About Zack

Associate Degree. Music Lover. Blogger.

Camp Anarchy (Day 3)


Camp Anarchy, 2 June 2019

Legend Valley; Thornville, OH

Spanish Love Songs, The Bombpops, Iron Chic, The Bronx, TSOL, Less Than Jake, Bad Religion, NOFX


I hate to say it, but the last day of Camp Anarchy was a little anti-climactic. It was pretty obvious as we dragged ourselves in that we were all a little wore out. I didn’t drink, smoke, take any drugs other than ibuprofen and spent my nights in a motel so I can only imagine how haggard the drunken masses were feeling by this point.

I didn’t realize until a few hours in but the organizers did a really good job of grouping the bands for each day. Friday was mostly hardcore and Saturday had a lot of ska. Sunday was the pop-punk day and while I usually enjoy that subgenre, after being worn out by the ska and hardcore it was hard to feel it.

I have to give Spanish Love Songs some credit. They had the worst set time of the weekend. Those poor bastards were playing mostly to the underage kids who weren’t able to get their hands on booze or pot and the one straight edge guy with a blog.

The Bombpops

I was really excited to see the Bombpops. I checked them out on Spotify and fell in love with their brand of pop-punk. They come off as almost bubblegum because of the cutesy, female vocals until you realize they’re singing about getting drunk and shitting their pants. I also really enjoyed Jen Razavi’s lead guitar style which is similar to the ultra-simple stuff Johnny Ramone played but taken up a notch by moving across the strings.

The Bronx is one of those bands who are bigger than I realized. They’ve been making records for years and playing fests. I actually had one of their tunes on a mix CD a few years ago. I was never able to figure out who played that song even after Google made it easy to find that stuff out and I’m sleeping a lot better now that the mystery is solved.

Unlike every other band that has gotten a pingback from this event, I haven’t gotten to know TSOL any better than when I first saw them open for Dead Kennedys last year. They’re definitely in a world of their own and are very unlikely to show up on shuffle play for any artist on any music app. Plus, as much as I enjoy their tunes the comedic banter between was completely golden.

I managed to remain calm and adult all the way until Bad Religion started playing at 8:40. That was when my HIIT workout began. For whatever reason, it took a while to set up the stage for them so I had plenty of time to stake my claim to a spot to watch from, but within about 2.5 seconds I was shoved elsewhere and only managed to take a brief rest after crowd surfing out of the mayhem (before running right back into it two songs later). There was finally some slam-dancing instead of just a bunch of idiots running around in circles like the Muslims do with that big rock in Mecca and while I don’t think it was more intense than the Offspring’s pit on Friday, I think that’s just because everyone was so fucking wore out.

I’m not sure the pit was even as intense for them as it was at the Summer Nationals tour when I remember seeing the entire crowd bouncing up and down for “21st Century Digital Boy,” but I could be wrong as I was able to view that pit from the outside.

I hadn’t realized that this was NOFX’s first US show since they were dropped by a sponsor after a joke about last year’s Las Vegas shooting. It was nice to hear that experience didn’t get them to tone anything down and they kept me in stitches throughout their set. I’m not the biggest fan of their music and I had intended to leave early, but they were just so damn enjoyable. I’m wondering if they have a live album that features all the between song banter. That’s what I need to make a fan out of me.

I almost don’t want to post a video as I’m worried it might lead to more hardship for the band.

I hope you’ll all forgive me for taking an extra day on the last post of this series. After getting home and feeding the cats all the adrenaline wore off and I managed to nap most of the day away. Shit like this is fun as hell, but it really makes me realize I need to hit the gym more before next year.

 

 

 

Camp Anarchy (Day 2)


Camp Anarchy, 1 June 2019

Legend Valley; Thornville, OH

Voodoo Glow Skulls, A Wilhelm Scream, The Suicide Machines, OFF!, The Damned, Suicidal Tendencies, Pennywise, Rancid


Two down, one more to go. My mind wishes it would last longer, but my body is saying ‘Let’s go home!’

I liked the early ska bands more than I thought I would. My intentions were to arrive about halfway into Voodoo Glow Skulls’ set, but I got there in time to watch the whole thing and was surprised by how much I enjoyed them. I’ve never been a fan of ska. I’m not sure why. But watching them play live had me trying my hand at skanking. Maybe trombone and sax is the perfect combination in a horn section to pique my interest. Or maybe it was voodoo.

I’ve enjoyed The Suicide Machines since I saw them at The ANC in 2016. They might just be my gateway to ska because they’re more of a hardcore band with some ska leanings. They keep popping up on my Google Play account at work and I keep listening. Who knows, maybe they’ll be my first official ska CD purchase.

I checked out A Wilhelm Scream on YouTube before the show and was interested to see them, but they didn’t do it for me live. They’re definitely a capable band, but I think they might be too capable. I don’t want to talk too much trash, but I think these guys might know more than four chords. They got so epic at times I wonder if they might know seven or eight! Now that they’re on my radar I’ll keep an eye on them. Maybe in a few years, I’ll feel differently.

OFF!

OFF! and The Damned were the elder statesmen of the evening, bringing us greetings from the 70s. I knew the name OFF! but had to Google them to find out they’re a supergroup with Keith Morris from Black Flag and the Circle Jerks on vocals. The YouTube search of these guys made me an immediate fan as they’re quite skilled at making great videos. I wasn’t sure if that would translate well to the stage but now I can tell you: it does. I had to add an album to my Amazon wishlist and I’m in love with the guitar Dimitri Coats played.

The Damned made up about 76.83% of the reason I bought a ticket for this festival. I’ve been a huge fan for a couple of years and was heartbroken to have missed a Cleveland show a few years ago when a friend had a medical emergency. I’m sort of surprised I got another chance to see one of the first English punk bands so soon. I was prepared to not know a lot of songs, but they’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of Machine Gun Etiquette and played most of the album. Seeing them is a huge check mark off my bucket list. They were definitely the highlight of my day trip.

The only issue I had was the constant circle pit. Can’t we just slam dance for “Smash It Up” guys? Do we really have to do laps and go round and round?

Mike Muir could be a great motivational speaker. Get that man a Pepsi!

After a $3 water and some Advil, I hung back for Suicidal Tendencies. Not only was I starting to feel my age, but I was kinda scared to get too close. Those guys have made a career out of being cyco and I didn’t want to end up institutionalized. The most disturbing part was Mike Muir giving these motivational “don’t let the man get you down” speeches between songs. I would have preferred to hear them play more songs, but if the whole rock and roll thing doesn’t work out he could make a good living on the circuit with Tony Robbins.

I saw Pennywise at the Summer Nationals Tour in 2014 with the Offspring so I knew what I was getting with them. They’re a simple four-chord skate punk band that’s hard not to love. I don’t know that any song sums up my punk ethos more than “Fuck Authority.”

One of the highlights of the day was the kid skanking on the side of the stage through their whole set. He’s going places!

I’m not a fan of Rancid, which was great as it gave me a chance to sneak out early and avoid the traffic jam. I meant to take off after “Roots Radical” which is one of the few songs of theirs I enjoy, but they played that second so I hung out longer. I made it through about half their set and while I’m not going to be buying any albums I may give them another listen.

Today’s the last day. The lineup is a little lighter and there aren’t as many bands I’m excited for but that just gives most of them a chance to exceed my expectations!

Check out Day 1 if you missed it yesterday

Camp Anarchy (Day 1)


Camp Anarchy, 31 May 2019

Legend Valley; Thornville, OH

La Armada, Death By Stereo, Strung Out, Sick of it All, Fear, X, The Offspring


I can officially say I’ve survived the first day of this three-day punk extravaganza. It’s one helluva accomplishment because things definitely got crazy.

But Friday is the short day. There were fewer bands and a later start time. Due to traffic, hotel check-in and bad mapquest directions I got there late and completely missed the first two bands. I wasn’t extremely broken-hearted as I’d checked them out on YouTube earlier in the week and wasn’t extremely impressed. But it’s still nice to see bands live and maybe something will grab you.

Strung Out was the first band I was able to watch and they had a great set. They do some pretty basic punk-pop but mix in the occasional breakdown or arpeggiated bridge. Not that I have any issue with basic punk-pop, but it was pretty cool to hear a band add a few other ingredients to the old formula.

Sick of it All

Sick of it All is a band that pops up in my life every decade or so. I had Built to Last in high school and I remember hearing a lot of Death to Tyrants when it came out, but I’ve never been a huge fan. I was psyching myself up to get in the pit for “Take The Night Off” but didn’t prepare for it to be their opener! And I didn’t expect the pit to come to me! Come on guys, give me some warning. I’d gotten a great spot for their set, but I didn’t hold onto it for long. The best thing about a mosh pit is it makes it easy to catch the band from many different vantage points (albeit with a large sweaty man running full bore at you).

Both Fear and X were the elder-statesmen of the evening. It’s great to be able to cross both those groups off my bucket list, but I wasn’t going crazy for them. Fear is a great band with hooks to spare in their tunes and that irreverent humor that makes the punk great. I wish they would loan a few of those hooks to X, who are a great rockabilly band,

Fear

but I’ve always found them difficult to get into. They were definitely a little out-of-place, but they were probably out of place when they started in 1977. I think they would be out of place anywhere this side of JFK’s election (not that that’s a bad thing. It puts them in great company with Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Hank Williams and Others.)

The Offspring was fucking crazy. I saw them a few years ago at the Summer Nationals Tour in Pittsburgh, but at that show, I was on the lawn and far away from the thriving biomass in front of the stage. I spent the first few songs learning what a sardine feels like at the canning factory before I hopped in the pit for a little fresh air. That had to be one of the craziest pits I’ve ever been in. I’m always surprised at how intense people mosh for punk bands, I thought I could handle anything after Slipknot and Slayer, but the Offspring and Primus have been way more intense. Then again, I am getting a little old.

The highlight of the evening was Dexter Holland’s solo version of “Gone Away” on piano. I was disappointed when they didn’t do that tune the last time I saw them but this performance more than made up for it.

 

It’ll be hard to top the performances from yesterday, but I have faith in the bands scheduled today. If I’d had to pick one day of the weekend to attend, it would be today. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to eat some White Castle and pop some Ibuprofen.

 

Staind “Dysfunction”


(13 April 1999 Flip, Elektra)

One of the coolest things about writing this blog for the past several years has been going back to albums I loved as a teenager and hearing whether or not they’ve stood the test of time. I think I made mostly good decisions back then, but there have been a few that made me wonder what the hell I was thinking.

Staind’s Dysfunction is one that I don’t even want to go back and listen to. Don’t get me wrong, I remember really liking it. It was different. “Just Go” was the first song of theirs I heard. It came on the radio at some point and was weird and powerful enough to leave an impression. I don’t remember first hearing “Mudshovel” or “Home,” but both were the type of songs I would hear later and think ‘I know that song… I’ve heard that before.’

I always liked Mike Mushok’s guitar work. He didn’t play like any of the nu-metallers and really had his own, unique style. Aaron  Lewis also seemed a little out of place because he could actually sing and didn’t just rely on growls or spitting rhymes.

But… well… “It’s Been A While.”

For fuck’s sake, you could not avoid that song when it came out. If you turned on the radio for 20 minutes in 2001 you would hear that song. And every fucking song they came out with after that was the exact same bullshit. I remember hearing a tune from them in college that I enjoyed – I assume it came from 2011’s self-titled album – but when I listened to the album on Spotify it didn’t impress me much.

And don’t even get me started on Aaron Lewis. That guy has one helluva screw loose. Every time I seem him in the news it’s on MetalSucks.com because he did something extremely birdbrained like comparing Fred Durst to the Dalai Lama or storming off stage after telling the crowd he doesn’t speak Spanish because he’s an American. * It’s like he hired Donald Trump’s Public Relation’s Guy.

Honestly, Dysfunction may still be a joy to listen to. And it may be possible for a washed-up metal singer to go country without turning into a MAGA hat wearing numbskull, but I’m not going to answer any of those questions here.

 

*I also occasionally use the “I don’t _____, because I’m American” thing occasionally, but I’m always joking. There are lots of things people from other countries enjoy that I just don’t get like drinking hot tea, playing futbol and not having to take out second mortgages to pay for costly medical procedures but I hope you know that I respect you all.

Alice in Chains “Rainier Fog”


(24 Aug 2018, BMG)

I purposely waited a while before tackling the review of this album. I kept hoping it would grow on me, but I’m still not a huge fan.

There are a few good tunes on the album. My favorite is “Maybe.” It starts off with those patented harmonized vocals and carries them all the way through the track. It’s weird because they don’t really give the song a heavy metal or hard rock feel, but more of a country vibe.

It seems so strange to put so much emphasis on one word, but I love the way they say “yeah,” in the chorus to that song. It reminds me of what Layne Staley did in “Grind.”

I also really like “Never Fade” which sounds unlike anything Alice have ever done. This probably has something to do with the influence of new(ish) singer William DuVall. This is his third album with the group but one of his first major songwriting contributions. And it’s about damn time! I really enjoyed the stuff from his previous band, Comes With The Fall, and have been waiting for him to contribute more to Alice in Chains.

“So Far Under” is great also for being unique. This one is solely written by DuVall, features his lead work and starts with the best riff on the album.

The title track is another standout that drives the album along. I think it should have been the opener. I’m guessing one of the things that killed enthusiasm about this record was the lead single “The One You Know.” It’s definitely not the track I would have picked to fill that role. I honestly think I would have liked it more if I’d gotten a vinyl copy and mistakenly started with side two.

“Fly” features some interesting guitar sounds unlike anything else in the Alice canon, but feels like too much of a departure for me. “Drone” is perhaps the best example of the term ‘Doom Metal’ on the album, which is both a positive and negative for the track.

In some ways, this is sad for me. This feels like the Alice in Chains album where they cement their status as the elder statesman and spend the rest of their career putting out mediocre albums with a few gems scattered here and there. Before this, I had to buy every album they put out, but the next one I might pass on.

Maybe that has something to do with the lack of enthusiasm surrounding it. I remember being pumped up when The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here came out because I was hearing songs on the radio and watching great videos on YouTube. There really wasn’t any of that with this one. I don’t even listen to rock radio much anymore. I tend to go for the mix station.

In some ways that makes me sad. I used to love modern rock, but it just doesn’t thrill me as much as it used to. It also makes me happy to know I’m still growing and exploring new things.

Just like Alice in Chains, hard rock will always be a part of my past, but will they be a part of my future?

Static X “Wisconsin Death Trip”


(23 March 1999, Warner Bros.)

I was surprised to see that Static-X is touring this year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut, Wisconsin Death Trip. Mainly because their leader died a few years ago. I remember when it happened. It was a huge blow for the hair gel industry and fans of industrial metal.

Sure, they were lumped in with the nu metal of the late 90s/early aughts, but they seemed to have better staying power than most of their peers from that era. I still enjoy their third album, Shadow Zone, that was released long after Limp Bizkit became completely flaccid and I’d done my best to forget about Puya.

It’s somewhat strange to think of how industrial music apes the big craze of the moment and adds electronics to it. Ministry did it with thrash metal in the early 90s, NIN did it with grunge in the mid-90s and Static-X did it with nu-metal at the end of the decade.

I wasn’t sure if they would be fronted by Hologram Wayne Static or just his reanimated corpse. The truth is actually stranger than either of those scenarios.

I was going to make the argument that Static-X wasn’t really a nu metal band, but then I read the Wikipedia definition which said the genre is “heavily syncopated and based on guitar riffs”  and that’s pretty hard to argue with. They were grounded in start/stop guitar riffs and Wayne Static’s goofy growly vocals. Just because I enjoy their music doesn’t give me any right to make excuses and call them something other than what they are.

Which is somewhat horrible, but they were never nearly as bad as Crazy Town. That group is also touring, which is strange because I thought that the entire band was dead.

How to Freak Out Your Mechanic


I don’t work on cars, but I do work on machines. Something anyone who works on mechanical things hears a lot is “It’s making a funny sound.”

That doesn’t tell me much, so I tend to ask a few follow-up questions.

“Well, can you be more specific? Is it a THUNK or a SSSKKKKKRREEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeee?”

“Does it sound like Lynyrd Skynyrd or Flipper? Is it more The Prodigy or Chemical Brothers? Oh… it sounds like Todd Rundgren? That’s nothing to worry about.”

 

If you really want to freak a mechanic/maintenance person out, just tell us it’s making a strange sound… and it’s just like Nickelback!

Oh Shit! Hit the E-Stop! It’s about to blow!

Trump Responds to Cohen “I Know You Are, But What Am I?”


Oh yeah baby, hold still I’m almost there…

La la land, VA – After dry-humping the American flag and rambling about political opponents for two hours at CPAC, Donald Trump directly responded to his former lawyer’s claim that he is “a racist, a conman and a cheat” by saying “I know you are but what am I?” Trump then dropped the mic as if this were a sick burn against Cohen and not the defense of a four-year-old child.

He continued this line of attack late into the night when he tweeted “You know what Michael, I’m rubber and your glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you. You better be careful because I’m going to send someone to kill your family.”

Congressional Republicans are still divided over whether or not the tweet constitutes a threat.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) described his goals in the hearings as being a protector of President Trump.

“I’m going to protect the president much better than I protected those boys who were molested when I was the assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State,” said Jordan. “I’ve looked the other way too often in my life to let this convicted liar get away with bad mouthing our beloved president.”

Jordan failed to mention that Trump has made 7,645 false or misleading claims over 710 days.

“We can’t trust anything Cohen says,” said Trump. “Except the part about the ‘no collusion’ with Russia. That part we can believe.”

“Basically,” said Rep Bob Gibbs (E-OH). “we can believe anything nice he says about Trump and ignore anything bad as lies.”

How Gibbs was able to issue this statement with his head firmly lodged in Trump’s rectum is still unknown.

Trump, whose presidency can best be described as inept, has shown America and the world why he had to file for bankruptcy six times despite inheriting millions of dollars from his father.

“I really miss the old days,” said Rep Adam Schiff (D-CA). “I remember thinking George W. Bush was the devil, but I never think that about Trump. He’s too dumb and immature to be Satan.”

“And look at that face,” added House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Whenever Satan is in movies he’s always hot like Al Pacino, Gabriel Byrne or young Marlon Brando. Trump is one KFC bucket away from Island of Dr. Moreau Brando.”

Republicans spent the rest of the day huddled together in horror that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was plotting to steal their hamburgers.