The Fest 7: On The Road With Sorry No Ferrari

Gainesville, FL. November 1st-2nd, 2008

The weekend before last, I rode along with Atlanta instrumental rockers Sorry No Ferrari for their performance at The Fest, a punk music festival in Gainesville, Florida. I woke up very early Saturday morning after a long Halloween night to ride along with the three fourths of the band I didn’t really know, but between naps I had plenty of conversation with them about things including music, the history of the band, and barbecue. This was actually the first show with their new drummer, Jonathan Balsamo, so there was lots of getting to know each other between the band as well. We were trying to get to The Fest in time to catch fellow ATLiens Benard, but we got there a few moments too late. So we went to the biggest venue of the fest, which was a bit smaller than Variety Playhouse, to catch Atom & His Package. It was a one-man-punk-band who seems to be a pretty big deal in the punk universe, but very much not my thing.

After that we headed to a tiny venue called 1982 to catch the local Gainesville band whose house we were staying at, Giuseppe. The venue had lots of very old gaming systems hooked up to the TVs on the bar, so I played some Dr. Mario and drink PBRs with the SNF folks for a bit. Giuseppe took the small stage and rocked the house:

After that I jumped around to different venues to see some shows, but didn’t see anything too special. So I joined SNF for some food and drinks and drunken music discussions/debates. The band I was most excited about catching down here was Pegasuses XL, an Athens outfit with ties to We Versus The Shark, and they did not disappoint. I’ve really been enjoying their album, The Antiphon, and I will have more on that in a future post, but here is some eye candy from their epic live set:

After that we took it back to the Giuseppe home base, which felt just like the many Atlanta college/band houses I’m all too familiar with, and had increasingly more intoxicated, incoherent conversations. The next day we walked down the street to have breakfast with some of the Giuseppe guys, and of course, more music talk. Two of my favourite things about this trip were the conversations and the food. Almost every single place I went to eat in Gainesville was phenomenally delicious. And it was really great to talk shop with people who are so knowledgeable about good music outside my little bubble.

Before Sorry No Ferrari performed in the late afternoon, I manage to catch two good shows back-to-back from Denton, TX’s Teenage Cool Kids and Athens’ Nana Grizol. Then it was time for SNF. Their new drummer seemed to fit in fine, as they started their set with a sparse crowd and had drawn in a packed house by the time they finished. Here is a 13 minute clip from their performance:

After some dinner, I caught Brooklyn’s Nakatomi Plaza, and I can’t believe I wasn’t familiar with these guys before now. They have been a band for a long time, and are now breaking up, so this was their last ever southeast show. Unfortunately, they seemed to be plagued by a gear curse as multiple equipment of theirs broke before they could play. Regardless of what stuff wasn’t working, they still did an amazing set and I’m glad I got to catch these guys before they end it.

After a long weekend, we headed back shortly after that and returned to the A. Everyone with Sorry No Ferrari were incredibly nice and Giuseppe were overly gracious hosts, and both were just all-around cool dudes. I didn’t recognize almost any of the line-up to this fest before I left so I was a bit skeptical about how much I would enjoy it, but I was exposed to so much quality music and I hope to come back for this one next year. After going to fest after fest over the years, it was refreshing to experience one that felt so unique compared to the rest. It reminded me of SXSW a bit, but so much smaller and DIY. Other than having to avoid a few moshpits, the vibe was nothing but fun times from these punk kids. Gainesville was such a fun town to visit, and I can’t wait to come back soon.

Some sonic discoveries from The Fest:

Nakatomi Plaza : Not Hopeless
Giuseppe : Green Steel
Teenage Cool Kids : Sleeper Hold
Benard : I Wish You Were A Penguin
Nana Grizol : Everything You Ever

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