By Kendra Sheetz | Photos by Bambi Guthrie
They arrived by plane, by train, by bus and by car (or in my case, by all 4). Hundreds of pop punk enthusiasts took over Baltimore, Maryland on June 27th for Insubordination Fest 2013. Hosted by Insubordination Records, the 3 day event showcasing 41 bands took place at Ottobar, a multi-level bar. Each band played a 30 minute set while the crowd pogoed along and many drank themselves into an oblivion lasting all weekend.
This was my first Insub Fest. Having no basis of what to expect, I relied on the past experiences of my photographer for the trip, Bambi Guthrie. Her most memorable quote surfaced in the shape of a Facebook status reading “Dear Insub, please don’t give me alcohol poisoning this year. Thanks.” With that in mind, we walked into Ottobar to the Meeps already playing. We were running on punk time; apparently, the venue was not.
Next up were our buddies (and roommates for the weekend) Flamingo Nosebleed. I’ve reviewed these guys before so I’ll try to keep this short and not repeat myself. But Jake, Phil and Mike are three of the best guys. In fact, Jake interrupted the set to say hi to some friends from Florida that had just arrived. The boys play catchy Ramones style pop punk and do an impeccable job at it. They are not only audibly pleasing; they put on one hell of a live show. Flamingo’s new album comes out at the end of July on Kid Tested Records. See them live. Pick up the album. Support quality music made by quality dudes.
The next two hours were a blur of Trashkanistan, The Quarantines, Rational Anthem and continual trips to the bar. I should have recognized my level of intoxication when I ordered a rum and soda instead of a rum and Coke. Instead, I powered my way through the god awful concoction as Bambi and I chatted with Rookie Rochelle of the Isotopes. A few days before the fest started, it became common knowledge that both the Isotopes and the Deecracks would not be playing Insub due to problems with the Canadian/American border patrol. According to Rookie, some Isotope members were able to make it through but Evan October was not. Therefore, Rookie’s other band, the Young Rochelles, would be playing instead. I had never heard of them but, they were fun. Ramones core, power stances, matching striped t-shirts. I also ended up with some free merch; how can a girl not love that?
I knew we were entering a 5 band block of amazing music, so when the next band took stage and I didn’t recognize them I was concerned. It was the Slow Death… kind of. The line up consisted of Zack (Dear Landlord, OWTH), Josh Goldman (Raging Nathans, Rad Company), Mikey Erg! (everything) and of course Jesse Thorson. It was the most sober, coherent live versions of those song I have ever heard. After the set, the general consensus seemed to be that it was easily the best Slow Death set anyone had seen.
And the Mikey Erg! power hour did not end there. House Boat played to an extremely energetic and excited crowd. You could practically see the energy fluctuate between the band members and the crowd throughout the set. Mikey then remained onstage for a solo set. Although the mood was turned down from that of House Boat, he had the full attention of the room. Unlike with the other bands throughout the day, Mikey’s set was the only one in which every attendee in the venue moved down to the floor to watch. He is truly a legend in our scene and seeing him perform acoustically has always been a surreal experience for me.
All night I had been told how I just HAD to see the Steinways. Well, I fucked up. I spent the set at the bar, closing my tab. I could hear them. I watched them from afar. But, I was so inundated with music, a music overload really, that I couldn’t handle another full set. I do severely regret not watching them in retrospect, especially after seeing Bambi’s pictures.
Around 2, the venue spilled out into the parking lot where everyone slowly made their way to their vehicles. All 8 of us went back to our hotel where we drunkenly snuck half the guys into our “4 person” room. We partied. We passed out around 7AM. We somehow didn’t get kicked out of the hotel.
Check out photos from Day 1 here.
Read about Day 2 on the next page…