This year’s fest was spectacular. The lineup was intense (Ben Weasel *and* Mr T Experience?!) and every band performed twice as hard as I had hoped for. I spent most of the weekend in the city w/ SS and JD getting ready and moving back and forth between Ottobar and their house up in CV.
Now, let me just say this before I go on any further. The Ottobar staff got a lot of criticism this weekend. Which makes me a little upset that so many people’s first impression of The OBar staff that they are douchey jerks. Normally it’s rather difficult to get kicked out of Ottobar (we’ve come way past “close” and been fine) yet it seems several people managed to pull that off on Friday. As a short-story disclaimer – don’t judge a venue on your first time there.
There is no book. There is no cover. Unless you’re under 21. In which case you had to stay within the Ottobar perimeter for over 12 hours on Saturday. *THUMBS UP!*
Friday’s set list was kicked off w/ the Chinese Telephones and The Sick Sick Birds. But I wouldn’t know how their sets went because it took over 40 minutes to get into the Ottobar when all they were doing was checking ID’s and putting wristbands on your arm.
6.45, Short Attention goes on the stage, we walk in the door. Immediately running for the stage, we’re greeted by the worlds cutest super-band and possibly sweetest on-stage personalities. Their set was short and light, yet left you satisfied after your meal. If you remember [and enjoyed] “Short songs for Short People” – then you’ll be a shoe-in for Short Attention.
RIYL: The Steinways, The Ergs!, The Unlovables, The Queers, Your Mom
7.15, The Riptides. There isn’t much more to say then “yes”. I’m sure it’s been said before – and it’ll be said again – but The Riptides ripped me a new one, right in my ear-drum thus increasing their ability to rock me by +3. They’re from Canada and they weren’t afraid to flaunt it.
RIYL: The Queers, The Dwarves; (maybe) The Leftovers, The Guts, Rancid, Dropkick Murphys.
7.50, The Unlovables. Can you get any more cuteness, sweetness and overall sugar-candy-lollypopage in the pop-punk scene than The Unlovables? Alright, maybe the Spazzys, but we’re not talking about them here. For those of you in the know, The U’s sport Mikey Erg on drums, of The Ergs!/Short Attention/The Parasites/who knows what else. THIS GUY IS EVERYWHERE. He must have played 75% of the sets this weekend. But I digress, the UL’s melted my face into a giant pile of caramelized sugar with gumdrops on top. If you like cute syrupy songs about longing after boys and hating everything else, then this is for you.
RIYL: The Eyeliners, Soviettes, The Ergs!, Pop-Punk in general.
Right around when Dear Landlord was suppose to go on stage, the Ottobar lost power. Yeah, every surrounding block had juice but Ottobar’s. I guess all that sweet pop sweat tripped the breakers while sweet jams melted the blocks transformer. We’re currently blaming it on Ben Weasel and his shifty eyes.
After waiting around for two hours we decided to “blow this joint” and headed back up to the village. We rocked out in the only haze we care to sit in and went to sleep. Saturday holds a trip to the farmer’s market and 12 more hours of pure face melting sugar-pop.
It’s like drinking cola syrup through your ears!
As the power went out, Ottobar started Saturday’s show early. If you were a rather eager beaver you could have rocked from 11.30am to a little past 1.30am. That’s right, AM to AM. A complete revolution of circular time, sans 10 hours of confusion. We didn’t show up until 4pm.
We missed a bunch of bands, but they were mostly all local to Baltimore or ones we’ve seen several times before. As a heads up, you should check out: Backseat Virgins, The AV Club, Dead Mechanical and The Hi-Life.
4.20, The Leftovers. Whoa there! It always amazes me when a band who’s on a pop-punk festival bill, proceeds to take the fructose level to 12, when it only even goes up to 11. The Leftovers are from Maine and it clearly shows. The best way to describes them is a teenbop-doo-wop band for the 21st century (I can’t wait ’till Twenty-Ten!). If you’re looking for a band to play your 47 year reunion with a fresh bite, then they’re just the guys to get the job done. You may not agree with me on the doo-wop front, but this is the internet and for all you know I’m a cat in russia.
RIYL: Screeching Weasel, The Queers, Buddy Holly, The Flamingos
4.55, Parasites. The Parasites are an interesting group because it’s really just The Ergs! + Dave Parasite. While getting up there in age (nothing wrong with that) Dave P’s speaking voice is completely different than his singing. In person he sounds weathered and experienced. This guy knows what’s going down. But put him in front of the SM-58 and you’ll think “wow, this must be Dave’s son on vocals”. Does Dave even have a kid? Who knows. I can’t stress how important it is for you to go get yourself some Parasites media. If you’ve ever wanted to dance like it’s the night of senior prom and you’re just “hanging in your basement again”, then this is for you.
RIYL: Screeching Weasel, The Descendants, The Ergs!, Other bands I’m sure – just check them out
5.35 (and throughout the night!), Ben Weasel. First off, do you know why they call him Ben Weasel? It’s not just because of Screeching Weasel. This guy *is* half weasel. If you ever doubt me, look at his eyes in a dark room. Cripes, do it in the middle of a field at high-noon. Fucking Weasel man. His backing band off the current release is actually All American Rejects, which didn’t come to lend a helping hand this tour around. The Guts came to help out and BW enticed the crowd with plenty of classics. There weren’t as many new songs as I had hoped for, I’m pretty bummed he didn’t play “Let Freedom Ring”, but I’ll live. Oh I’d also like to point out that he continued to come out on other people’s sets and do songs from his past bands like 2-3 times. Not 1-2 songs either, we’re talking 50%+ of other band’s sets. It’s BEN WEASEL PEOPLE. I can deal with that.
RIYL: Breathing Air, Living, Sunshine, Food
6.45, The Steinways. It’s been told to me that The Steinways tend to only play 25-50% of their own material during their sets. Yesterday I found this myth to be truth. Half of their set was as a backing band to Ben Weasel (spoiler!) but that’s ok. They opened with an Off With Their Heads cover and didn’t slump a single degree. It’s taken me nearly 2 years to see The Steinways and I’m not dissapointed in the slightest. Plus, Grath (vocals) reminds me of a guy from high school who just kind of dissapeared. I’d like to think it’s him and he’s having a great time in his life. I’m crossing my fingers for ya buddy.
RIYL: Short Attention, Pop-Punk, Any bands on the Insub. Fest lineup.
We took a much needed break from 7.25-9.25 so we can’t vouch for the bands in between (Big in Japan, The Retarded, The Beatnik Termites) but I’ve heard most of their recorded stuff and it follows the general trend. You’ll like ’em – I’m sure. My money is on The Retarded.
9.25, The Ergs! The Ergs! have been around for a while playing catchy pop-punk that you just can’t beat, no matter how hard you try. There was (and apparently still is) a point of my life where things just didn’t seem to be going right and I wondered if I’d ever find someone to share all my wants and desires with. The Ergs! have this uncanny ability to see right into your soul and tell the entire world how you’re feeling through drum-blasted beats and face melting riffs. If there is *one* band on the entire fest lineup that you should pay extra careful attention to, it’s these guys. Mikey Erg handles both main vox and drums – and doesn’t drop a single ball. Their set was as intense as ever and I’m going out on a limb to say more people were there to see them than any other band. This includes Ben W’ and MTX.
RIYL: The Steinways, The Unlovables, Blink 182 (yeah!), Poppity-Punkage
11.25, The Copyrights. Oh man. I’ve seen The C’s 4 or 5 times in the past few months and every time I’m nothing but ecstatic. Quality band with a quality set playing quality tunes to quality people. Quality. Pulling up their pants in the Neo-Pop Punk scene (as I’ve decided to start calling it), it’s pop-punk for the same generation who fell in love with it 10 years ago. Except now we’re older, still single and social outcasts and not even the bottom of the bottle holds the answer to our problems anymore. But damn it, The Copyrights are going to make sure we keep on trying. Because all we punks have is each other. While their new album, Make Sound, is pretty good I’d suggest picking up either Mutiny Pop or We Didn’t Come Here To Die.
RIYL: Off With Their Heads, Dillinger Four, Jawbreaker, Bomb The Music Industry (yeah I said it!)
12.05, Teenage Bottlerocket. If you’ve heard one of their cd’s – then you’ve heard pretty much every song they played last night. That of course stems from the fact that they really only have two full-lengths and the rest are EPs. This is classic power-punk-pop-punk with that Screeching Weasel/Vandals spice to it. They really help you feel like you’re in 10th grade again and the biggest problems in your life is the fact that you hate your shitty part-time fast-food job and your peers just don’t “understand you”. When you listen to them, make sure you lock yourself in your room with all the lights off and some incense so your parents don’t find out what you’re doing in there!
RIYL: Screeching Weasel, The Vandals, I’m trying not to list fest bands, The Ramones, Aquabats(?)
12.45, Mr. T Experience. What can I say? It’s MTX. We all grew up listening to them, but I haven’t put on an MTX album since I was in high-school. 6 years later and they still rock just as hard, but it wasn’t the most climatic finisher to me. It’s still my opinion that Ben Weasel should have gone last, but whatever. They played the two songs I wanted to hear early on so we actually jumped ship early and made it home by 1.30am. What can I say, MTX was exactly what I expected, which wasn’t enough to keep me there after being at the Ottobar for over 8 hours.
RIYL: Anything Fat-Wreck has put out since the early 90’s.
All in all Insubordination Fest was spectacular. I’m counting down the days until next year – but there’s rumors it may not be at the Ottobar again. There seemed to be a lot of beef about underage fans having to stay inside the Ottobar’s grounds for the entire fest. That means if you showed up at 11.30am on Saturday – you couldn’t leave until the show was over around 1.30am. That’s pretty piss-poor imo. imo.