Anyone else make it out? It was a blast.
I got there early to help with the minimal setup, and thus got in for free. We started with Graham Forest, who were acoustic but not folky, and the lead singer had a really deep voice. They were fun for a few songs, but we were antsy waiting for the bands we wanted, so we wandered. Caught most of Witch Hats, who were very noisy and Sonic Youth-esque, in a good way. They rocked, and I'd see them in a few years if they're still around, because by then they should have ironed out some of the kinks. We caught the first song of Nodzzz, and they were poppy rock, but not overly thrilling, so we went back down to see the end of Mannequin Men. They were straight up Ramones style punk from what I could tell, and very enjoyable. I'll definitely try to see them again at some point. The Mae Shi played next, and they were the best show of the night, though I was surprised someone came close. During the Shi's set, a security guard was attacking people for getting too close to the guard rail, choking them and punching, so the crowd surged at him until he got scared and ran off. THis prompted the crowd to retort, "The Mae Shi beat the police!" My recommendation would be to see these guys now before they destroy the planet with their miraculous live show. Also, the Mae Sheet is back, and better than ever. For those of you in the know, that's a good thing. After them, we caught all of Past Lives, which is the new project of the less squealy Blood Brother. They were fantastic, proggy, weird and out there. Vaguely psychedelic, and his voice reached into the sky. We watched a song from Paint it Black, but were too hungry, so got dinner instead and made it back in time for Mika Miko. They were amped tonight, really boosting the energy, and the crowd responded. Basically, all of the conquering Smell bands that played tonight (Mae Shi, Mika Miko, Abe Vigoda, No Age) had a perfect crowd-tons of energy, everybody going nuts, and everybody loving it. Mika Miko were short and sweet, and all the better for it, as they left everyone happy but wanting more. We then went and saw a little bit of Abe Vigoda's set. They were good, but the sound in the Echo was too loud almost all night, so it dampened their set somewhat. We decided to check out Triumph of Lethargy since they were playing in the Annex, which has never acted as a venue before. It was a tiny room, and you couldn't see the band at all. They were okay, but nothing worth staying, so we walked to get a drink instead. We got back just as Fucked Up was starting. These guys deserve to be huge. The lead singer is a huge fat dude with a shaved head and tattoos, and he seems like a teddy bear when he's talking; when he's singing, however, he becomes a madman. These guys were the Pissed Jeans of this year; full of rage, violence and energy. They got the crowd riled, and people were flying all over the place. They ended with the lead singer jumping into the crowd and bear hugging anyone in sight. I got a hug and told him how great they were, and I meant it. Negative Approach played next. I had heard that it's not the complete band from the original lineup, but they brought the old school hardcore like nobody's business. Without a doubt, that was the best hardcore punk show I've ever seen. People were climbing the light rigs and jumping into the crowd, turning the whole place into a pit and generally creating mayhem. I had a huge smile on my face the whole time. It seemed that everyone who was down there to see them was really really happy with the set, and with the energy they had, I couldn't blame them. After Fucked Up and Negative Approach, High Places was a very necessary cool down. My friends all didn't like them, and it was the worst of the three times that I've seen them due to sound issues, but they were still good. From Stardust to Sentience is a perfect song, and it sounds great live. They need to learn to close with that, and they'll be masterful. Glass Candy were after them. I remembered liking them when I saw them open for Architecture in Helsinki, and Beat Box is a really good album, so I was excited. They really turned it up and wound up with a very close second best set of the fest. Two songs in, the power that ran Johnny Jewel's keyboards went out. Rather than spending time trying to figure it out and losing the energy of the set, he switched to his preprogrammed beat box and did a song while the tech guys figured it out. They kept ramping up the energy, and when the keyboards came back, everybody in the crowd was in the palm of their hand. They had so many people dancing, and just sounded fantastic. Also, they threw out copies of their album to the audience. Not just a few, but well over 100. It seemed like they had enough for every other person at the show. I thought that was awesome. See Glass Candy. It'll be worth it. After them, I hightailed it upstairs to catch Crystal Antlers, who were scheduled to be starting as soon sas Glass Candy ended pretty much. Instead, I got up there to hear two songs from Ladyhawk, who were playing over schedule. I didn't like them much. They seemed boring. Crystal Antlers, on the other hand, had a great psychedelic vibe. Their percussionist, who goes by the name Sexual Chocolate, was a madman dancing, and their brief set was high on grooves and textures, and low on dull parts. I want to see them play their own set. I got downstairs in time to catch the last song from Matt and Kim, and, while the crowd was digging it, I was glad I had seen Crystal Antlers instead. No Age closed the Echoplex out in style. The crowd was eating it up, and they responded in kind, having a sort of homecoming, as they've been on the road so consistently this year. They closed with a few covers, one of G.G. Allin, one of Gun Club and one of the Misfits. It wasn't the best No Age show I've seen, but I was tired by that point, and rather beat up, so I wasn't fully in the mood either.
Go to F Yeah fest next year. It's so much fun, and you'll see tons of great bands.