The Quick and Dirty; A Review of The Wrecking Ball ATL 2016

Hey Mercedes at Wrecking Ball ATL 2016 photo by Tim Anderl

I attended The Wrecking Ball at Masquerade in Atlanta from August 13 to 14.  Here are my thoughts…

Milemarker

Initial Thoughts: Rad that they are covering ground from Frigid Forms Sell, which was just re-released. Where is Roby Newton and who is the new keys player?

Takeaways: Need a little more practice, but for nostalgia purposes, they’re great.

Microwave

Initial Thoughts: Love their split on SideOneDummy. Their set last year was a smidge better. They seem tired and admitted to driving through the night from Orlando (after a show with Pohgoh and Hey Mercedes) to be here.

Takeaways: Definitely still a fan, although I’d like to see them again when they are fresh.

Drug Church

Initial Thoughts: Love Patrick Kindlon. Great stage presence. Poked fun at the Georgia heat and told those in the crowd who were residents they were crazy for living there.

Takeaways: Want to see them again. Also, why didn’t they double up and have Self Defense Family play too?

Julliette Lewis and the Licks

Initial Thoughts: JL is wearing a rad Evil Knievel style jumpsuit. Way better than I thought they’d be.

Takeaways: Integrated into the festival way better than I thought they would. Would love to see them again.

Anti-Flag

Initial Thoughts: Mohawks, punk rhetoric (although with them it always seems genuine), jumping off drum risers, and a back drop with a militarized UAV on it.

Takeaways: My friends at my government job would hate this. The punk in me loves it.

The Menzingers

Initial Thoughts: Wish I had gotten here to see the whole set.

Takeaways: Someone got engaged during this set. If they aren’t over 30, it probably won’t last.  Cynical aren’t I?  There’s something to be said for young, punk love though and Menzingers are a great backdrop for that.

Touche Amore

Initial Thoughts: I’ve never seen them before so if this is par-for-course rather than the best set of their lives then I am doing something wrong.

Takeaways: This is the kind of band that will reunite for Wrecking Ball 2026.

Hey Mercedes

Initial Thoughts: Will this be as good as Braid’s set last year? The answer is yes.

Takeaways: Welcome back. Please stick around.

Piebald

Initial Thoughts: Why is my friend tapping everyone around us on their shoulders and telling them, “Hey, you’re part of it. Pass it on.” Why aren’t they passing it on. How old is that stage diver?

Takeaways: We were part of it. So was she. She was 55. First stage dive ever.

Deerhunter

Initial Thoughts: The singers hair is bleached and he is wearing khakis. Wow, they are boring.

Takeaways: What better set did I miss during this snooze fest.

The Julie Ruin

Initial Thoughts: Kathleen Hannah is rad. Dude playing the keys has a crazy tie-died shirt with dolphins and unicorns on it.

Takeaways: Kathleen Hannah is rad.

Drive Like Jehu

Initial Thoughts: Why is John Reis making a dude smell his guitar strap? Why is that dude dry heaving? Is my friend really tapping Travis from Piebald on the shoulder and telling him he’s part of it.

Takeaways: Legends for a good reason. And yes, my friend did. Not well received by Travis.

L7

Initial Thoughts: Saw them at Lollapalooza in the ’90s.

Takeaways. Don’t feel differently about them in 2016 than I did in the ’90s, which is indifferent. “Andres” was sort of rad though.


Bully

Initial Thoughts: Why are they playing so early? Are they covering PJ Harvey? This set is rad and I wish more people were here.

Takeaways: Must see a Bully headliner. Bold. Together. Rad.

Lemuria

Initial Thoughts: Don’t know much about them, but they are tight as a unit, and have pop hooks for days.

Takeaways: Memorable set, must mine back catalog.

Culture Abuse

Initial Thoughts: This is the kind of band that will bring accessibility issues to the forefront, which is awesome. They sound like Nirvana. Their drummer is a beast for this being his first show. What is the singer vaping on? Why is he telling people to kill cops when his cousin is a cop? What is he taking pictures of with that camera around his neck?

Takeaways: Great set made weird by the singer’s rhetoric and action on the “mouth fedora” (aka vape pen).

Pears

Initial Thoughts: These dudes are fierce, confrontational and awesome. Should I give the singer a shirt?

Takeaways: Must back-fill my iTunes with their albums. The singer doesn’t need a shirt. He’s doing just fine without my help.

Tigers Jaw

Initial Thoughts: Huge crowd. Do I care?

Takeaways: I care sort of.

The Promise Ring

Initial Thoughts: Who is that bass player and why does he look like he should be in Black Crowes? Is that Chris from Dashboard on the side of the stage? Why is Davey’s voice so strained.

Takeaways: For nostalgia purposes. Perfect. Best set ever. Not really.

Joyce Manor

Initial Thoughts: Huge crowd.

Takeaways: The hype is well deserved. Can’t wait for the fall release of Cody via Epitaph.

Potty Mouth

Initial Thoughts: Cute outfits. Super gracious. They say they like this more than Lollapalooza.

Takeaways: This festival is better than Lollapalooza for their crowd/genre. Their set was great.

American Football

Initial Thoughts: Complex, sound great, great crowd.

Takeaways: Still like Owen better, but am stoked for their forthcoming album, which will be out this fall via Polyvinyl.

Motion City Soundtrack

Initial Thoughts: Justin’s hair is still crazy. Man, they wrote amazing songs. So glad they are heavy on the Commit This to Memory cuts. The nod to Promise Ring prior to “Let’s Get Fucked Up And Die” was cool too.

Takeaways: Can’t wait to see them reunite for a future Wrecking Ball.

Dinosaur Jr.

J., Murph and dude from Folk Implosion rule. Is that “Freak Scene”? Is that “Just Like Heaven”? Is that “Start Choppin'”?

Takeaways: Still going strong. They should have headlined Saturday.

Thursday

Initial Thoughts: Welcome back. Set is heavy on the hits and their impact is certainly lasting and legacy well-deserved.

Takeaways: Stoked that kids who never saw them can see why they are a touchstone.

Quicksand

Initial Thoughts: Man, Walter is cool. These guys should be as big as Jane’s Addiction.

Takeaways: Glad I finally saw them.

The Wrecking Ball 2016

Initial Thoughts: Great venue, great staff, great lineup. Hot as balls outside. (Sunday Night) Where is the toilet paper?

Takeaways: Will be back. Can’t wait to see the new location. Will bring wet wipes in 2017 for when they run out of toilet paper.

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