Fest week is finally here and I’m pretty much beside myself. All of my exhaustive preparation (that I discussed in a previous article) is coming to fruition. Although I’ve never attended The Fest, so I could be completely unprepared for the debauchery that is likely to ensue, I feel that I’ve given myself a good chance to survive. After months of research, hours of listening, and a proprietary winnowing process that I’m not at liberty to discuss, I’ve narrowed my must-see bands down to the 10 you see below. Who’s on your list?
1. Sinai Vessel: Stumbled upon these guys when I was doing my FEST research. Reviewed Brokenlegged for DS. It’s one of my top albums of 2017. I can’t wait to hear it live. Friday. 10:30pm. Rockey’s.
2. Hum: My only fear on this one is that it’s going to be super crowded. I hope I’m wrong. I’ve seen HUM a few times. They are an old Favorite. I’m amped to hear anything off of Downward is Heavenward, especially The Inuit Promise. Saturday. 12:30am. 8 Seconds.
3. Tartar Control: First heard of these guys off of one of The FEST comps. THEY ARE AWESOME!!! I grew up on irreverent punk like The Dead Milkmen and King Missile, and these guys have taken the torch and run with it. Their shtick is like Book of Mormon meets PeeWee’s Playhouse on an acid trip. Friday. 8:20pm. The Wooly.
4. Grade: Hadn’t thought about these guys in years. Got into them around 2000 in the Emo/Screamo heyday. After revisiting their catalog, I am super amped to see them live. This reunion is a can’t miss. Saturday. 5:00pm. 8 Seconds.
5. Typesetter: Caught Typesetter opening for Against Me, and I’ve been a fan ever since. I’m really rooting for these guys. They are amazing musicians writing amazing songs. They bring it live and they seem to be playing 200 shows a year. That kind of work ethic will pay off for them! Friday. 11:20pm. Rockey’s.
6. The Dirty Nil: Don’t call them punk rock, it’s just rock. I missed these guys at Riot Fest and I’ve regretted it ever since. Some tough conflicts in this timeframe, but I’m determined to correct my past mistakes and catch the whole set. These guys stumbled out of the same garage as The Replacements and their revved-up guitar attack will be perfect to jump start your day. Saturday. 2:10pm. Bo Diddley Plaza.
7. The Lillingtons: I’m a huge fan of Kody Templeman’s work in Teenage Bottlerocket. And if you like TB, you’ll like The Lillingtons. The new record got five stars from DS and I can’t wait to hear that stuff. But they have to play All I Hear is Static!!! Friday. 12:50am. 8 Seconds.
8. Superchunk: I go way back with these guys. Seen them probably 10 times. The last time I saw them was at Riot Fest and they were one of the strongest sets that year. I’m expecting them to close out the main stage in epic style. Sunday. 8:00pm. Bo Diddley Plaza.
9. Iron Chic: I backed into these guys in a bizarre way. Got into RVIVR after catching them in DC. Then looked into Latterman. Started listening to IC to prep for The FEST and I’m like “these guys sound a lot like Latterman.” There’s good reason for that as IC lead Phil Douglas was in LM. Long story short, they’re a can’t miss. Sunday. 6:40pm. Bo Diddley Plaza.
10. Extinction AD: A person cannot live on Indie, Shoegaze and Emo alone. Every once in a while you need some metal. Where have these guys been!! They’re like the second coming of Iron Maiden crossed with Pantera!!! I will not miss this set even if I end up getting taken out on a stretcher. Saturday. 6:50pm. 8 Seconds.