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.