SHOWS I SEEN: Insubordination Fest ’12 – June 21th-23rd 2012 – The Ottobar – Baltimore, MD

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The Ottobar – Baltimore, MD
Thursday-Saturday, June 21th-23rd, 2012


Insubordination Fest is the best time of year and this may have been the best one yet! Start to finish it was the most incredible lineup ever, and I had a ton of fun even though I barely survived the weekend. From this stack of greatness I did learn that having too many good bands back to back to back to back to back to back can be a bad thing. There was really no rest period or break. This was most likely a big reason for my extreme exhaustion. I also missed a few sets or half sets that I really wanted to see because sometimes your body demands you put food in it.

Thursday June 21st – Day 1

Promdates - I really thought I’d like seeing these guys more. They were good but not, great. I still bought the two CD’s they had, both are awesome.

The Strait A’s – I was super stoked for this, The Strait A’s are a great band that I was hoping I’d get to see. They had a great set that was fun, wish they’d have played longer.

Billy Raygun – Billy Raygun just put out a great album, they followed that up with a great set at Insub. I thought they might have fucked up and raised the bar too high for everyone else, I was almost right.

Rational Anthem – Rational Anthem brought it hard like always, they had a fucking great set and played almost every song I considered essential. Stellar set list, stellar set. Jose was out with them and they played some Not Yet! songs which were pretty great too. Rational Anthem needs to be a standard of Insubordination Fest.

Bobby Joe Ebola & The Children MacNuggits – I guess you could say that this is the band this year that didn’t really fit in the mold….then again I don’t think these guys fit in any mold. They were great! Before the set everybody was asking me “who are they? Are they any good?” they all seemed to get on board real fast. I hope I can catch Bobby Joe Ebola & The Children MacNuggits sometime soon again.

Firecrackers – Always a good time seeing the Firecrackers, everyone else I talked to seemed to agree and dug their set. They’re one of those bands I’m glad is close by so I can see a lot.

Slow Death – Slow Death pulled out a great drunken set as always, I liked their set from last year better but this certainly quenched my Slow Death thirst.

Dead Mechanical – A band that I’ve seen more times than I can count but it’s always a good time, these guys are always tight. They played some new songs which was a bit of a surprise, they all ruled, which was no surprise.

Mikey Erg – Another case of ‘last year was better’ but I mean, there was no way that last year was going to be topped. Still the Mikey Erg set of 2012 was a blast; I always enjoy any chance to still sing along to Ergs songs with the crowd add-ins just like they were still a band. He played a new song and covered a Superchunk song too, both were great.

Dr. Frank and Friends – Dr. Frank won Insub fest 2012, and I knew it before the set was even over. This was fucking incredible. He had the Mixtapes backing him up as a band (and House Boat for one song), and he was just playing the front man with no interment, except for the solo section. He wasn’t sober, that was clear even before he ran into the mic stand, but he wasn’t even close to being too drunk to be good, he still sounded great. Dr. Frank also endorsed Natty Boh, showing he’s got good taste. After all was over people wanted more but without his ‘real’ band they really didn’t have any, so Dr. Frank came out, said he was so stunned by it all and that he had never had a crowd ask for me (I find this hard to believe!), and sang ‘How’d the Date End?’ A cappella style. Everything about this whole set was amazing.

Friday June 22nd – Day 2

Braceface – Braceface is another set of locals that I’ve seen a few times. They’re good; if they can keep it together they’ve got some good things ahead. Their Insub set was solid.

Dewtons – My second time I’ve seen Dewtons, last time they were awesome, this time they were great as well. The only bummer was, much like last time, I didn’t see any merch for them. If they have stuff out, I want to buy it!

Smokejumper – Much like the day before, Friday didn’t take long to take things to another level. Smokejumper provided that, despite some technical problems they had a fucking awesome set; though how can you not with a bear attack song? I was pretty stoked to see these guys for the first time but they were even better than I expected. After their set there was a surprise mini Blatz cover set with a couple of great guests.

Fatal Flaw – I don’t like Fatal Flaw, this set didn’t change my opinion. I had planned to hang out outside during this time, but it was raining.

Parasites – Real good set as always by the Parasites, Dave had Promdates backing him up as his band. My only real problem with this is they played all the songs way too fast, it was almost at double speed. Besides that though it was good stuff.

Beatnik Termites – My first of a couple annoyances at my stomach. My body demanded food so I missed about half the Beatnik Termites set. When I came in though I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of people watching their set which hasn’t been the case most of the times that I’ve seen them. What I caught of the set was real good; they played some of those new songs that I’m still hoping we see one day.

Unlovables – Holy shit the Unlovables! They not only took it to another level they completely won Friday. This set was the most fun I’d had all weekend (not counting Dr. Frank). It was kind of a shock because I’d only seen them one time which was the last time they played Insub, they were real good but they were pretty stationary. This time Hallie wasn’t tied down by a bass, she was jumping around with just a mic and did most of the set in the crowd, it was fucking incredible. The Unlovables are back after a long break and I hope they stay. (And if I remember right they played a new song, so hopefully that’s a good sign!)

Plow United – My 3rd time seeing Plow United now, and all three times they were awesome. This wasn’t in Pennsylvania, and that’s where all the Plow fans seem to be so everyone at Insub wasn’t going crazy but there were a good twenty to thirty people that cared a whole fucking lot. It was a lot of fun, they sounded great and they played some new songs that sounded rad, I can’t wait for them to come out.

Danny Vapid and the Cheats – This was probably my most disappointing set of the weekend. I really like the stuff I’ve heard from Danny Vapid and the Cheats (the album and Jetty Boys split) but this set didn’t do it for me at all. I was pretty bored the entire time they played. Though a few other people seemed to enjoy it a lot.

Teenage Bottlerocket – I’m getting to the point where I’ve seen Teenage Bottlerocket so many times it seems like a pretty standard thing. That being said, it was still hella fun to sing along again. I was hoping they’d play ‘Headbanger’ because I know they covered it for the new album…but they didn’t. Quality set by a quality band though.

Saturday June 23rd – Day 3

Trashkanistan – Yet another local, and I’m glad. Trashkanistan has some great things in their future; I like this band a lot. I wish they’d like record something and put it out so I could by it. It was a real good set; I think a lot of people missed out in a secret gem here.

Candy Hearts – Talk about people missing out on a great thing, The Candy Hearts fit that. There still weren’t many people at the Fest at this point, those people fucked up bad. Candy Hearts had one of the most solid sets of the day. I fucking love this band.

Isotopes – I love baseball, I like punk, and I love the Isotopes. They dedicated their set to Cal Ripken Jr, they had the black grease under their eyes, and even asked everyone to remove their hats and sing along to ‘take me out to the ballgame’, and I loved every second of it. The Isotopes were fucking awesome. I was bummed they didn’t have more than their recent 7″ with them, also that they sold out of the rad hats they had.

Weekend Dads/City Mouse – Again I’m pretty pissed at biology, my stupid stomach needed food so I missed both Weekend Dads and City Mouse, two bands that I really wanted to see. I did catch a couple Weekend Dads songs, and they were good. Fuck you need to eat!

Be My Doppelganger – This was the tamest Be My Doppelganger set I’ve seen, though they’re certainly a good enough band that they don’t need to have a full on party on stage to be good. They were great as always, how can they not be when playing ‘Turning Seventeen’?

Lipstick Homicide – In terms of bands playing solidly, Lipstick Homicide game Candy Hearts a run for their money. They were just incredible. In fact I just didn’t get enough of them at Insub Fest; I had to drive to Delaware to see them again the next day!

Dear Landlord – I thought it was odd they weren’t playing later, but in retrospect it was a good thing they didn’t, I might not have survived the day. Dear Landlord is always super fun, I don’t remember a lot of this set because the beer and whiskey was setting in hard but I do remember having fun.

Mixtapes – Mixtapes are going to be a giant band and here’s why. They put out excellent songs and work their asses off playing tons of top quality shows. Insubordination Fest was no exception for them, they put on one of the best sets of the night. They didn’t play ‘Hope is for People’ which bummed me out, but they did cover ‘El Scorcho’ so I guess I can let that slide. Also they played an impromptu mini set after Dr. Frank on the first night which included ‘Poprocks and Coke’.

Emily’s Army – I only saw two of Emily’s Army songs last year and they were surprisingly good so I wanted to check out their full set this year to give them a fair chance. Though my stomach had other ideas, it needed food again. Maybe next time.

House Boat – The House Boat set was great, however it was probably the worst set I’ve seen by them. It wasn’t bad or anything, it was just not up to the level that I’ve come to expect. Still the crowd was super into it and that was great. They also played their amazingly long song ’21st Century Breakroom’ which was unexpected and made me happy.

Mean Jeans – I had my Mean Jeans on for this one. As always it was a party for Mean Jeans. I did get taken out by some ass jumping off stage and landing on me, and only me, but whatever, you get back up. It was a blast. Mean Jeans are becoming among my favorite bands to see.

The Dopamines – The Dopamines are always the best. I was dead tired after House Boat and Mean Jeans but still give it all I had left for the Dopamines. It wasn’t their best performance, but even at their worst the Dopamines are better than 99% of the bands out there. Super fun as always.

Night Birds – I got what was left of my fourth wind for this set which was just in time. You can’t half ass a Night Birds set. They just come in and melt your face off with their pure intensity. Night Birds are a band that always gives it 500% and it shows. They made a heavy case for best set.

The Copyrights – I was so fucking dead by the time the Copyrights played I got up front and left three times, even managed to somehow fall asleep on the side during two songs. Still they sounded great. They played my favorite song ‘Planet Earth Nineteen-Ninety-Four’ for the first time that I’ve seen, even thought I was forced to sit out for that one it was still awesome to hear. Stellar set as always by the Copyrights. I believe at this point they’re the only band to have played every Insub Fest, so they’ve earned the closer spot.

INSUBORDINATION FEST ’12

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Insubordination Fest is just about my favorite time of year. A few days of fun and pop punk is a great way to start the summer. They just announced the lineup, and here it is (complete with links in case you’re unfamiliar with some of the bands)

June 21 – 23
The Ottobar
Baltimore MD

Be My Doppelganger
Beatnik Termites
Billy Raygun
Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits
Braceface
Candy Hearts
City Mouse
Copyrights
Dan Vapid and the Cheats
Dear Landlord
Dewtons
Dopamines
Emily’s Army
Fatal Flaw
Firecrackers
House Boat
Isotopes
Lipstick Homicide
Mean Jeans
Mikey Erg
Mixtapes
Night Birds
Parasites
Plow United
Promdates
Singleton
Slow Death
Smokejumper
Sweethearts
Teenage Bottlerocket
Trashkanistan
Unlovables
Weekend Dads

Top 15 Splits of 2011

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I love split records, you get two bands for the price of one. There’s a lot of really great records on this list.

 

  1. Jetty Boys/Be My Doppelganger
  2. Direct Hit/Tit Patrol
  3. Candy Hearts/Sister Kisser
  4. Billy Raygun/Lipstick Homicide
  5. Spraynard/Sundials
  6. Iron Chic/Pacer
  7. Dopamines/Dear Landlord
  8. The Queers & Killtime
  9. Caffiends/Rock N Roll Television
  10. Prozacs/No Intention
  11. Shang-A-Lang/Rumspringer
  12. The Wild/Run, Forever
  13. Wax Phantom/Criminal Culture
  14. Unwelcome Guests/255’s
  15. Teenage Gluesniffers/Geoff Useless

SHOWS I SEEN: Insubordination Fest 2011 – August 18th-20th 2011 – The Ottobar – Baltimore, MD

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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.

Thursday (Pre-show):

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.

Friday:

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.

Saturday:

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.

Top Movies and Music of the first half of 2011

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Well June is here, and you know what that means? It’s time for the first half of the year lists. It’s been a fucking great year for music so far in 2011. The top music list I already hate myself for having to knock so many great releases so far down the list but it’s just been stellar release after stellar release. On the movie side of things though it’s been a pretty slow year, so instead of the standard top five for the half I’m only going to do a top three. So let’s go ahead and get this underway!

Top 3 movies – First half of 2011

1. Green Hornet
2. Hangover 2
3. Thor

And the worst movie of the year so far is…

No Strings Attached

Now on to the music, normally I split these into a few posts but because it was a short movie list I’m just cramming everything here. If you didn’t make the list, fear not, there’s still half a year for things to get moved and you’re probably on the list somewhere anyway (if it’s good). I’m also splitting things up a little different this year so there’s actually more lists, you’ll see.

Top 10 albums – First half of 2011

1. Motorhead: The World Is Yours
2. Deep Sleep: Turn Me Off
3. Sundials: Never Settle
4. Raphael Saadiq: Stone Rollin’
5. Rendondo Beat: Meet Rendondo Beat
6. Power Quest: Blood Alliance
7. Mind Spiders: Mind Spiders
8. The Underground Railroad to Candyland: Knows Your Sins
9. The Dwarves: Are Born Again
10. Spraynard: Funtitled

Top 10 EP’s – First half of 2011

1. Rational Anthem: Bread Line
2. Night Birds: Midnight Movies
3. The Fucking Cops: Fuck You Up With Some Truth
4. Cell Mates: Shoulda Kept That Quarter!
5. The Slow Death: Turnstile Comix #1
6. Chixdiggit!: Safeways Here We Come
7. Teenage Bottlerocket: Mutilate Me
8. The Typos: The Typos
9. The Zits: Summer Pop Dreams EP
10. Clint Maul: Great Dividing EP

Top 5 splits – First half of 2011

1. Direct Hit/Tit Patrol
2. Dopamines/Dear Landlord
3. The Queers & Killtime
4. Wax Phantom/Criminal Culture
5. Unwelcome Guests/255’s

Top 3 Singles – First half of 2011

1. Mikey Erg: Heart Shaped 12″
2. Brain F: So Dim
3. Big Eyes: Why Can’t I

And I’ll just throw this in for now since there hasn’t been too many demo’s I’ve come across this year (less than 5!!), I hope the second half picks up on this front.

The best Demo of the year so far:

The Masked Intruder: Demo

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