Gainesville, Florida – October 25, 26, 27, 28
Published on TheMusic.com.au
LIVE FROM FEST 11
DANIEL CRIBB: FEST 11 DAY ONE
Ever been to a pool party? How about one on a rooftop? Enter: Fest Day 1. The rooftop of The Holiday Inn University was transformed into an alcohol-fuelled afternoon punk rock pool party.Bomb The Music Industry screamed their way through a set that had the roof shaking as fans jumped in perfect unison – it was slightly alarming. A crappy PA and overbearing keyboard just added to the chaotic awesomeness that was BTMI playing in such a unique environment. Meanwhile, inside the registration center, market stalls had been set up and there was more merch than anyone could handle.
Later in the afternoon, venue doors began opening and with 12 venues alive with music, filled with sweaty people and selling $2 tallboys, Fest 11 was in full throttle and the #fest11 posts went into overdrive. Over at Florida Theatre, one of the ‘main’ venues hosting a lot of the headlining acts, The Swellers played a set of fan-favourites, as voted by punters on their Facebook/Twitter. They’d been back in the US for only two days after their Australian tour but there was no signs of jetlag or lack of energy. Running Out Of Places To Go is the name of their new EP, and with a healthy mix of tunes of that release and older songs, they set the pace for the rest of the night. “It’s shows like this that remind us to keep the punk in front of the pop,” said vocalist Nick Diener, and there was plenty of punk to follow with No Trigger dishing out a punchy, catchy blend of punk rock/hardcore. There was no need for smoke machines as lighting up in venues across Florida is A-Okay. If you weren’t smoking, the constant smell of cigarettes and breathing in secondhand smoke all night was enough to make you sick. No worries, Polar Bear Club have a way of drawing your complete attention, and once they get a hold of it, it’s hard to break free.
Fans were treated to a performance of The Redder, The Better in its entirety before a huge banner was raised above the stage for Anti-Flag. Latterman’s reunion and Anti-Flag’s headline set was the first major Fest clash, and those who stuck around at Florida Theatre for AF helped celebrate the band’s twentieth birthday. Although they don’t officially turn 20 until next year, their gift to fans was putting together a setlist that was compiled only of material from their first four records. They admitted there might be some mistakes during the older, less rehearsed songs, but you would have struggled to pick any from their hour-long performance that ended with the stage covered in fans and bassist Chris number two leaping off the PA. As mentioned yesterday, Gainesville is quite a small little town, so much so that Anti-Flag vocalist/guitarist Justin Sane was in the hotel room next to ours. A friendly chat with the frontman before some much-earned rest was the perfect way to round out the night. Bring on day two!