Live From Fest 11: Day Three

Gainesville, Florida – October 25, 26, 27, 28

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The Flatliners, pic by Daniel Cribb



A cool, mid-afternoon breeze blew through Boca Fiesta when Canada’s The Flatliners graced its stage with their presence. Owned and operated by ex-Against Me! drummer Warren Oakes, the Mexican restaurant was a bit of a walk away from the chaos surrounding the main venues, a nice change of pace after three nights spent there. After a short but sweet set from the four-piece, it was over to 8 Second to check out Cheap Girls. While they executed their songs with flawless precision, they lacked stage presence. Fans of the band would have soaked up every moment with glee, but an uninitiated bystander wouldn’t have left with a shirt or the urge to follow-up.

You can’t help but think A Wilhelm Scream are just in the music industry to make other musicians feel like they’re unworthy. Every member of the band has mastered their instrument, and when their talents are combined, there are few things that could stop them. They’re the punk rock equivalent of Hurricane Sandy. In fact, their set at Florida Theatre may have been the catalyst for the storm.

While The Menzingers aren’t as technically originated, their songwriting has a way of digging its hooks into any listener and finding even the smallest things for them to relate to. Girls, cars, growing up, school, drinking, smoking – there’s something for everything.

Next door, at 8 Seconds, Andrew Jackson Jihad unleashed a whirlwind of acoustic folk punk. “If that’s what gets your dick hard!” the venue screamed along to We Didn’t Come Here To Rock, and it was clear, if that was their intension, they had failed.

After 30 days on the road and 24 shows later, The Smith Street Band played the 25th and final date on their China/US tour at Loosey’s. Despite a slew of amazing bands playing at neighbouring venues, they managed to pack out the small space and, for the third time over the weekend, did a fine job of representing Australian punk rock.

As day three of Fest was slowly coming to a close, a mammoth-sized Good Riddance banner fell behind the Florida Theatre stage. Only being back together a short while since they broke up in 2007, they showed no signs of their time apart. You’d struggle to find a better frontman than Russ Rankin. His unique voice and friendly onstage demeanor make all feel welcome.

Sure, you could have watched Propagandhi round out Fest 11 at Florida Theatre, or Frank Turner at 8 Second, but just up the road, Boca Fiesta played host to one of the more unusual acts on the bill. You might know David Liebe Hart as that crazy guy from Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, but he also has a punk rock band, David Liebe Hard Band. Having bumped into him on the street earlier that day (he was trying to sell CDs to fans, seemed confused and disoriented and had lost his phone), it was clear his odd personality on the show is no act. He’s eccentric to say the least, and knows how to write a damn good punk rock song. He packed out Boca Fiesta and went through songs off a soon-to-be-released record before grabbing a puppet and doing five or six songs solo – much like he does on The Awesome Show!. As he slowly waddled off stage and the venue cleared, it suddenly hit everyone that the weekend was over. After four nights of endless music from around the world, enough alcohol to drown a small continent and countless new friendships forged, Fest 11 was no more. People have no doubt begun counting down the days until Fest 12. Until next time, seeya later, Gainesville!