NIGHT ONE (Thursday)
So I ended up taking the bus from Albany, NY to Montreal and eventually a second bus to Montebello, Quebec. I didn’t want the responsibility of driving home due to lack of sleep and the potential of still being intoxicated from the previous night so I allowed Greyhound to take the wheel. I gotta say, I’ve never witnessed so many mohawks sticking up over the seats on a bus before as I did on the way to Amnesia; I imagine it’s probably not that common of a sight. As we pulled into town I witnessed the main street in Montebello being completely taken over by my people “the punks”. Actually the first band member I ran into that night was Mark Adkins of Guttermouth, off to a good start!
It was Thursday night when I arrived, which was the night prior to the concerts, this way I could set up my camp and be prepared for the first day of festivities. By the time I got all checked in and figured out where to camp it was completely dark. I usually stay in a nearby hotel on these adventures but all of the hotels have been booked for a year in advance, so I was getting the full experience. Thanks to my neighbor campers for helping me put up my tent and for providing me with beers. There were two stores in town that you could purchase beer or cigarettes at but because over 200,000 people were in attendance (as reported by Amnesia Rockfest earlier this week), the lines to get into these places were lengthy. So for my first night I hung out with my fellow campers and crashed out pretty late but way earlier than the next two nights.
DAY ONE (Friday)
Damn, morning came fast but I had to get my ass up and hike my way to the show. The streets were mobbed and all I wanted was a cup of wake the fuck up. Surprisingly, there was a nearby eatery that wasn’t too packed so I got a cup of Joe to go! Now in order to get my press credentials in time for the first act, Streetlight Manifesto, I had to go a mile or so down the road (kilometers in Canadian) to the Chateau. The nice folks at Amnesia sent a van to pick me up and bring me there, they also brought me back to the concert site on a boat, which was pretty refreshing to feel the lake breeze on a day that felt like 100 degrees. Once inside the grounds I happily enjoyed hearing Streetlight, which I feel was the perfect way to set off the festival, “Ska-style”.
Honestly, I missed a lot of acts that I really wanted to see but there were five stages and very often at least three of them were playing simultaneously. I also had to spend a lot of time at Auberge Montebello in the media center, which I certainly am not complaining about because I got to meet some of my favorite entertainers. They say you can’t be in two places at once but at Amnesia it was more like you can’t be in ten places at once.
NOFX certainly was one of the best performances and Fat Mike and El Hefe were hilarious as always. They were making cracks on Five Finger Death Punch calling them Five Finger Death Cunt and making hand gestures trying to form a punch with five fingers using both hands. Besides the comedy portion of the show they actually played really well and the show was pretty awesome. My first big highlight of the weekend was being invited on stage to watch from behind while NOFX was performing. I also hung out with Eric Melvin for a couple of hours sharing personal experiences as parents. I opted not to take the media approach in this case and just enjoyed the conversation.
As the night progressed I had utilized my photo pass to get in the photography pit to take pics of Alkaline Trio, Weezer, Blink 182 and my favorite night-time act Suicidal Tendencies. The guys in Suicidal were amazing and they wouldn’t stand still, which made it difficult for me to capture a really good picture. The show was intense and during the last song the band invited members from the audience to come on stage and crowd surf on stage (literally on stage). Security decided that they may need back up to make sure everyone was returned safely to the audience but the new security, not knowing what the performing band’s singer looked like, accidentally shoved him into the crowd. It was pretty comical and there were no hard feelings shown once they realized he was in the band.
To quote Ice Cube “I got to say it was a good day”
Check out some quick video interviews I did on day with Chris No. 2 (Anti-Flag), Johnny Kelly (Danzig), Dan “Mr. Precision” (88 Fingers Louie), Jim Blowers (Implants) and Sebastian Ducap (Slaves On Dope) below.
Add NOFX to My Radar