Open Mind Saturated Brain

Open Mind Saturated Brain

ZEGEMA BEACH RECORDS

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

***AUSTIN BLOOD ALLIANCE Fest - Dave's Amazing Experience***

Before you read all this stuff that spewed forth from my fingers, you might want to watch all 68 live videos here. The embedded youtube links below are to each band's best live performance (in my opinion, of course) and I've provided a brief review along with a "for fans of" (ffo:) section and bandcamp links. Enoy.


So on January 28th, 2015 I hopped in a car with my boys Tony and Cory and drove to Michigan. We stayed in Ann Arbor at a screamo frat house with Chun and Jon Riley from Youth Novel. Here's a video of myself, Chun, Cory and Tony talking about frats and screamo. Then Chun shuts me down.

 The next day we set out on the 24-hour drive to Texas and with five guys squished into one car it was quite pleasant. We certainly shared loads of new bands with each other, which was awesome. It was also tiring. 

After arriving in Austin and Brian Chamblee's house at about 10:30am on Friday January 30th we all crashed hard. Upon waking up, Schuyler from Moonasi and their roomy Karl brought us to a taco place which kicked ass. That volcano taco, holy moly. So good. Following this Tony and I hit up a currency exchange station at ta mall and the local record shop, where I dropped money on 5 records including the first Rye Coalition 7" ($2.99) and Antioch Arrow's 'The Lady is a Cat' ($7.99). Fuckin' steal. Many thanks to Karl for showing Tony and I around and being a beautiful person. Man, that guy loves Adobe Homes. A lot. Word.

So after this it was time to head to the first night of the show. I have to say something about the explosion of a community I witnessed upon arriving at the Spider Ballroom venue, so here we go. I remember going to the Warped Tour back in the early 2000s and being stoked upon meeting fellow music goers that listened to similar music. That being said, there were thousands upon thousands of people there, so socializing and mingling was not part of the experience for me. If you saw a band member at a merch table you might lose your shit and maybe get to say hi while buying some stuff. So this brings me to the ABA Fest. This was a community. More of a community than I have ever experienced in my entire life. It was like 200 friends got together and 100 of them played in bands so they rocked out and everyone chilled out in between. Did you get to say hi to band members? Hells no, you got to sit down and chat with anyone from any band. Really, just everything about this was incredible in every way possible.


***Day 1 NIGHT SHOW***
BAD DINNER are a new band from Brett (aka Suspended Soul Records) and some other really nice dudes whose names escape me. They played a caustic breed of hardcore/post-metal/screamo/thrash that I really dug even more live than the recordings. They played a very passionate set and even gave me a shout out. Word. Brett is a seriously amazing guy who is a beacon of positivity within the punk scene. They are on tour again this spring/summer.
ffo: Furtive Forest, Cassilis and Seventeen Again
bandcamp

***
UNDER A SKY SO BLUE from Athens, Georgia said hello to me at the distro table, which was awesome as I've been in contact with the band since they sent me their stuff and said one of their influences is Joshua Fit For Battle, which immediately grabbed my attention. Their set consisted of a bass-heavy romp with three screamers that blurs like a beautiful car crash. They have a new drummer, so Joseph just does vocals now and he seemed to really enjoy it. I am super psyched for these guys to bang out an LP! Screamy emo-violence lovers take note, this might be your new favourite band!
ffo: Virginia On Duty, Jeromes Dream and The Truth About Dreaming
bandcamp

***
LYED was another band that I was aching to see and they didn't disappoint. They have an awesome blend of noise-rock, screamo and a sweet mix of early The Bled. You can hear the vocalist but I wish the mic was louder, at least where I was standing. Regardless, this was a great set. If you haven't listened to their first EP you are missing out, and they've also got a song on the new Texas compilation that will be released soon.
ffo: The Bled, Since By Man and Ritual Mess
bandcamp

***
WOUNDED KNEE dropped some seriously heavy Cassilis-styled thrash/screamo/rock which focused on big breakdowns and caustic, jarring, wailing instrumentals as well as varied dual vocals. I've got some great shots of the guitarist next to me going absolutely apeshit during the set, which I love. Excellent job by these fellas, I was seriously impressed.
ffo: Cassilis, Seventeen Again and Converge
bandcamp






***
HAUNTER was fucking commanding. With the bassist boasting hair and attire from an 80s metal fan, they demolished the audience with a few massive songs spouting demonic vocals. I heard quite a few show-goers comment on this being one of the best sets. If you like your punk with lots of metal and an aura of evil, check these guys out!
ffo: Tentacles, Suffering Mind and Shoto
bandcamp






***
LEFT ASTRAY were a band that I had heard a little about, but hadn't really jammed them. They were easily one of the best performers and their set the second day was even better than the first! If you like unrelenting thrash/hardcore/metal you need to watch these videos of every band member getting totally lost in their own destruction. I love seeing bands lose it like this. Plus, I met all of them and they are all amazing people! A special note, how the fuck is their sound this thick with only one guitar? Also, the vocals absolutely shred and the bassist Marcel dips in now and again. Excellent stuff!
ffo: Lavotchkin, Furnace and Graf Orlock
bandcamp

***
ICE HOCKEY I don't think that there's any question that ICE HOCKEY put in the most passionate and emotional and goddammit I'll even say cathartic set of the fest. Visceral. Honest. Inclusive. Seriously insane live performance by these Quad Cities boys. In addition to old and unrecorded songs, they played a Ten Grand cover that brought Scott to tears and the audience went fucking bananas. I love the lack of self control that the band seems to encounter when they get really into a song, jumping up and down and whatnot. They really engaged the audience and made the entire experience very intimate and well beyond satisfying.
ffo: Youth Novel, Ten Grand and Mara'akate
bandcamp

***
TENTACLES were everything I hoped they would be, so I died. Seriously, they absolutely tore shit up. The band played with Francisco which hasn't happened since the release of 'Cogita Mori' and also included a new bass player (from Haunter, who also records their stuff!). They played a nice mix of mid and late Tentacles material and were one of the bands I heard quite a few people say were the best set of the entire fest, and I'd probably agree. The band will have a final show for their record release that Zegema Beach Records and React With Protest shall be putting out later this year along with the Yusuke/Tentacles split with the same labels as well as Friendly Otter and a few others. Honestly, this band is fucking unreal and are some of the nicest guys, to boot.
ffo: Svffer, Resurrectionists and Among Light
bandcamp

***
FLESH BORN, simply put, ripped everyone's faces off. Sheer malevolence on a level that makes me salivate. Fusing punk, hardcore, thrash, metal and screamo into a frenzy of noise and violence that'll make your head spin. Think Ed Gein, Jeromes Dream and June Paik rolled into one. Very technical, very thrash and extremely screamy. Flesh Born also shares members with Two Knights, Father Figure and Mimisiku as well as among many others. Watch all of their videos by clicking here!
ffo: Ed Gein, Jeromes Dream and Edhochuli



***
LORD SNOW jumped into their set with no banter, the members simply drifted into music mode and busted out jams for almost half an hour. I thought their 'Solitude' tracks were a little loose, but the new songs from their split 12" were fantastic to behold. I am pretty goddamned stoked about their next album. And thus ended the first night.
ffo: Louise Cyphre, Jeromes Dream and Textbook Traitors
bandcamp







And thus ended night one's lineup. Afterwards a bunch of people hit up a punk rock karaoke house party which was amazing. Here's a video of what you missed and it's fucking hilarious. The best part is when Blake from Lyed walks by, smiles and just shakes his head. People got sloppy but in a good way and everyone had a killer time, from what I gathered. We got to chauffeur Stephen from Ampere around which was very twilight zone, as I've been a huge Ampere and Montcalm fan for over 10 years. Amazing dude. Check out his new band Kindling on facebook here!


Brian had Tony, myself, Coma Regalia and Ampere stay at his place on the lake. It was a beautiful place almost an hour away from the show which I traversed the following morning before breakfast and really enjoyed the solitary and surreal experience, some of which I captured in a very boring video about large houses and rocks. After breakfast it was basically off to the afternoon house shows, of which I only went to one because all the bands I wanted to see were playing there - lucky for me.


***Day 2 HOUSE SHOW***
AMONG LIGHT were only able to play two songs, but those two songs were some of the best I've ever had the pleasure of hearing. Just drums (Matt) and guitar/screaming (Frank) these ex-Tentacles fellas are insane to see live. Check out their demo and hopefully they'll have a split with мятеж coming out in the near future!
ffo: Tentacles, Phoenix Bodies and Neil Perry
bandcamp







***
FATHER FIGURE played a secret/last minute set that I only knew was happening because I saw Miles all fit for battle and asked him what the fuck was going on, and I didn't know he was in Weakness. At this point I found out Weakness couldn't play but Father Figure was stepping in instead. Hot damn now I understand what all the rage is about. These three fellas nearly brought the house down with people going apeshit and screaming along with every word, it was awe inspiring.
ffo: Off Minor, Matsuri and Deers!
bandcamp



***
AMYGDALA shattered everyone's eardrums. Bianca's shrill, piercing scream was layered over the heavy/screamo guitars and bass as well as very subtle but awesome drumming. If you still crave bands like Welcome The Plague Year as I do, you will love this band. Props to Jose for hooking me up with a test press 7"! These four videos fucking slay.
ffo: Welcome The Plague Year, The Spirit Of Versailles and The Truth About Dreaming
bandcamp

I arrived at the end of ECHO BASE's set (because I got lost) and only captured part of one song, but it makes the band's sound pretty obvious - sad emo. This was the only band like this that I heard and I saw most of the bands so this was quite a refreshing way to start night two. Not my kinda stuff but for those who dig the half-spoken/half-yelled gasps and clean guitars should eat this up.
ffo: The Reptilian, Two Knights and Zoo Books
bandcamp





***
MOONASI blew my fucking socks off. Holy fucking shit. Seriously this band is already tight as hell with fantastic songs and amazing state presence. 4 of 5 members scream, with the second guitarist playing his first show with the band. The vocals are all extremely high-pitched screaming and the instrumentals are both jangly, clean, distorted, noodley, chaotic and angelic - I shit you not. 
ffo: Jeromes Dream, Off Minor and Deers!
bandcamp





***
GAFF played even tighter than I had imagined. These four guys just lit it up with really technical screamo in the vein of Hot Cross and Off Minor. I love that jazzy shit, goddamn! The guitars are bouncing around with solos and whatnot while the bassist is matching their finger wizardry while Adam on guitar and the drummer both are able to scream at the same time. Craziness. Check these guys out pronto.
ffo: Hot Cross, Off Minor and Birthday Boyz
bandcamp





***
TWO KNIGHTS were the first band to bring everyone on stage and had about 60% of those people were screaming along with Parker. Some were smiling like idiots. Some were in the kissing mood. It was amazing and intensely intimate. If you love jazzy, sad emo music this is probably your favourite band. Always a good time with Parker and Miles.
ffo: The Reptilian, Echo Base and Zoo Books
bandcamp






***
COMA REGALIA This two-piece never fails to impress me, especially live. For a two-piece these fellas make a lotta noise, think of a swedish Orchid or Funeral Diner and you've got the right idea. These guys are releasing splits left, right and centre and also have a new 2x7" coming out shortly! I love how Shawn stands up while he drums to accentuate the vocals and so forth. Great set.
ffo: Funeral Diner, ...Who Calls So Loud and Orchid




***
ANODES were another band that blew away my expectations. I had heard the Enta/Anodes split 10" and remembered liking Enta much  more. This live stuff was much akin to Buried Inside and Titan meets Envy and Isis. It's really fucking good. It's really engaging, brooding and epic post-hardcore/metal that has since inspired me to delve headfirst into their catalogue.
ffo: The Black Heart Rebellion, Envy and Titan






***
FOR WANT OF basically set up this event, with a handful of other people to thank for that as well, but I personally viewed this band as the catalyst for the festival, besides Ampere of course. They played a good set of old and new stuff which had quite a few audience members screaming along. I've heard the band's two new EPs that haven't been released yet and they are both awesome.
ffo: La Quiete, Yaphet Kotto and Gaff
bandcamp





***
ADOBE HOMES
These fellas from New Mexico screamed their way through a very passionate set that had the crowd on the stage yet again for the duration of the set, during which AJ was literally hanging upside down from the rafters and screaming. It was awesome. The third video that's posted in the massive 60-something video link was shot by none other than Joseph Turner from Under A Sky So Blue - so thanks for your help!
ffo: Innards, Father Figure and Beau Navire
bandcamp



***
AMPERE was the headliner. This was huge. People were fucking stoked. I was stoked. It was crazy. Members of Montacalm, Orchid, Bucket Full Of Teeth, Ritual Mess and more were standing in front of us blasting out Ampere tunes for 15 fucking minutes! It got pretty nuts and some audience folk rushed the stage and jumped on the mic, only to have the mic cut off for the remaining few minutes, with Steve screaming along and jumping around the stage. After that the instruments were cut as well and the people who worked at the Spider Ballroom told us to "get the fuck out". In the video I took it's rather hard to hear Steve's vocals, I would presume because of my position to the stage/speakers. Regardless, if you know the songs you can pick them out of the noise. Great set, awesome people. Please come to Canada!!!
ffo: Orchid, Ritual Mess and Montcalm

***
The drive back, simply put, sucked ass. Upon arriving home from 15 degree (celsius!) weather in Austin, we were met with a few feet of snow and -20 degree weather. That's a bunch o' horseshit. Tony's car was parked in my driveway during the ordeal (as we had used a rental car) and the thing was shrouded in show. It took 4 of us the better part of 20 minutes to dig it out. Here is a picture of that garbage:

Thank god when we finished and watched some ABA Fest videos. Tony is almost asleep, though.

Good times. Thank you so much to everyone who I met, chilled with, watched play, bought stuff from the ZBR distro and housed my silly Canadian ass. I love you all. Coming home was a frustrating and jarring shock into a world where people don't care much about each other and they don't share this burning passion for music that we all had at the fest. Besides my family, music will always be my world and I'll keep on sharing my endless love for it.

2 comments:

  1. That's quite the drive, I'm glad you were able to share your experience. It sounds like it was a blast

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nothing this Magical will ever happen again I don't think.

    ReplyDelete