The Good, The Bad and the Ugly -- F3F 7
Well, friends and cyber-neighbors...this year's fest is finally over and done with. By this point, we're all nursing our collective sunburns, black lungs and sore feet, reminiscing about the great things we experienced and feeling a little bummed about the ones we missed. Despite some snags this year (particularly on the first and last days), I had a truly great time, although I'm not sure if it was as good a time as I had last year...I'll have to ruminate on it some more. In the spirit of recapping a festival that was occasionally a chaotic swirl of sensory overload, I now present to you good ffffolks my list of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" at this year's F3F. This is, of course, only one guy's opinion, so take it all with a grain of salt. Here we go:
-- The music: Overall, the music was outstanding this year, lacking any Danzig-esque diva moments (that I saw) and packed with wall-to-wall sweaty, passionate performances. My picks for the best sets that I saw this year (in chronological order) were Superchunk (Nites), Bob Mould, Tomahawk, Run-D.M.C. ("Down With the King" was jaw-dropping), Seaweed (both sets), Devin, OFF!, PiL, Refused (my favorite set of the festival, hands-down), BMSR (Nites), Eugene Mirman (probably the best comedy set I've ever seen), Lagwagon (even after my phone incident) and Turbonegro (the part i saw, at least).
-- The friends: Getting to finally hang out with Hateyouhumans and Zombie313 (and their equally wonderful ladies) was definitely a highlight of the fest. Rather than complete strangers meeting for the first time, it felt like we were already good friends and I had a blast. Equally wonderful to run into MistaPP, even though I missed seeing him at the BMSR Nites show. Also got to talk to Logan.Rich for a few minutes, which was pretty swell. Love you guys and definitely enjoyed every minute we hung out.
-- The weather: Yeah, it was a little warm but it also didn't rain, which was my one big concern prior to the festival. When there was a breeze, it was beyond lovely. When there wasn't, I found shade where possible. Felt more like a nice summer day than a late-Fall one.
-- The security: At no point during the festival did I ever see security being bullies, jerks, what have you. My personal favorite moment was the security guard at the Black Stage rocking out and singing along to every Seaweed song: dude was a fan first and that warmed my heart. Kudos to the fest for picking the right folks for the job.
-- The crowd: Never saw a fight, didn't have any obnoxious drunks yakking my ear off during sets, never really saw any problems, despite how active some of the pits were. Great vibes all around.
-- My Nites Ranger package: Rocked the house! My gift card helped offset my finances that weekend and allowed me to fully enjoy myself without constantly checking my wallet. The ride to and from the Nites shows was also a blessing, saving me lots of walking and/or cab rides. No complaints on this!
-- The free water station: A life saver on more than one occasion and something that any/every festival should invest in.
-- Missing other board members: Super bummed that I didn't get to meet more of you. Was hoping to see Laura, Jesse, Inky, Tetsujin, Slyd, Beartrap and Tonignosis there. We definitely have to get together next time, guys!
-- My bee-sting: Got stung on the leg by a bee (or was it a really huge spider that my panicked eye turned into a bee?) about twenty minutes after getting to the fest on Friday. I've always been highly allergic to bees but, other than a super-painful, enflamed red spot, didn't seem to suffer any adverse affects. Since then, however, it hasn't really healed much, leading me to think it might not have been a bee...egads!
-- Losing my phone in the Lagwagon pit: This was a hugely crushing blow for me and kind of derailed the last couple hours of Sunday for me. Not only could I not contact my friends at the fest, I also lost my clock, several years worth of phone numbers and pictures of my two beloved cats when they were kittens. This may sound awfully silly but it was the equivalent of losing baby pictures of children (from my vantage point, at least). Due to my bummed-out attitude, I skipped the Fucked Up set and kind of half-assed the Turbonegro set. Not the way I wanted to end my weekend.
-- The sound issues: Several of the stages had some pretty massive sound issues this year. During X's set, I had a hard time discerning a lot of the songs, even though I have "Los Angeles" memorized front-to-back. Had I not already been familiar, I would have been in the dark.
-- Those disgusting pizza dildos: Ugh. Out of all the problems with PIP this year (my biggest being the fact that the seats were removed from the PIP decks...por que, F3F? This made no sense.), the hardest to swallow (literally) were the meals. The tacos on Day 2 were bad (the bfast ones were actually delicious) but those aforementioned turds and the sandwiches didn't do anyone any good.
-- The scheduling conflicts: Still bummed that I missed Converge, Earth, Surfer Blood, Starfucker and the Black Angels. I got to see most of what I wanted but missing these bands kind of stung.
-- Those bathrooms: Yeesh. I tried to will myself to have constipation all weekend. Due to all the beer I drank, however, I found myself having to pee on a pretty regular basis. None of the incidents was a whole lot of fun, let me tell ya.
All in all, this was a great experience, although this may be my last year rolling PIP (aside from the beer, which I got used to, I was really irritated by the viewing areas. They actually moved the Black one from the center to the side, for some reason. Since these were advertised as "new-and-improved," it was the one place where I felt truly ripped off. If anything, the viewing areas were worse than last year). Nonetheless, if Transmission continues to pull together this many amazing bands, there's no way I can stay away from F3F in the future. Hope y'all had a great time and everyone made it home safely!