With the tenth anniversary of THE FEST in the books, Altpress.com takes a look back and doles out prestigious Festie awards to the most deserving bands and attendees that won the weekend and really made Gainesville, Florida truly feel like summer in October:
BEST COSTUMES: THE FLATLINERS
Costumes weren't as prevalent at Fest this year—chalk it up to Halloween falling on the following Monday—but a few bands went ahead and dressed up anyway, including Toronto's the Flatliners, who hilariously donned oversized Terrance and Phillip masks (of South Park fame) and impressively kept them on for their entire set. Way to have a sense of humor (or is it humour?) about your Canadian homebase, fellas.
BEST COVER SONG: NONE MORE BLACK
Just when None More Black's set inside the Florida Theater of Gainesville couldn't get any sweatier, the band, whose love for metal seems to become more open with each album progression, busted out a massive cover of Metallica's “Damage Inc.” to a thousand or so stunned fans. NMB did the riffs and energy justice and undoubtedly left fans curious to hear more of these influences make their way into the band's new material, if any is in the works.
BEST MISFITS COVER SET: TV CASUALTY
Ted Leo brought his Misfits tribute band TV Casualty to Fest for the first time ever and impressively closed festivites at the Florida Theater of Gainesville on Friday night. Complete with a devil lock wig, tattered sleeveless black shirt and even some skeleton gloves, Leo, along with his band (which includes members of Ted Leo's real band the Pharmacists, Paint It Black and others), ran through a set of favorites that included “Astro Zombies,” “Hybrid Moments,” “Last Caress” and others, all while perfectly aping the guitar tones, bass lines and overall cadence of what a Misfits set was probably like in 1981. Put it this way: watching TV Casualty is very likely a far more realistic portrayal of the Misfits than whatever the actual Misfits are these days.
BEST COVER SET, NON-MISFITS: COMADRE AS AT THE DRIVE-IN
At the AP-sponsored Holiday Inn after party Sunday night, Comadre performed an immense twenty-minute tribute to At The Drive-In that had fans who had every reason to be completely exhausted instead throwing their fists in the air and screaming along. Only at the Fest is moshing is tolerated and encouraged inside a hotel ballroom.
BEST MERCH: BOMB THE MUSIC INDUSTRY!
In a weekend full of special designs and ridiculous imagery, Bomb The Music Industry! took the cake with their t-shirt that portrayed a skateboarding, Food Not Bombs-supporting police officer coupled with the headline: “Sometimes Cops Are Cool.” Indeed.
BEST STAGEDIVES: TOUCHE AMORE
Touche Amore packed Double Down Live on Friday night and in attendance were a few hundred of the Fest's most hardcore fans. Stagediving and crowdsurfing seem to come second nature to these kids as they went insane for the band's set and continuously crowded and hung on frontman Jeremy Bolm, who seemed more than happy to get close to those in the room. Those who say Fest kids only come out for pop-punk bands or Hot Water Music retreads clearly weren't around to witness that.
MOST TENACIOUS FANS: KID DYNAMITE
The Florida Theater of Gainesville has likely never been as packed as it was Friday night for Kid Dynamite's last-minute reunion set. The band ripped through all the old favorites, Jason Shevchuk ran around and screamed at the crowd like a madman, Dan Yemin hopped around and scowled a bunch, and the thousand or so folks in attendance from the front of the room all the way to the back hung on every moment.
BEST NEW VENUE: LOOSEY'S
This tiny bar adjacent to the now-closed Market St. Pub housed some of the most rousing sets of the weekend from Fest up-and-comers like Restorations, Junior Battles and Dikembe and also housed maybe the best beer selection of any venue in town (try the raspberry cider; it's refreshing and totally nutritous). With bands playing on the floor in a small, sweaty room, Loosey's had the feel of a DIY venue with the amenities of a top-notch club.
BEST DEBUT: RESTORATIONS
Speaking of Loosey's, it was at capacity Sunday night for Restorations' set, and the Philadelphia band feeded off the energy of the crowd, delivering an immense set heavy on their excellent self-titled debut released earlier this year. Look for them in a larger venue at Fest 11, as the buzz is sure to only grow.
BEST SET: NONE MORE BLACK
The best set of the Fest is always a huge debate that's often centered on personal opinion more than any other factor. However, None More Black played the best set at Fest due to a game crowd, a “special occasion” feel considering that the band doesn't tour regularly, a carefully-picked set list full of material from each of the band's releases, and tight musicianship—Jason Shevchuk, despite his reservations about his ability, has become a very talented guitarist, and Richard Minino is the best drummer NMB has had in their ranks since their inception. Add the aforementioned Metallica cover as well as shades of the band's incredibly impassioned Fest 5 performance, and it makes for the best set at the Fest 10. alt