Road Report: Plan-It-X FestSteve O - July 7, 2014
So I was lazy and put this off for too long, so let’s hope I remember something correctly about Plan-It-X Fest. But it was fucking awesome and a ton of fun, so let’s see how well this memory works about two weeks after the fact.
Friday was the only day to bring any rain, which occurred right when it was time to set up the tent. While that was a bummer, it did cause the temperature to drop, which was a plus. Friday was the short day, with bands starting at 5, and ending with a series of short films around 1 in the morning.
The Highlights: Ghost Mice (http://chrisclavin.bandcamp.com/album/all-we-got-it-each-other) played to a packed barn. If you’ve seen Ghost Mice before, you know they usually play to a packed living room. So with an exponentially larger crowd there were that many more punks to scream “Up the Punks.” It made for quite an experience. The rest of the Ghost Mice set were set-list standards, including “The Good Life,” which wasn’t played at either recent Chicago or DeKalb show. On the topic of singing along with Chris Clavin, Operation: Cliff Clavin (chrisclavin.bandcamp.com/album/out-of-control-discography-92-songs) played for the first time since 2004 (according to Chris), and closed with “All We Got Is Each Other,” resulting with another epic sing-along.
The Surprise: I saw Spoonboy (a.k.a. David Combs – http://spoonboy.bandcamp.com) a couple years ago play in a living room. He had everyone sit down and played a pretty chill set. So it was surprising to see Spoonboy do a full band set this time. (This was a bit of a trend over the weekend.) Also surprising was the number new songs he played, I didn’t see that coming. Either way, it was a great set featuring awesome songs like “Stab Yer Dad” and “Sexy Dreams.” Just as much fun electric as acoustic.
The Unknown Band You Gotta Hear: Rubrics (http://rubrics.bandcamp.com) are described by the PIX Fest guide as “A political crust pop band (think Crimpshrine meets Propagandhi) from Greenville, SC.” Sounds awesome, right? It sure as hell was and that description is spot on. They were the one of best bands of the day and definitely stood out as one of the heavier bands over the weekend. Don’t Panic, It’s A Distro picked up some of their 7”s, so if you want a copy get a hold of the Distro.
Saturday started at noon and went until Andrew Jackson Jihad (https://www.facebook.com/andrewjacksonjihad) finished up around two in the morning. In my opinion it was the most stacked day of the fest, at least in terms of bands whose description in the PIX Fest guide was intriguing enough to make me stand on my tired feet all day.
The Highlights: Balloons and streamers! Hey Kepi, let’s go! Kepi Ghoulie (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kepi-Ghoulie/184078495012), with the sisters of Dog Party (http://asianmanrecords.bandcamp.com/album/lost-control) playing guitar and drums, was nothing if not loads of fun. Goofy and catchy songs, with balloons and streamers being thrown around, tends to result in a great time, and this was no different. Kepi stepped offstage at the end for Dog Party to play an equally fantastic set. The two sisters, aged 18 and 16, play upbeat, catchy pop-punk, with a bit of a garage rock vibe. They made the Change the Rotation Best of the Year Bracket last year, yet surprisingly went down in Round 1. Another contender in that bracket was Lipstick Homicide (http://lipstickhomicide.bandcamp.com), who played a rocket fast set later in the night. Catchy, Ramones-esque pop punk, not only do Lipstick Homicide play great music, they’re a blast to watch play live as well.
The Surprise: This surprise counts also as one of the highlights, but I gotta have each category, so it gets entered here. Erik Petersen (of Mischief Brew – http://mischiefbrew.bandcamp.com), played a solo set on acoustic guitar. Much like Mischief Brew sets, it was short, but absolutely fucking fantastic. So far no surprises there. But I wouldn’t have expected such big mosh pits for one guy playing an acoustic guitar. Starting slow with “Stuff’s Weird,” the crowd slowly unleashed their energy, as songs like “Thanks Bastards” and “Every Town Will Celebrate” got people moving. The climax, just like Mischief Brew sets, came with “Roll Me Through The Gates Of Hell.” A spectacular sing-along, the song also created the biggest pit and most crowd participation until headliner Andrew Jackson Jihad.
The Unknown Band You Gotta Hear: Bit of a theme here, as I’m drawing attention to the heavier bands of the weekend. Saturday’s was the most out of place, genre-wise, but ideologically fit in quite well. That would be local Bloomington band, Closet Burner (http://closetburner.bandcamp.com). Given the name, it’s clearly a queer-positive band, one of the many that blatantly fit that label over the weekend. Unlike the other folky or poppy punk bands though, Closet Burner is a powerviolence band. They were a blast, and exactly what you would expect. If that sounds like the kind of thing you’re interested in, you’ll probably enjoy it. Also (gotta give them a mention), check out Martha (http://marthadiy.bandcamp.com), the pop-punk band featuring both members of ONSIND.
While Saturday might have had a larger volume of interesting-sounding bands, Sunday featured some of the bands I was most excited to see (including Eric Ayotte, ONSIND, The Wild, Defiance, Ohio and Ramshackle Glory).
The Highlights: While ONSIND (http://onsind.bandcamp.com) played an amazing set, featuring a number of new songs (including the awesomely titled “God Hates Facts” and “Pokémon City Limits”), the highlight of Sunday clearly belongs to Defiance, Ohio (http://defianceohio.terrorware.com). They’ve been quite quiet lately, 2009 being the last time I saw them play. But they were back with a vengeance, with possibly the largest pits of the weekend, and definitely the most crowd involvement. This took the shape of stage divers and crowd surfers. To help prepare those in the front rows for stage divers, they instituted a policy along the lines of ‘bust-a-5-second-dance-move-before-you-dive,’ which was as awesome and hilarious as it sounds. It was also brilliant, as stage divers were a regular occurrence during the set and those up front could get prepared. With songs like “Condition 11:11,” “The List,” “Oh, Susquehanna!,” and “I Don’t Want Solidarity If It Means Holding Hands With You” taking their place in the set list, the massive crowd involvement shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The Surprise: Harry and the Potters (http://harryandthepotters.bandcamp.com). At Plan-It-X Fest. Yeah, sounds a little odd and a little out of place. It might sound that way, but it sure didn’t seem that way. They were great performers with loads of energy and had no difficulty in getting the mass of punks there as involved as they were for some of the more traditional bands. It made for an awesome, impressive, and absolutely hilarious set. Gerd Dembowski, of Germany, performed early in the day, telling stories, interspersed with short a cappella songs (just a couple of bars) and props. The props were mostly small toys set up on a table that would move around and make noise when wound up and added a creative and entertaining touch to his stories about European punk culture. Somnia (http://somniasomnia.bandcamp.com/releases), a new band featuring Spoonboy and Erica Freas (of RVIVR), were joined on stage by ONSIND and covered some pop song, that a surprisingly large number of people knew. A number of those who recognized it joined the band on stage to dance and sing-along. Definitely a surprise of the weekend.
The Unknown Band You Gotta Hear: One of my favorites of this whole folk punk thing is Eric Ayotte (http://ericayotte.bandcamp.com). He plays meaningful, heartfelt folk songs with that upbeat punk tempo. He’s also a super nice guy. The first half of his set he played with a full band, playing a number of songs off his new record (which, not incidentally, is a full band effort). The second half of the set was just him and his acoustic guitar, giving a nice balance to his set; a ‘best of both worlds effect.’ Once again, Don’t Panic has a bunch of his records, so if you like how it sounds, you can get your own copy. I can’t recommend him high enough; check his music out if you know what’s good for you.