Krazy Fest 2011: Pits, Stripper Poles And The Rapture

Posted by on May 25, 2011

This past weekend, Metal Insider was one of the sponsors of Krazy Fest, the long-dormant Louisville KY hardcore/punk/emo festival that reared it’s head after an eight-year absence. Metal Insider correspondent Tim Hager was there, and filed this report.

Yelling, fast strumming and non-stop bass drum volleys were all I heard while walking into Expo 5 in Louisville, KY. Immediately, I knew that this weekend-long event was going to live up to its name, Krazy Fest. The hardcore and punk festival was filled with 50 bands, full body tattoos, bad haircuts and a severe thunderstorm that acted as the Rapture. Having lived through it, all other festivals this year are going to have a tough time living up to this one.

On Friday morning the crowd was definitely small but that did not stop local band, Xerxes from having a high energy set. The crowd was not very familiar with the band, but that did not stop them from watching the young locals’ non-stop jump-kicks and white knuckle yelling. Following Xerxes’ set, legendary hardcore band Bane took the stage. Guitarist, Zach Jordan came on stage yelling “Come on you fuckers! They don’t call this Krazy Fest for nothing!!” As the first chords were strummed, the pit opened up, the crowd began crawling, and the gang vocals didn’t stop until the last chorus of “The Swan Song.” The songs that had the best response were “My Therapy,” “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda,” and “Can We Start Again.”

When By the Grace of God took the stage, the crowd broke out into an energy that hadn’t been seen all day. The hometown straight edge hardcore group attacked the stage and didn’t slow down for the entire performance. This set, by far, stuck out to me as the performance of the day and the crowd agreed, being more responsive than any other. As The Bled closed out the night, James Munoz commanded the crowd to “Fucking mosh for fucking Macho Man Randy Savage right goddamn now, mother fuckers,” during the final breakdown of “Red Wedding.” He then proceeded to smash a guitar in honor of the legendary wrestler. The majority of the crowd had left before that started to get ready for Against Me! but the ones who stayed were very happy they did.

As day two rolled around, Former Thieves took the small stage with a good-sized crowd but not much movement besides head bobbing. This stayed constant throughout the whole performance with no songs standing out as crowd favorites. Following Former Thieves, Defeater took the small stage starting their set off with the acoustic “I Don’t Mind,” which had a huge response of singalong fans. From there, the set definitely picked up energy by going straight into “Red, White and Blues,” “Blessed Burden,” and “Dear Father.” “Empty Glass” had the biggest crowd response and they closed out the set with “Prophet in Plain Clothes,” and “Cowardice” which were dedicated to dead friends and the crowd. Defeater made it clear how amazing the festival and people at the festival were. They said how it was such an honor to be playing with all of the bands on the line-up and how they have never felt more comfortable at a festival.

After crowd favorite, Make Do and Mend took the stage, La Dispute took the stage as the storm rolled in, collaborating with close friends Touche Amore. La Dispute’s performance was incredible and only got better as the set went on. When Touche Amore came on after La Dispute, there was another collaboration with LD from their new split, Searching For A Pulse/The Worth Of The World 7 inch. Jeremy Bolm couldn’t have put it better when he said “If the rapture did happen today, I can’t think of a better place I’d want to be. With all of my friends.” This was the vibe from all of the bands during the entire festival. Everybody was one.

While the storm continued, 7 Seconds took the stage, the legendary group had a huge response from the songs “We’re Gonna Fight,” “Out of Touch,” and “Here We Go Again, Kids!,” and their cover of “99 Red Balloons.” Since Disembodied had to bail out of the show due to flight issues, Cave In closed out the night. Surprisingly the crowd wasn’t very active during the rock group’s set. The best response was from the performance of “Big Riff,” but this was still not a very great reaction by the crowd. I was handed a flyer late in the day for a show that night. The show was Bane at a strip club called Paradise Island Lounge that was accidentally billed as “DANE” on the strip club’s outdoor marquee. This. Show. Was. Packed. It was by far the best unofficial Krazy Fest show complete with strippers (and fans) pole dancing! The surreal awesomeness of the show might have been best summed up by singer Aaron Bedard when he told the crowd “not only is this stage your stage, but this stripper pole is your stripper pole!”

Day 3 was the hottest of all weekend and it was obvious that the crowd was slowing down. This Is Hell started off the day with a set of mostly new songs. Travis told the crowd how they were playing mostly new songs and if you don’t like them “you can go fuck yourself!” The crowd was indeed not very into the newer tracks but any songs off of their album Sundowning got a huge response – especially from their last song “Permanence.” TIH’s stage presence was taken over by Rick’s jump-kicks and floor stomps which literally did not stop the entire time. I guess that’s why he was benching behind the van prior to the show. Coalesce had a solid performance after being on hiatus since last year. I had never seen Coalesce perform before Sunday but it was a pleasure to finally see them. I didn’t notice anyone  not watching them. Ensign had by far my favorite pit of the fest. Their set blew me away and I noticed that the pit was mostly filled with people working the event!

Overall, the festival was amazing. I have never been to a festival where the bands were walking around comfortably enjoying the performances as much (if not more) than the crowd was. Krazy Fest was a huge success and I cant wait to see what’s in store for 2012!

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