The food vendors at the festival were very reasonably priced, let’s just say I ate my share of poutine. As I walked through the village I encountered a sea of punk rockers and metal heads being very courteous to everyone around and to one another. Folks had their own vending stations along with camping options set up on their lawns, it was a unique sight to see. The neighborhood laundry mat served coffee and had a line out the door charging a dollar fifty to use the bathrooms. Amnesia provided plenty of porta potties but lets face it there’s nothing like sitting your cheeks on a real toilet; supply and demand.
Anti-Flag opened the show at noon but the crowd was unlike most opening-act crowds, they were massive and receptive. I had a chance to interview Chris No. 2 later in the day and believe me the band was more than pleased with the turn-out. What a way to start the second day of the show! Joan Jett was another unbelievable artist that performed at Amnesia that day. Actually before she came on stage, the crowd was chanting “Joan Jett, Joan Jett, Joan Jett…” I turned to the photographer on my right and jokingly said “What about the Blackhearts? Everybody always forgets about the Blackhearts”. But when Joan hit the stage she introduced herself and the band as follows “We are the Blackhearts”; I thought that was pretty cool of her to acknowledge the band over herself. In my opinion Joan Jett is the godmother of punk rock music and at her age she still looks great and sounds just as good as she ever has.
A huge and unexpected highlight to the festival were the three surprise performances by Tim Armstrong. He showed up and played an all acoustic set at the Music 4 Cancer booth in town, where a small lucky crowd got to hear Tim and other musicians perform classic Rancid songs. Armstrong also joined Devil’s Brigade and The Interrupters for on stage performances as well. As I mentioned in the Part One segment I missed a lot of acts because there was so much going on at one time and I am still kicking myself in the ass for missing these performances. However, meeting and mingling with Tim Timebomb almost made up for it, almost.
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes were the headlining cover band, well most likely because they were the only cover band but they were very entertaining to say the least and they incorporated songs into a punk rock show that you never would expect to hear. Primus was a class act along with the other bands from the main stage that executed top-notch performances such as Billy Talent and Alice In Chains. Mötley Crüe was the headliner and man do these guys embrace the fact that they are rock stars. There were over one-hundred bands that played Rockfest and to me they were all rock stars but as soon as the Crüe approached the stage there was a police presence in the VIP areas that was nonexistent for all previous performances and all of the spots I was allowed access to during every other performance were revoked. Honestly, I didn’t care. I haven’t really been into them since the late 80′s but I do have to say they still put on one hell of a show and I have had Nikki Sixx’s riffs in my head for over a week now. The encore was “Home Sweet Home”, which for me was the journey I would be facing in the morning.
All in all it was a time I’ll always remember despite the festival name being Amnesia. My last memory of the trip was coming back to the states, which is much more intense than getting into Canada. Now for the record I do not do drugs of any kind but for some reason the drug-sniffing dog at the border really liked me. Perhaps it had something to do with me being in the crowd at the Cypress Hill concert the night before but needless to say I was questioned about drugs and searched because of that crazy prejudice dog.
Click below to check out my interviews with Jim Blowers (Implants), Johnny Kelly (Danzig), Spike Slawson (Me First and the Gimme Gimmes), Dan “Mr. Precision” (88 Fingers Louie), and Chris No. 2 (Anti-Flag).Add to My Radar