Ottobar – Baltimore, MD
Thursday, Friday and Saturday August 18-20th 2011
Well Insubordination Fest 2011 has come and gone. I got beer in the eye twice, kicked in the head and the jaw, elbowed in the eye, bruise on my shoulder and a bloody ankle. On top of that my ribs, arms and feet just hurt like a bitch in general, but it was a great weekend. After Sonar caused the hell state that was last year Insub was moved back to the Ottobar, where it turned out to be a million times better. Sure there was a little down time between bands or when the one band you didn’t care about played but you needed it. There were fewer bands than last year but just as much party to be had, The Ottobar was rad and let people hang out in the alley, even with drinks. Thanks to everyone that makes this happen and to Sick Sick Birds for making sure everyone doesn’t starve. So here’s basically what went down.
Shutouts - Missed them, I started Insub by fucking up right off the bat.
Barecat - These guys were really good, glad they played. I will be looking into them more.
Army Coach - I guess I had these guys overhyped in my head, it was kind of a letdown but they were pretty good.
Dead Mechanical - Dead Mechanical is one of those bands I’ve seen more than I can count, and I’ve never seen them have a bad set. It was nice to see them play on a stage for a decent amount of people though instead of at the Art Space all the time (no disrespect to CCAS, best place!).
Direct Hit - My first time seeing Direct Hit and they did not disappoint. Plus they played Werewolf Shame, so everything was great.
Max Levine Ensemble - I was outside for this one.
The Young Hasselhoffs - Maybe the biggest disappointment of Insub. These guys were so flat, it was kind of boring.
The Connie Dungs - Great set, except they didn’t play two of the songs I really wanted to hear, and I was unaware just how weak the singer’s voice really was. Besides that though it was great, they played for an hour and a half, it kind of reminded me of seeing the Queers. They played one A Radio With Guts song too, but it wasn’t Werewolf Weather.
Best sets of Thursday: Connie Dungs, Direct Hit, Dead Mechanical, and Barecat.
The Marshmallows - First time I’ve seen the Marshmallows, they were really enjoyable, I will be looking into them more too.
The Firecrackers - Much like Dead Mechanical I don’t think the Firecrackers are capable of having a bad show. I’ve only seen them about six times but they are one tight band, always a pleasure.
Be My Doppelganger - Apparently some internet jerk (not this one) told them the beach party last year was dumb, so they were all business this year. Despite the lack of the party on stage Be My Doppelganger was still really great; they played all the jams you needed to hear. And even though there was no beach party, they still had to play a few songs shirtless.
Mixtapes - Another first for me was seeing the Mixtapes. I figured they were going to put on a good set but they were actually way better than I expected. They played a balls out set and left the acousticy stuff at home.
Jetty Boys - I’m not sure what it is about the Jetty Boys, every time I’ve seen them they’ve had a good set, but they just can’t seem to make it a great one. Unfortunately this one stayed the course, it was some decent stuff.
The Dopamines - What can I say about the Dopamines? If you’ve ever seen them before you pretty much know how it went. Drunken fun the whole way through, these guys never disappoint.
Kurt Baker - Outside time.
Mikey Erg - Best time I’ve ever seen Mikey Erg. This is the closest you’ll come to an Ergs set without the Ergs. He played a bunch of Ergs tunes, some of his own, did a bit of covers and a Psyched to Die tune, make that the best Psyched to Die song. My voice was totally gone after this. He started to play
Danny Vapid and the Cheats - I unwillingly missed this.
Best sets of Friday: Mikey Erg, The Dopamines, Be My Doppelganger, Mixtapes, Firecrackers.
The Quarantines - Always a good time seeing Quarantines. They might not draw the biggest crowd but people seemed to be into it, as they should. As a bonus surprise they had the new 7″ there which I promptly bought.
Sun Puddles - My first time seeing Sun Puddles, the audio seemed a little off but it was still a good set. Hopefully I’ll get to see them a bunch more.
Karmellas Game - Outside break.
The Murderbugers - I missed most of this set but about the half I saw wasn’t bad, not too amazing though. I might have to look them up.
Slow Death – One of the highlights of Insub was seeing the Slow Death again, a last minute addition and a great one at that. I love this band so much, it had laughs, it had good jams, and smoking on stage, what more could you ask for?
The Gooningtons - The Gooningtons are going to rule the world and it started at Insubordination Fest 2011. They had a great set that was super fun. Played the fan favorite song twice in a row and ended with ten minutes of the band members switching instruments.
Vacation - My first time seeing Vacation, they fucking tore it up. Not only are they a great band but they might have had more energy than any other band the whole weekend.
Iron Chic - Iron Chic is another one of those bands that are just good enough not to ever put on a bad performance. I’m really glad they were here; singing along to these songs is always a good time.
The Potatomen - This is a set I’m kind of bummed I missed, I needed a break though. I caught two songs, both ruled.
House Boat - I thought Mikey Erg may have won the fest, until House Boat played. I’ve seen them a handful of times and its always great fun, as was this one. I guess it only make since that their set was the best since they have put out the best pop punk album in years just recently. They even played two Steinways songs (Everybody Loves Raymond and Dead Boyfriend (Which they dedicated to Michelle)).
Emily’s Army - Here’s a band I almost wish I’d have cut some more slack. I was outside most of their set because I’d heard all bad things. I happened to catch their last couple songs and they were pretty good. They seemed like they were having the most fun ever too.
Dear Landlord - Dear Landlord is a lot like the Dopamines, you always know you’re going to have a lot of fun and it’s going to be a great set. Always having a blast seeing Dear Landlord.
Kepi Ghoulie - Missed this, probably shouldn’t have.
The Copyrights - The Copyrights are kind of like Dear Landlord lite these days. It was a killer set and a lot of fun, but after Dear Landlord’s it just wasn’t as good.
Chixdiggit - Maybe the band I was most excited to see, however they were also the biggest let down of the weekend. When they played they were great, the problem is they didn’t do a lot of playing. Now I like a band that jokes and talks a lot (Dopamines, any band Grath is in) but this was just too much. They played for somewhere around 20 minutes and the other hour and a half was “LETS HEAR IT FOR THESE SHIRTS” “LETS HEAR IT FOR CHIXDIGGIT” LETS HEAR IT FOR KEPI” “LETS HEAR IT FOR ___” you get the idea. It was pretty funny for a while but after the 45th time the joke was running thin.
Best sets of Saturday: House Boat, Slow Death, Vacation, Dear Landlord, Iron Chic, And The Gooningtons.
By my estimation House Boat won Insub followed closely by Mikey Erg, The Dopamines, Slow Death and then Vacation. But there were a lot of excellent sets and it was a great fucking weekend.