With SXSW having become Bonnaroo for douchebags and the economy being in the proverbial shitter, I've been left scrambling when it comes to economical festival opportunities. Luckily, Baltimore is close and I've got places to stay, so Insubordination Fest has been an easy go-to. There are worse ways to spend a couple days than taking in a truckload of the finest pop-punk franchises the genre has to offer. Dillinger 4 and The Dead Milkmen each headlined one of the nights, and the addition of Banner Pilot and The Arrivals made this junket that much more essential to attend.
So once the schedule was released, it came to light that the mighty Banner Pilot would be playing at 5 goddamn 50 in the afternoon on Friday. All well and good, save for the fact I was due to get into town later than that and that the set was only going to be twenty minutes. I opted for an earlier bus to buy myself more time, but by the time I posted up to get into Sonar, I could hear the BP kids finishing their last tune. A profound bummer, and furthermore, fuck I-95 traffic.
Wristband finally acquired, I strolled into the Sonar punk rock multi-plex and staked out some real estate for The Unlovables. As often happens, they were pretty great. It was another short and early set, but Hallie and the boys brought it, as per usual. No Archers Of Loaf cover in the set this time around, but I seem to remember a new track. Either way, pretty great. We need more live shows from the kids, although with Mikey Erg playing in a hundred bands currently, I'm not sure how they are going to handle these things. I'll keep you posted.
This year, there were as many as three stages going at any given time at Sonar. Next on the docket was a trip to the second stage to see California's The Secretions. They were definitely the most mohawk/dyed/vests with band colors of the bands over the weekend. Very California. They also backed up Wimpy from The Queers for his set later on in the Fest. Nice guys, and while not my favorite set of the Fest, they definitely seem worth checking out further.
Next up on the second stage was Ohio's The Dopamines, featuring Mikey Erg on guitar and marking Mike's third set of the weekend. Note that of the first nine bands that played, he played in three of them, a trend that was more the norm than the exception for the duration. I had never seen The Dopamines before, and frankly thought they were from NJ, but either way they were funny as hell in the D4 end of things and had some great tunes in the Midwestern punk tradition. I definitely need to get their records quick. Lots of beer was thrown, and there was a brief stage invasion by someone who was hell-bent on peeing on the band, but the set was pretty tight and the songs were really great. I'd love to see those guys at a basement show. I went back afterward and caught the end of the Underground Railroad To Candyland set, garnering my first disappointment of the evening. I wasn't familiar with their songs before, but they get a lot of Razorcake love, so I was excited to check them out. Sadly, I was less than impressed. Better luck next time.
The Copyrights were up next in the main room. I opted to make them my last band of the evening so I could attend to some hospitality issues, but they made for a more than adequate capper. Lots of hits and sing-a-longs, as well as a frisky crowd. Why people still care about Green Day when bands this good are around is beyond me, but I'm going to enjoy The Copyrights as much as I can while they are still playing the small rooms.
The Dead Milkmen and Boris The Sprinkler had both gotten line-ups back together to close the night, but both of those bands are enough of a toss-up that I opted for a free dinner and couple bottles of wine. With all respect to Norb, I think I made the right choice.
DAY ONE tally:
bands seen: 5
Mike Erg presence: 5 bands
Stay tuned for Day Two coverage tomorrow!