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.

 

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#top15onthe15th


I love a great list post. They’re easy to do and usually get a respectable number of views. So when I read about the Top 15 for September 2015 over at 1001albumsin10years I was ready to go. I immediately began compiling the list of my favorite albums of all time (at this particular moment). This was a massive undertaking that took me about the same amount of time as any other post.

And don’t try to argue with me about the order and/or inclusion/exclusion of any particular album. I used the highly scientific method of my own personal preferences so you can’t argue with me! The only condition I set was that I wouldn’t include two albums by the same band. Looking back, I wish I’d set a limit on years (It’s almost exclusively 1994 and 1996).

But enough preface – Let’s Go!

 

the offspring smash cover15 The Offspring Smash (1994) The crown jewel in the early 90’s punk revival.

14 Acid Bath Paegan Terrorism Tactics (1996) The crown jewel in southern-sludge-doom metal.

13 Pink Floyd The Wall  (1979) This was one of my favorite albums in high school. Does everyone go through a time in their lives when this album describes everything you feel about the world? It sure seems to touch on some pretty universal themes.

12 Queens of the Stone Age Songs For The Deaf (2002) Oddly enough, I’ve never been able to get into any QOTSA albums aside from this one. It’s just so great that all of their other work pales in comparison. It’s definitely one of those ‘lightning in a bottle’ albums.

11 Pantera The Great Southern Trendkill (1996) You know the big 4 of 80’s thrash metal? Fuck ’em. Pantera could chew them all up and spit them out. Trendkill makes this list because I find it to be the most cohesive of their albums and it contains Dimebag’s best solo, “Floods.”

 

10 Soundgarden Superunknown (1994)

9 Pearl Jam Ten (1991) – I can still remember the first time I heard this album. I’d already heard a lot of hullabaloo about Pearl Jam and after listening I just though ‘So that’s what all the fuss is about.’

8 Weezer S/T (The Blue Album) (1994)

Electric Larryland7 The Butthole Surfers Electric Larryland (1996) This album is the greatest mixture of noise rock and pop punk ever recorded. I did have Nirvana in this slot, but I think I like the Butthole Surfers better.

6 The Beatles S/T (The White Album) (1968) The Beatles should appear on every best of list. The trouble is that it’s extremely difficult to pick just one Beatles album to put on a best of list. I cheated by choosing the double album.

5 Elton John Tumbleweed Connection (1970) I find it extremely difficult to choose between this, Madman Across the Water and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. I could have easily put them all on this list, but I didn’t want it to just be a list of my favorite Elton John albums. This one wins because there are no songs on it that I don’t love. I don’t love “Indian Sunset” or “Gray Seal.”

4 Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral (1994) I was a really depressed teenager. This album helped me to make it through those dark years by letting me know I wasn’t alone in feeling the way I did.

Ramones_-_Ramones_cover3 The Ramones S/T (1976) The prototype for the greatest American rock and roll band… and for the thousands who would imitate them.

2 Alice in Chains Jar of Flies (1994) This album makes it onto this list for the same reason as The Downward Spiral, but appealed to a different part of depression.

 

1 Temple of the Dog S/T (1991) May not be the #1 album ever, but it’s definitely the best album from the 90’s. And probably the 80’s too.

 

So there’s my list. What do you think? I love this event and I’d be down to doing it every few years. Mainly just to see how these lists change. And the best part is that now I have a pretty cool list of albums to review in the near future.

Make sure you stop by Lebrain’s site as he did the heavy lifting and linked to all the sites of people participating in this event.

 

The Most HATED bands


I love doing list posts. They’re so easy! And I don’t have to think about them too much! The only bad thing is that I can’t think of enough lists to come up with.

Any suggestions?

Avril Lavigne/Green Day – Really, anyone who ever claims to be ‘Punk Rock’ is hated and called a poser. Because if there’s one thing punks hate more than authority, it’s punk.

Prince – I’m not sure why Prince gets such a bad rap. The dude is a musical genius.

U2 – I don’t really care for their music, but also don’t harbor the animosity most seem to have for them. Of course, I don’t have the new iPhone.

Juggalos 4 life.

Juggalos 4 life.

Miley Cyrus – I still stand by what I said about her in Most Overrated Bands: “We all hate her because she’s young, beautiful, rich and doesn’t have to wear clothes like the rest of us.”

Insane Clown Posse/Limp Bizkit – Personally, I find it extremely hard to seriously hate these bands. Or take them serious in any manner.

Creed – If there is anything worse than Christian Rock, it’s pseudo-Christian rock. It’s one thing to sell out, but I like to think Hell holds special terrors for rockers who tone down their message to attain super stardom.

Megadeth – I really like Megadeth’s music. But boy, has Dave Mustaine gone off the deep end. It just goes to show that if there’s one thing worse than Creed; it’s born-again Creed.

Marilyn Manson – Wait, no one hates Marilyn Manson anymore.

Whenever you're having a bad day say to yourself, "At least I'm not in Nickelback."

Whenever you’re having a bad day you can just say to yourself, “At least I’m not in Nickelback.”

Metallica – After the whole Napster, St. Anger and documentary where Lars sells that painting for more money than I’ll make in two life times I hate Metallica as much as Dave Mustaine does.

Guns and Roses

Nickelback – Nickelback sucks so bad even ISIS, al-Qaeda and Ebola won’t admit to listening to them.

The Summer Nationals Tour 2014


summernationalsThe Vandals, Pennywise, Bad Religion, The Offspring

Stage AE – Pittsburgh, PA

29 July 2014

While I can’t say the Summer Nationals tour started off without a hitch on Tuesday, I also can’t say that the small technical problems hindered the show in any way. It was fun, loud and not disappointing (as I expect the new Ninja Turtles movie will be).

 

Due to an unfamiliarity with the area and my friend’s infuriating habit of driving the speed limit we arrived just in time to see the Vandal’s finish up their cover of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” This didn’t bother me too much as I’m not really a fan of the Vandals. Their stuff is good, but all that really sticks out to me is the covers.

Pennywise 7292014We were discussing whether Pennywise took their name from the clown in Stephen King’s “It” when they took the stage and opened with a song about said antagonist. Pennywise is another band that I haven’t been able to get into due to the fact that all of their songs sound the same to me. However, they did do an awesome cover of “Blitzkrieg Bop” and a few of their originals make me want to explore them a bit more. I also feel inspired to write a song where the chorus consists solely of the letters ‘O’ and ‘H.’

Bad Religion_2014072My biggest problem with Bad Religion is that I’m not extremely familiar with their material. I know their songs better than I did when I saw them a few years ago, but still only well enough to recognize and sing along with the titles. It’s great to see the awesome rhythm section of Wackerman (is there any better name for a drummer?) and Bentley. I didn’t recognize Brian Baker at first, I think he lost a bit of weight. And newcomer Mike Dimkick did a good job replacing Greg Hetson. Of course, the best part is Greg Graffin, who is now quite bald and totally gray. He’s not your typical punk madman, but instead performs more like the college professor that he is during the off season.

Offspring_20140729I was hoping the crowd would clear out a little for the Offspring. After all, they’ve achieved massive success and according to many punk purists would be considered sell outs. Then I remembered how much all the jocks I hated in school liked them. But still they played an awesome set. It was great to see Smash performed in it’s entirety. I grew up listening to that album and it’s meant quite a lot to me over the years. It was probably my introduction to punk. I know every song and by the end my jaw was sore from singing along so much. Everyone at the venue was disappointed when the crowd didn’t go into the “drivers are rude…” part in “Bad Habit,” but after a bit of a prompt we did all sing along with “Stupid dumbshit goddamn mother fucker!” After Smash and “Intermission” they returned to the stage and played another set, mostly from Americana. I would have liked to have heard them play “Gone Away,” but other than that I really can’t complain about the songs they chose, at least they didn’t play “Hit That.”

I had fun, but there are a few gripes. Sage AE seems like a pretty cool place right in the shadow of Heinz field (I want to watch The Dark Knight Rises again to see if I can spot it), but why do they have to end the show at 11 pm? That just seems like a completely unreasonable time to end a rock show, even for the old farts we were there to see.

And I think being an open air theater caused the sound to diffuse away from the stage pretty quickly. As I age, I tend to like to avoid the mosh pits and crowd at the front of the stage, but at Stage AE, standing back left me without that kicked-in-the-face-by-rock feeling that makes me love live music. And while standing back allowed me plenty of space, the opportunity to people watch and check out cool t-shirts, it also bought the frustrating distractions of selfies, couples kissing and people walking around. I think next time I’ll have to suck it up and hop in the pit to get the experience I want. My ears weren’t even ringing by the end.

I have to say I got my moneys worth and had a good time, but I think if I’d been a little close to the stage my mind would have been blown.

I’d also like to give a shout out to the singer from Last Day’s Pay who I saw at the show. If you like the bands I saw here, you’ll probably like LDP. Give them a listen.

 

While this doesn’t exactly conform tom my series on 20-year-old albums, the fact that The Offspring are playing their 1994 breakthrough Smash and Bad Religion are celebrating 20 years since Stranger Than Fiction I’m going to include links to my other Platinum Anniversary Albums:

Part 1: Weezer – “The Blue Album”

Part 2 Soundgarden – Superunknown

 Part 3 Hole – Live Through This