It's the damnedest thing with The Fest. Immediately afterwards comes Halloween and then our son Aiden's birthday (in this case, his first!). Either way, now that it's been over a week later, let me begin to piece together the experience this year.
After regrettably missing the first evening, including what I heard were outstanding performances by Radon and Naked Raygun, we finally made it out early Saturday afternoon. First of all, I must say that the folks at the 2nd Street Bakery did an OUTSTANDING job hosting the fest for the first time this year. In their two days, they hosted such various bands as The Ones to Blame, This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb, and Saw Wheel. The later, two dudes from Virginia, had some great, gruffy folk songs about the rough life. Others such as Austin Lucas and the Pressmen, a band of Europeans fronted by a transplanted Hooser by way of Texas, got the crowd fired up with a rousing set of kicking tunes.
Although I missed the Ones to Blame, who were headlining at the Bakery that day, it was for good reason. I was off to Common Grounds (on foot, I might add!) to catch former local band Fay Wray, whose reunited lineup included stalwart Addison Burns on drums, in addition to regulars Rob Coe, Jeff London, and Replay Dave. The bespectacled London got into character quickly as many from the crowd came up onstage to join in singing the choruses to many of the band's faves. Overall, a great time. I promise I'll catch The Ones to Blame again soon at one of their many Hogtown shows. Promise. Oh yeah...and many thanks to Pete & Nanc for shuttling my wife's keys to her after we realized that I shlepped more than halfway to common grounds without giving Michelle or Aiden the keys to get home. Oooops. It would almost be excusable if I were drinking, but the Bakery did not serve any alcohol the entire weekend, alas.
With the Fest selling out of their wristband allotment several days before the event, I went to far fewer shows than I would have otherwise, but I spent way less money so it all worked out in the end. Sunday was great, too, with overcast and cool weather greeting us at the Bakery. There, we saw a great variety of indie rock. Ghost Mice started things off on a quiet note since none of their instuments were amplified. We had to strain to hear anything from our position near the back of the crowd. After that, the jams were kicked outward with full-on rock n roll from Defiance, Ohio and This Bike is a Pipe Bomb. Matt & Kim closed out the afternoon with their quirky, awesome tunes. Their music, while indescribable, is that which literally makes it impossible to take the smile off your case. In short, they're an instantly lovable duo! Check 'em out if you haven't already.
Finally, as Pete & Nanc watched Aiden sleep quietly, we headed off for the nightcap at The Venue, catching Sir Prize Fighter and the reunited Seaweed. The latter act I hadn't seen in about 15 years, the last time being one year at CMJ at The Academy in New York City. They even did their famous cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way." Afterwards, we were lucky enough to run across the street and catch our friends in Frozen Cobra as they closed out their set with a rocking version of "Pure" by the Lightning Seeds. It was then last call. We had to get the fuck out. It was a marathon weekend as always, but most wouldn't have it any other way. We'll see you again next year for Fest lucky number 7!!!