No Suck Fest, Hawaii’s biggest DIY music festival, is going on this weekend for its fifth year. I managed to attend NSF 3, but not the outing last year, so it was high on my priority list to make it out this time around. Tonight was Day 2 of 3 and included performances by Animal Mother, The Instigators, Pink Mist, TV Microwave, Beaman, Harshist, Siblings, Botoroke (Karaoke), and mainlanders Gentlemen Prefer Blood and Big Eyes.
The mix of bands was actually quite amazing. There was a strong pop-punk showing in TV Microwave and Beaman. The former is very reminiscent of an early Blink-182 with the same strong beats and a sort of rough, fun-loving edge to it. Beaman is a bit harder to describe, though definitely inspired by early 90’s alt/pop-punk with snappy, quick beats and songs about buttholes. The band also includes Adam Funari, China Town’s fastest drummer and an all around good dude. Oh, and he also managed to smash his way through his snare drum half-way through the set. Good job, Adam.
We’ve talked about Harshist quite a bit, but it’s worth noting that they have honed that noise rock/experimental sound even more since I last saw them and they are playing damned tight. Honestly, I still haven’t found a way to fully describe this band beyond calling them a tempest mixture of harsh and smooth. If that didn’t make any sense to you, then maybe you should check out the live set they did for KTUH on their Bandcamp.
The out-of-towners that played were as different as their roots suggest. Big Eyes, originally out of New York but now residing in Seattle, is an eclectic mix of genres that falls more or less into indie rock, albeit with a definite ear for rock of decades past. I picked up their latest LP (Almost Famous) after the set and I will say they certainly played a grittier set for the mostly punk crowd tonight. Glad they repped well for us Northwesterners.
LA natives Gentlemen Prefer Blood, however, is all punk. The three-piece’s fast, growly set really got the crowd moving. The band was very experienced and crafty, dealing easily with a broken guitar string and three or four microphones knocked over by sprawling moshers. I think the lead singer may have been kicked in the face, too, though it certainly didn’t slow him down. I’m rubbish with punk, but I will say I sensed some Rancid and Irish Punk themes in the music. You punks can call me stupid after checking out some of the free music on their Bandcamp.
I managed to miss the first three bands (Animal Mother, The Instigators, and Pink Mist), but I’ve heard tell they rocked as expected. I have actually seen Animal Mother recently and would highly recommend their Strokes/Weezerish sound.
I want to make a separate note to the crowd tonight: You guys are fucking crazy. Now, I may not be as active in the scene as I used to be, but I definitely feel as though I know most Chi-To crowds. The one that came out tonight was like nothing I’ve seen before. They moshed every song. They screamed every song. They crowd surfed every last song. That’s right, crowd surfed. At Mercury bar. Sometimes there were two surfers riding the thirty person dance floor. And every time one would finally drop down, another would just jump right up. It was madness, with limbs flailing and beers spilling. Not that I hated it. I loved it. It was just so different than a usual night at Merc. And wow, do my arms feel tired.
So, you think I forgot about Siblings, eh? Well, that is far from the truth. Due to their placement between the travelling bands, Siblings actually only got about 11 minutes worth of stage time. But it was 11 minutes of raw punk power. They had the mosh spinning and slamming harder than at any other time during the night.
Not fully content with that small of an outing, however, they invited some of us to a super secret location for a post-show set. Now, I wouldn’t use the word ‘intimate’ to describe any punk set, but this was a good as it gets; Just the band and fifteen people in a tiny room. No moshing. No talking. Just the sound of every song in their repertoire washing over us, all of the fury and frustration ricocheting off of the walls and our psyches. It was an amazing experience I am glad to have been able to take a part in.
So, if any of this No Suck Fest business has piqued your interest, tomorrow night (or tonight, I guess) is the Third and Final Day. If you are available, you would be silly to miss. It’s at Anna Banana’s starting at 4 and going all night. The two travelling bands from Day 2 will be there as well as the rest of the visitors and some new local talent. Also, check out the No Suck Fest website for the schedule and updated information about the after-fest beach party. And, as always, you can see more pictures at Flickr as well as check us out at Facebook and Twitter. Keep rockin’, Honolulu.