Big Neck Fest
October 10, 2015
Empty Bottle - Chicago
9 pm Sharp
Sonny Vincent (The World)
Fire Retarded (Madison, WI)
Heavy Times (Chicago)
Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (DC)
Fatal Figures (Buffalo)
Danger Signs (Pittsburgh)
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Big Neck Fest Day 2 Review
Yes, there were two days to the festival. 7 bands on day 2!
Read more for the review....
All right, I finally got a good night’s sleep and woke up refreshed for once in Buffalo. Cory called me from his hotel room in downtown and we decided to start drinking at all the waterfront bars in Buffalo. There are only 4 apparently. But a good day of drinking and then we headed off to the show.
We had a packed night ahead of us, 7 bands. First thing as I walked in, bands were whining left and right about the schedule. What I hate the most. Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb stepped up to the plate and took one for the show and volunteered to close it. Originally, the Fleshy Mounds were to close, but their bassist had to work at 8 am on Saturday.
Up first were the Ravagers. This is Curt from Stop Worrying’s other band and we booked them on the show so Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb could play. Curt told me they were good, but I never got the chance to check them out before the show. They rolled in all dressed to rock n roll like they were Johnny Thunders. The lead singer came in and sneered at everybody before he hit the stage. But, hit it they did.
They kicked into a loud rocking fusion of punk rock, rock n roll, and yes, a bit of metal. And they were really friggin good. It was some nice snotty rock n roll and the lead singer, really gave out a lot of attitude to the crowd and the people hanging at the bar. Berating them for being lazy asses and not getting to the stage. It worked! He kept pulling them in. What was great was, that once he started with his attitude the band followed right behind and it came out in their music. Ass-kicking rock n roll. Curt on bass was amazing and fit right in with this band.
I was very much prepared to not be impressed by this band but found myself having a hell of a time and they write some great tunes. Sweet way to start off night two.
Next up were the Fleshy Mounds. 3 young girls who know how to play punk rock, drummer, bassist and lead guitar. Throw in a lead singer who dresses like a pedophile (I hope it was a schtick) and you have something very fun to watch.
The girls knew how to play and rocked. The lead guitarist was not only very cute, but kept throwing out some great licks. I was hoping to see one of the girls sing, because that would have been amazing if they not only could play but destroy it with vocals. The lead singer did a pretty good job though, he was up front entertaining the hell out of the crowd with his vocals and stage presence. Real good band to go see.
Now for Big Neck Bands. I was pretty excited to see what Dan from the Radiobeats had put together with the Activations and I was not disappointed. First off, Max the drummer from Nashville Pussy is in the band and right there you know good things are about to happen. So the Activations took the stage right at the beginning of the prime spot. I want to preface that I thought they would be exciting to see, but what I witnessed was just plain fantastic. I was blown away.
First off, I absolutely love their punk rock, it is an explosion of heavy 70’s guitar riffs along with speed and attitude. They got onstage and didn’t disappoint. I mean they blew through their set, barely stopping to take a breath. The crowd went nuts and so did I!
Two Guitarists and one bass stood up there in a straight line and proceeded to dole out a heavy sampling of punk rock with Dan just going nuts. Dan has this awesome style where he literally goes crazy on stage while playing, swinging his guitar around, throwing his body everywhere, but not missing a note. Its nuts and thrilling as hell to watch. John the bassist (plays in an awesome wrestling band) more than once got body slammed by Dan.
High speed balls to the wall punk rock with amazing 70’s riffs! – that is all I have to say.
Next up was my most anticipated band of the line, Pat from Activations even introduced them as, “Pittsburgh’s best band.” I really have been dying to see the Ttops’s since Pat sent me their demo. They play a sludgy, feedback drenched, aggressive punk rock in the vein of the Melvins on coke. Some may say a bit of Grunge, which I never hate. The also sport the drummer from one of Touch n Go’s famed bands, Don Caballero who is right now releasing their earliest recordings on Chunklet.
These three set up on stage and let me tell you. They scared me right away. Pat is this quiet guy in the back of the room and then he has in the band the drummer from Don Caballero (who we know can kill it already) but then add in their bassist who looked like he just stabbed somebody and was trying to get out of there before he was caught. Then they started playing and I was downright frightened.
Pat was laying out loud as hell guitar riffs with plenty of feeback, the drummer was drilling the crowd into a wall, and I was right, their bassist was nuts! He was all over the stage entertaining the hell out of us.
They were astounding. They played a set that may have rivaled the noise and loudness from Dinosaur jr.
Up next was Buffalo, NY’s own Afterbirth Tycoon. Jason has been knocking around Buffalo for many years playing with Afterbirth Tycoon and has certainly made quite a name for himself in this scene. Rob from Trailerpark Tornados and Soul Butchers also plays bass in the band and that can only be good.
There must have been a misstep because honestly it took them almost 40 minutes to set up which drove the late bands even later. The Afterbirth Tycoon is a band of solid musicians and they play a very nice brand of garage rock influenced by a lot of blues and a bit of a country underflavor. I love all the guys in this band and understand that they are great musicians, but its just not my cup of tea. They played a great set.
Up next were the Funs, whom Malik got to headline. He must love those two piece bands. They are another Chicago noise psyche outfit just like many of the bands that city is turning out these days. I liked their stage presence but without giving you a lecture on 2 man bands again, they were not very entertaining after a couple songs. Just not a fan of this type of music anymore. Being way over done.
Again the sad part is that I am a huge fan of Jesus and Mary Chain, A Place to Bury Strangers, Spacemen 3 and a slew of other feedback drenched rock. This just does not do it for me.
The final band of the night was absolutely the best band there, Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. I have never seen these guys and girl put on a bad show. They are fun as hell, funny as hell, balls to the wall blistering snot punk mixed with Sal’s more riff driven rock n roll. It is a great and entertaining as hell combination.
They stepped up to the plate when a few of the other bands were whining and said, “we will close out the night for Buffalo.” And I have to say, anyone who left before this band launched into their set is a FOOL.
Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb rocked harder than anyone who played before them. Mike was throwing out his attitude, Curt was chugging the bass right along, and Nate wouldn’t relent on the drums. Sal was in a rare talkative mode on the stage, giving out jokes between kick songs and guitar. Hands down best band of the night. Enough said.
(I love that they wrote "We Don't Practice")
Again, I want to thank Malik for all he did, including the best backstage banner ever created in a 2 hour notice!
If you were in Buffalo and did not come out for the show, I feel bad for you. You missed a hell of a rock n roll extravaganza.