Gig Review: Best Sets From Fest

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FEST 15 was a glorious blur of tacos, sweat, and internet friends. These were some of our favorite sets:


Antarctigo Vespucci
The fine folks of team Antarctigo What’sGucci ripped another PERFECT set of TIMELESS HITS at their annual practice this year. I raise 5 mozzerella sticks to the sky and salute you John, Chris, Kevin and Jeff.
– Tommy –


Arms Aloft
Arms Aloft are Fest veterans and each year take another step up, proving that they’re here to stay. With a new record under their belts for the first time in five years, the reaction at their packed out set at The Wooly was electric. With fists in the air, throats red raw from screaming every word and arms around shoulders, the crowd hung off of every word. Arms Aloft have something to say, and we’d all be wise to listen. Check them out on their upcoming tour with The Falcon and Kyle Kinane, if it’s coming by you. You won’t regret it.
– Conor –


I was certain that nothing was going to keep me from seeing Floor, Drug Church, and Torche at this year’s FEST, and I had naturally assumed that one of those sets would end up being my favorite from the entire weekend. I was wrong.  I decided to check out Philly’s Creepoid, a band that I had casually listened to up until now. A blistering performance of “Old Tree” drew me to the front, where I remained for the entire set. The swirling of haunting vocals, pounding basslines, heated riffs, and constant fog from behind the drums made for a hypnotizing set that concluded with an explosion of sound and a kicked bass drum. If you enjoy sets that leave your jaw dropped, I highly recommend going out of your way to see Creepoid play ASAP.

Side note: Asking the crowd who was excited for the Eagles game that night was just an added bonus, as I had been especially anticipating that game for weeks, and it was wild to hear a band ask that question in Florida, even if they do reside in Philly.  I’m also not “above” smiling like a lunatic upon hearing “Fuck the Cowboys.”   With that, Creepoid successfully managed to crawl completely into my brain at FEST.
– Dan –


Everyone Leaves
Everyone Leaves FEST debut was an impressive powerhouse of sound. Smooth, dynamic, tugging at heartstrings I forgot I had at least since ’09, the works. Support this band always. Their new record “The Lonely End” absolutely rips.

Free Throw
Every time I see Free Throw, the crowd is somehow more pumped, more excited, more wild. This year at Fest was no different and the Nashville five-piece packed out Cowboys and treated us all to their perfect brand of emo. From the moment the first note rung out until the very last beat, there were kids crowd surfing and losing their shit to this band. With a new record coming out next year, be prepared to see Free Throw dominate. This band is doing something real special, and the connection they have with the audience is so, so palpable. Man, this band rules.
– Conor –

Hold Tight!
Richmond-favorite Hold Tight! played their final set forever in the last slot of the night at Rockey’s. They are the 1st band I ever saw in a house. They’ve always been there, and I was happy to see them go out with a bang.
– Tommy –


Just Friends
I almost always forget buffalo sauce. At FEST, I missed Just Friends, which was just as heartbreaking. When they swung through my town w/ PDaddy & Oso Oso a few days later, the error of my ways was crystal clear. Putting trumpets on anything makes it 312% better, but when your songs are this dank, the groove may never stop.

– Tommy –


The Menzingers
I saw the Menzingers play On The Impossible Past in full on Friday night. I’ve never experienced anything like the camaraderie I felt in that crowd. Every face was red screaming along, every shirt soaked with sweat and every inch of the floor was slick with PBR. There was a palpable energy I felt that night as it seemed everyone had been waiting for this day for too long.
– Anderson –

Museum Mouth
Museum Mouth is the burrito you order AFTER you’re already 3 appz deep – always satisfying, always a power move, and always spicy. For those who gathered ’round the hearth at Durty Nelly’s for some Incubus-worship at the altar of Karl, you know. For those that didn’t, bump their latest LP “Popcorn Fish Guinea Pig” right now.
– Tommy –

Prince Daddy & The Hyena
Of course I’m going to write about the Prince Daddy & The Hyena set. If you weren’t there, you sorta fucked up. Prince Daddy is always incredible to watch live, but fill the room with dedicated fans and best friends and you have something magical. This is what I wanted to see at Fest: reunited friendships to the tune of shredlords. Luckily, Prince Daddy isn’t going anywhere so if you ever have the chance to see them anywhere DO IT.
– Anderson –

Pup held it down, made me cry, inspired more crowdsurfers than any band I’ve seen since 2008, and generally won FEST after dropping a monster of a record earlier this year.
– Tommy –

Slingshot Dakota
Let me be clear: Slingshot Dakota was my favorite set of the weekend. In one fell swoop, Carly Comando & Tom Patterson embodied everything I love about punk rock and FEST itself. Blistering through many of their best tracks, some hometown guest vox by Mattie Jo Canino (of Latterman/RVIVR/Tender Defender), calling the patriarchy the fuck out in arguably the MOST trash venue in Gainesville (rest in shit Cowboys)? Slingshot is forever the one true happiness this world has to offer.

War on Women
War On Women is absolutely incendiary. They TORE UP The Wooly with one of the most ferocious, on-point sets I’ve ever had the good fortune to witness. The venue hit cap pretty quick, and the line to get in wrapped around 2 blocks when they started. If you don’t fuck with them, then I don’t fuck with you.
– Tommy –

Vasudeva were the only instrumental band at Fest, but that didn’t stop them playing one of the sets of the weekend. The three-piece from New Jersey create a wonderful blend of math rock with an undeniable groove and clear electronic influences thrown in for good measure. With some of the sickest drumming and most intricate guitar on show in Gainesville, Vasudeva proved that they’re one of the best in the scene at the minute. Also coming out with a new record next year, be sure to catch this band whenever you can. I dare you to try and not nod your head or grin like a dummy. It’s impossible.
– Conor –