Jersey Beat Music Fanzine

Year Of The Fist

Story and photos by Paul Silver

Well, I finally went and did it. I went to my first multi-day fest outside of San Diego. Nope, never been to The Fest. Sorry, Punk Rock Bowling hasn’t been on my radar. I prefer the smaller, more intimate fests, the ones that are DIY, done for the love of the music and the people involved.

This Is My Fest started life as a birthday show for one of the organizers, and eventually grew into the first TIM Fest. Now an annual event, I was cajoled into taking the time off work and making the trip up to Oakland for four days of punk rock camaraderie. While the East Bay doesn’t have the burritos (or even the pizza) of San Diego, there’s plenty of beer and plenty of good people, so I was looking forward to this adventure.

Let me ask you a question: How many music festivals have you gone to where you enjoyed every single band, and every single band killed it? None? I didn’t think so. But that was the case with This Is My Fest 3. I can honestly say I enjoyed every band. It speaks volumes about the Bay Area scene and about the TIM Fest organizers.

Civil War Rust

The first night was at a place called the Night Light. It’s a pretty small place with the main bar downstairs and a small room upstairs with a stage. This night’s shows were all upstairs. The one drawback? No beer taps, so it was bottled beer all night. The good news? Great bands! At first I thought the organizers made a mistake. They put the best band first! I had never heard of Year of the Fist before, but they killed it from the get go. And it didn’t let up from there, with great sets from every one of the seven bands that night. It was pretty awesome to see Civil War Rust play in front of a hometown audience, because I’m so used to seeing them when they’re on tour. Dead Dads played their second to last show, maybe ever, so that was a bittersweet moment. The one dark spot of the night was that, after playing a great set, Burn Burn Burn, on tour from Seattle, discovered that their van had been broken into. Thankfully their gear was left alone in favor of grabbing their backpacks full of their clothes, so it could have been worse. And thankfully, friends stepped up to donate money and replacement clothing during the rest of their tour.

United Defiance

Friday was another adventure. My friends, Jen and Ilya, provided a place for me to crash, and went to all the shows except Friday, because they had other things they needed to do that night. So I made my way on my own from the northern suburbs of Oakland to the Uptown Nightclub, where, again, another killer band opened the show. United Defiance play a sort of blend of old school hardcore punk and modern pop punk. The music is fast and loud, yet with a lot of pop in there, too. The large room at the Uptown had a door at the back that led to a small outdoor area, usually used by smokers, but this night serving as a second stage. This is how they managed to squeeze in eleven bands in one night, flipping back and forth between indoors and outdoors. Two of the organizers played with their respective bands this night: Kevin Skalba with False Positives and Tyler Colton with Stared Its. Every band was great, again, but special mention should be made of The Moans, from Sacramento, for their super-fast old school pop punk, Beast, for their throwback early post punk sounds, and Love Songs, who were just totally amazing. Arriving back at my lodgings around 2am, I found that my hosts had already returned and brought some friends with them. The party continued until after 4am when everybody passed out. That’s something that doesn’t happen when I just go home after the shows at Awesomefest!

Bastards of Young

Saturday began in the afternoon with four bands at local beer and burger spot The Annex. I was excited to see two of the touring bands who had come from Sacramento and Portland, Bastards of Young and Fools Rush. They’re part of the La Escalera family, and I always enjoy seeing them when they hit San Diego. I missed Bastards of Young at this year’s Awesomefest, so was especially glad to catch them at TIM Fest.

The night saw us move across the street to The Metro, a cavernous space that hosts much larger events that this small fest. Two stages were set up, and the crowd moved back and forth between the two all night. Twelve bands played as hard as they could to fill the dark void, and the crowd ate it all up. Computer Class used synths and drum machine, reminding me a bit of San Diego’s Stalins of Sound, in that respect, but these guys were much goofier, dressing up in onesie animal costumes and getting crazy on stage. This night I got to see some hometown favorites play outside San Diego for the first time. Caskitt focused on songs from their brand new album (which is amazing, by the way), and Western Settings played songs from their recently released “Old Pain” EP and their debut LP. Spanish Love Songs also made a strong impression on the East Bay crowd, just as they had on me when I first saw them last year. Headlining was Kepie Ghoulie, with full electric band, and they played possibly the best, most fun set I’ve ever seen from them.

Just Friends

Sunday, after visiting the punk mecca 924 Gilman St., we headed back to The Night Light, where twelve more bands closed out the weekend. Just Friends started things out, a last minute replacement for Daydream, who had to drop at the last minute. With trumpet and trombone in the band, along with guitar, bass, and drums, they were not a ska band, but definitely had a funk-like feel to their pop punk. Heartless Folk say that they’re too hardcore for the pop punk crowd but too poppy for the hardcore crowd, at least in the Bay Area. To me, though, they’re just right. LA friends Gentlemen Prefer Blood continue to be a favorite, and their live sets just keep getting stronger, and their tour mates, Denver’s Black Dots, also played a strong set. Decent Criminal is a band I saw at Awesomefest and raved about, and they were here, too, killing it with their unique blend of punk, doo-wop, three part harmonies, and edgy angularity. The Lucky Eejits and Cut Up were other favorites of the night, and Jay Nothington played a great solo acoustic set.

It’s the mark of a great festival when you’ve never heard of half the bands, but every one of them is great. This Is My Fest 3 was a great fest and a great time. Trick Coleman, Kevin Skalba, and Tyler Colton deserve much respect and gratitude for putting this thing on and getting me to come up for it. This fest is still young and growing, and hopefully more people will get the message and come out for it next year, too, because it isn’t just My Fest, it needs to be Everyone’s Fest!


Trick, Kevin, and Tyler

Dead Dads

Burn Burn Burn

False Positive

Stared Its


The Moans

Love Songs

Fools Rush

Computer Class

Spanish Love Songs

Western Settings


Kepi Ghoulie

Heartless Folk

Gentlemen Prefer Blood

Decent Criminal

Black Dots

Lucky Eejits

Jay Nothington

 is an independently published music fanzine covering punk, alternative, ska, techno and garage music, focusing on New Jersey and the Tri-State area. For the past 25 years, the Jersey Beat music fanzine has been the authority on the latest upcoming bands and a resource for all those interested in rock and roll.

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