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
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
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.
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
Burn Burn Burn
Spanish Love Songs
Gentlemen Prefer Blood
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.