complete with dirt and rust.  Always a good story and now hangs, u-up, in my room. The distraction led me to miss Hostage Calm, Native and Pianos Have Teeth all who I wanted to see. I got there just in time for Former Thieves though and they were really good. Fireworks were next, I had never seen them but at a recommendation I checked them out and I am so glad that I did. They were excellent, high energy and easy to bounce around to. Defeater opened with an acoustic song, one of, if not, my absolute favorites from them. Defeater sounds really good live, I was certainly impressed. They were on the smaller outside stage and the crowd resembled and overstuffed chair spilling out onto the sides. It’s kind of hard to write about any elaboration of their sound because it’s exactly like how they sound in recording. Lemuria sounded really good live too, this was another new one for me. Female lead of a three piece band. She absolutely shreds the guitar, she is pretty tiny and it makes for the way she plays to look awkward to me. It certainly did not affect the sound though. Make Do and Mend played inside the hanger and they were pretty mind numbing and amazing. There were a lot of new fans that walked away from that set. Anti-Flag were the last band to play outside due to the storm that was presumably the Rapture falling short. I think it’s safe to say that they are the most punk rock band that played. They played their classic, and the first song of its style I ever remember hearing, Die for your Government. Staying true to their roots, they covered The Clash and I lost my shit. It was awesome. Another mold breaking moment happened when they brought their drum set down into the crowd and played amongst everyone. I got a sweaty high-five as he walked away and passed the sweat on by high-fiving someone else. Pretty monumental for me. I saw a small part of La Dispute before moving to the next stage in an attempt to secure a barricade spot for Hot Water Music. La Dispute looked too young to be sounding as good as they did. Then I got drenched waiting by the barricade as Chuck Ragan tried to convince us all to go inside and wait, that we would get our spots back. That man is such a dear person. Eventually everyone did go inside because the rain/lightening/God-smiting was relentless and the stage was a wreck. So the line-up changed and Touché Amore played next. They, I don’t even know what to type next they were so good. Jeremy, the singer, was all over the place. He expressed his gratitude at not having to follow Hot Water Music and proceeded to blow faces off. He got in the crowd and passed his mic on to the crowd and adoring fans. He ended the set by climbing one of the side speakers while the mic was elsewhere. He’s crazy. In an absolutely-only-ok-in-punk-rock way. Which I adore. Next was Title Fight. Their baby faces had me confused and fooled. They rocked hard. The label switch had me curious and had other people suspicious, I overheard. Regardless, they delivered. I almost mistyped and wrote lastly just now because the next band was Hot Water Music. Having held a spot at the barricade through Touché Amore and Title Fight, I was ecstatic. Those men act like they are unaffected by age and I suspect they truly may be. Every single member is an outstanding musician. They were joined on stage by members of the Bouncing Souls, at one point being outnumbered by them. Phe-fucking-nomenal. Their last song was Trusty Chords, naturally, and I really could have died happily. 7 Seconds, who received a shout-out as being a founding inspiration to the Bouncing Souls later on, were up next and they don’t look how they sound, to say the least. Truly a don’t-judge-a-book-by-it’s-cover situation. A group of larger older men who covered 69 Sham’s 99 Red Balloons, ok by me! The (actual) last band Saturday was Cave In. I could probably just leave it at they sold a boat load of records that night. Disembodied had some traveling issues and could not play.

Following Saturdays shows at Expo Five there were multiple after party shows. Bane (Dane according to the strip club, supposedly all the ‘Bs’ had all been used to spell out various body parts to attract customers) played with some others at a strip club that was so packed it was rumored that not even the Bouncing Souls were allowed in. That show ended with cars being towed to make people leave. I went to a smaller show, in the pool room with max depth of 4.5 ft, at the Ramada Inn. Mikey Erg and Mixtapes played. It was really awesome to see them play in that setting, I felt like, and it became, a private showing amongst friends. There were covers and requests and sing-alongs and USA chants (ok, I really just threw that in there because I started it and it was hilarious). Turns out a case of the cheapest beer makes you a lot of friends. There was also a Mixtapes exclusive alley show with more covers and drunken dances. We sang Teenage Dirtbag, the defining song of my youth. Glorious. On a scale of 1-10, it was not bad. Followed by another small amount of sleep and really cool hang outs with new friends.

Ahhh, now we arrive at Sunday. Daytrader were the first band I saw.  They sounded pretty excellent live. Next was A Great Big Pile of Leaves. Really odd name in my opinion but they were the kind of chill sound that I needed to nurse me into the scene. Then I ventured inside to get my spot to see Dave Hause. Little did I know that One Line Drawing was actually Jonah Matranga. Lucky me! He plays, self-proclaimed, whiny covers. I thought it was excellent. That man’s voice makes me wonder why he is even using a mic. So much passion and such a truly humble, approachable person. At one point he was joined by Tucker on the drum set. That was pretty cool. Next, Dave Hause. I cannot get enough of this man. Absolutely wonderful. He broke two strings during his set, quickly blamed jamming with Chuck Ragan previously and told some stories while he changed them. I could go total fangirl on Dave Hause’s music but I’ll contain myself. He played a healthy mix of Loved Ones tracks and those off of his new album, Resolutions. He ended with my personal favorite off of Resolutions, if I had to pick, C’mon Kid. Whew. That is all, just whew. Hot Rod Circuits’ reunion was up next. I am endlessly impressed by musicians’ ability to be able to play older songs many years later and still sound wonderfully the same. I popped in to catch Frontier(s) last song and was a little disappointed that I hadn’t caught more. Coalesce played next to almost a cult of fans. I initially was turned off by their set but by the end they had won me over. I missed Ensign to get a good spot for the Bouncing Souls. It was an amazing set. Lots more gushing required here that I cannot express. They called out for rare requests and played them. Dave Hause joined them on stage and I went nuts, it resulted in a lot of worthless pictures as I tried to get a decent one. I had never had the pleasure of seeing them before and my middle school years were finally satisfied. They were really amazing. Greg isn’t much of a mover on stage but his voice remains and I did enough moving for him.  Samiam was next inside and I hadn’t listened to them much before and I have no idea why. They were excellent. The final band was Lucero. Seriously, and I hate when people say that because it automatically makes it not serious but it needs to be stressed somehow, the most perfect closer. Their full band was present and my Sambas were instant dancing shoes. Saxophone, trumpet, piano, guitar, really good blues rock tunes were had. By the end of the set I couldn’t tell if I had lost weight from ridiculous amounts of sun exposure and dancing or gained from alcohol consumption. And I was completely satisfied either way. Lucero were ridiculously good. Absolutely perfect ending and they got to play the only encore! For whatever reason the cover of Gin and Juice was blasted over the speakers as we retreated to our vehicles and I saw Chuck H. jump-hug Scott Heisel. I’m not sure how but it was a fitting ending. I made so many long term and distance friends and have a new collection of terrible pictures and good music to listen to. In closing, roughly 3 pages for 3 days is probably too much anyway, Krazy Fest 2011 had a wonderful comeback and certainly delivered. It’s been tagged the best fest of the Midwest. Riot Fest has The Descendents coming and other to be announced still so we will see.  I’ll be attending Krazy Fest, regardless, next year fur sure.

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