Starting back in 2001, Chris Dodge/Slap A Ham Records started a 'zine consisting of only and everything short, fast, and loud, which ironically the name of the 'zine was titled SHORT, FAST + LOUD. After releasing a few issues, and the label throwing in the towel, Six Weeks Records picked up the 'zine right where it left off and consistently put out issues until it finally became 10 YEARS OLD! Because of this milestone anniversary, Six Weeks put on the first ever SHORT, FAST + LOUD FEST this past January 21st and 22nd at the legendary 924 Gilman Street in Berkeley, California. Not only did this two day power violence extravaganza happen, but Six Weeks also released an amazing compilation 10" to coincide with the 10th anniversary issue of the 'zine and it was released at this show!! Jeff and Athena (Six Weeks personnel) put a lot of work into creating a brutal weekend bash reminiscing of the days of Fiesta Grande. I was lucky enough to make it out for these shows and had such an amazing time seeing lots of old friends and meeting new ones from all over the world. So, I am here to bring you a little synopsis of how these shows went from my perspective. Thanks to everybody that took part in this fest and all of the bands that played!
THE DAY HAS COME!
After spending most of the morning trying to rack my brain together from the previous night's Iron Lung show in San Francisco, it was time to make way to Berkeley. Jahell, Scarrie, and I booked it over to Oakland to eat at what was probably the best vegan meal I have ever had. Souley Vegan is a vegan only soul food restaurant that blasts disco at high volumes and plays Soul Train on the television. This place could not get any better! I have never had southern fried tofu before, and this was THE SHIT! After dancing the Soul Train line out of there, we managed to hit Friday night rush hour traffic from Oakland to Berkeley. This took nearly an hour of sitting around waiting on the freeway, talking about how amazing the food was and how excited we were to rage WEST COAST POWER VIOLENCE style!
Being the true freaks we are, we pull up to the venue before everybody except the bands. We walked around, stood around and waiting for the doors to open. Yes it's true, we managed to be the first people in line for the show! This was working out perfect! We were retarded with excitement knowing that we were going to be the first people in! After buying Gilman membership cards and making it through the door finally, we bolt out the side door to grab a beer at the Pyramid Brewery across the street. (Well actually, I did all my record buying the instant I walked in so I wouldn't have to carry shit around all night.) The second we step outside, low and behold, DAN LILKER! The dude was a giant and I was utterly star struck. The last time I had seen him was at Milwaukee Metalfest in 1999, headbanging with this wasted chick to Cradle of Filth. Anyways, I head over to Pyramid for some beer and to hang with friends before it got loud. As always, I see Sonny from Saviors/Word Salad at the bar and the partying begins! After a bit of buzzing and schmoozing with the dudes in Brutal Truth, I head back over to the show.
First band up:
DRUNKEN HARDCORE - After meeting the singer, Eric, the night before, I knew I had to be sure to see this band. He came out to all of the Wasteoid shows in the Bay Area when we played the Speed Trials in 2010. After all that support, I made sure to check out this band. They played high-speed power violence in the vein of Crossed Out/Infest, but with more chaotic screaming vocals. You could tell they were ready to blast out a bunch of songs to a non-moshing crowd this early in the night. The singer managed to get the pit going himself as well and stage diving to their set the whole time. (Remember kids, there is NO stage diving at Gilman) DHC were a band of younger kids ready to prove to the other bands on the bill that they can rage just as hard!
IRON LUNG - I was really excited to see these guys. I had not seen them since the last time they were in Nebraska on 4th of July in 2007. Well, actually I had not seen them since the night before where I stood right at the front of the stage and managed to smash everything in my backpack including my ever-crucial sunglasses! Though, this set was much more polished and even more brutal from the night before. No in-between song banters and jokes, just non-stop brutality through the whole set, playing a range of songs throughout their entire career. They had some breakdowns where I swear the entire venue was headbanging. I was busy standing "backstage" in the Six Weeks merch section....which was really about 5 feet away from the stage.
(Intermission: much needed beer break and smoke party)
VOETSEK - After getting caught up in hanging with many small circle groups outside, it was time to head back in to see the almighty Voetsek. They had already started by the time I got back inside, so I didn't make it very close to the stage....which was fine. I had seen Voetsek many times before and it was nice watching from the back and being able to actually watch them instead of trying to figure out how to stand by the stage without getting my head fucking stepped on. Voetsek were in full form and seemed very happy to be playing. Amy was in top form and kept the crowd going the whole set, telling funny stories about her first trip to Gilman, which was actually her first train hopping experience as well. Punk huh? They blasted through a ton of songs, raging some manic thrash riffs to speed punk mayhem. I watched the last half of their set through some guy's video camera that kept yelling out to the band, which I think he really just wanted to hear himself on the video. Athena is the hottest thrasher around!
(back outside for more punk mingling and party favors! BAR FRIENDS!)
PLUTOCRACY - This was first time experience the ever-maniacal PLUTOCRACY. I was more than excited to finally get to see them live, especially after really getting to know them and their crew. Eli (Fall of the Bastards/Splatterhouse) was now on drums duties, which I must say, really stepped this band up a notch. That dude can blast away at anything on the drums and make it sound slick as shit. Famous New Mexico punker, Jason Crawford, made sick bandanas that read PLUTO-LOCO across them, and I was one of 20 to get one thanks to the beericade party going on at the brewery across the street. I was fucking feeling it for sure. The whole Doomryderz crew was in full effect (Snowman, Kalmex, Ramon Salcido, Stinkweed, H-Murder, Eons...), making this night a special "family" event. It was so fucking great to see all those guys. Plutocracy ran across some sampling troubles, but was well worth the wait. They started out with the guitars just INCREDIBLY FUCKING LOUD. I don't know if that's what they were really going for, but by this time of the night, they were the loudest fucking band so far. Rap samples, tweeking vocals, and feedback galore added to the long list of songs they played from their nearly 20 year existence of a band. Kalmex was in classic Pluto-form, stage diving on all the kids and going ballistic on the guitar. Stinkweed shaved his fucking eyebrows off and creeped the shit out of me. Managed to get their new lp 'Off The Pigs' standing out front chilling with the crew. That record absolutely kills! Spent the last half of their set hanging with Franko's Rosa and a baby. Never took my Pluto bandana off that night!
LACK OF INTEREST - I had not seen L.O.I. since Wasteoid opened for them at The Smell in Los Angeles 10 years ago. The legendary Chris Dodge was playing bass for them and that guy can do no wrong. I could tell that the crowd was excited to see them since NOBODY fucking left the room and the front of the stage was packed, let alone the whole venue was packed to the gills. I stood right behind the pit just in case I got a hair up my ass to mosh. I managed to just do a lot of fist pumping instead. I just about lost it when they played 'My Life'. Grandpa was manning the stage and I'm still kicking myself for not buying the Lack of Interest 'Grandpa' shirt. It was nice seeing this band play so many songs from their old records as well as new ones they had never played live. Their singer's voice and actually while performing makes it feel like he wants to rip your off of your shoulders and beat the shit out of your decapitated neck. Quite possibly the best set of the night? Still kicking myself in the ass for not talking to Bob of Interest either. Too many fucking people to even walk to the other side of the venue. HEY BOB, WHAT'S UP??
(shit Brutal Truth is next? Bar Friends circle formation outside! California sure has the dankest shit around! Also, I was standing around outside talking about Wasteoid and this kid next to me about shit his pants when he realized that I was in the band. "You guys were the only reason I went to Speed Trials last year" How random?...Dude totally made my night!!)
BRUTAL TRUTH - "STILL NOT LOUD ENOUGH, STILL NOT FAST ENOUGH!" Now, this was the band I had been waiting for all fucking night. I was feeling good, still working a beer buzz, and ready to headbang until my brains fell out. Hanging out with the Doomryderz crew "backstage", I met up with Marlon from KFJC (probably the sickest college radio station on the planet) and finally Brutal Truth had started. We both looked at each other in awe and amazement, probably smiling as wide as our heads would go, as I continued to headbang from this nearly hour long set of fast as shit grindcore. I had not seen this band since Milwaukee Metalfest in '99, so it was quite the pleasure to soak in as much Brutal Truth as I could handle. They had to have played about 50 songs. About half way through the set, Dan Lilker broke a string and asked for a bass to borrow. Athena from Voetsek seriously shot up from the merch table and walked on punker's heads to the other side of the venue to have the honor of Dan playing her bass. (well..so it seemed..haha) Scarrie and I laughed our asses off on that one...it was great...I would have done the exact same thing!! Brutal Truth definitely did not disappoint and played as if they had been on tour for the past year, precise and fucking perfect! It was really cool how they talked about how playing venues like that are fucking amazing and how you just don't come by places like Gilman anymore. I'm sure B.T. plays a lot of large sized venues/bars/fests and so on, but you just have to agree to the importance of venues like Gilman. They seemed to really be enjoying themselves! After their set I finally met the drummer of B.T., Rich Hoak. I had done an Accidental Therapy cassette compilation 10 years ago with his other band, Total Fucking Destruction, who seemed to just be starting around then. I used to order records off him and his label when I was in high school and when writing letters in the mail was still considered normal, so it was fucking amazing getting a chance to meet in person after all these years! KILL TREND SUICIDE! (Watched some drunk crusty get dragged out of the club!)
(Night 1 is over. The blood in my veins were boiling hot with grind! Bar Friends crew drove ride home in dance party fashion.)
Wow, I was definitely feeling rough today. All night standing room only party the night left me needing a day of relaxing out at Scarrie's place. Finally, we hit the road to head back over to Gilman. We managed to make it early, but we weren't anticipating being first in line this night. Gilman finally figured out how to get people in the show faster and not have a two-hour wait for entry. We checked into the venue and headed back over to Pyramid Brewery to have some pre-show drinks. As we sat around waiting for the show to start, we noticed a lot of police and ambulance lights next to the club. Supposedly some punker just got the shit beat out of him and taken away on a stretcher from the "parking lot" of Gilman. This was a bit of a worry because of the possibility of the cops shutting the show down.
Pyramid was definitely still the hotspot to catch all your favorite punk celebrities having beers. I managed to have a nice conversation with Slap A Ham/Spazz legend, Chris Dodge. I had not seen him in nearly 10 years, so I was a little star struck. I know, how dumb, but HOW FUCKING COOL!! I managed to get a really awesome picture of us and was proud that he remembered who I was. Punk points = +1 (Shout out to Pete Benumb!)
POPULATION REDUCTION - As I was hobnobbing with the celebrities, I missed the P.R. set. I have seen them before a few times and figured that I still have all night to see bands and I was having such a good time meeting and hanging out with so many different people, while also waiting for a couple more of my friends to show up for the night. Population Reduction is a two-piece bay area comical grind band.
PRETTY LITTLE FLOWER - Ok, sets are going super fast at this show and I missed about half of their performance. Walked back into the club to find a total packed house once again. PLF sounded brutal as always. I have seen these guys and played shows with them many times, so it was great seeing them play some of the most heaviest grindcore going on right now. They are never a disappointment. Finally found the "bearicade" basically standing right next to me. "Hey, let's go smoke this" and I was out. PLF is a crowd pleaser.
DESPISE YOU - Back in action and fully flexed for my first time seeing Despise You. I didn't know what to expect but song after song of sheer Los Angeles brutality. They started off the set going non-stop. They sounded exactly like they do on record, polished and to the point. Short songs belted out by the band and dual male/female singers. I was blown away by how tight they were as a band...couldn't stop watching Chris Dodge on bass duty. What can I say, I'm a fanatic. During the set I managed to hook up with my buddy Jorge and we shared some giant headbangs to end the set! Top Notch!
CAPITALIST CASUALTIES - "25 songs for 25 years!" I did not want to leave the venue because I wanted a front row slot for the most raging band of the weekend. I knew what I was getting myself into at this point and when I made it up to the stage, the room filled quick and it was tight fitting up front. Gilman is known for some raging pits, and this was definitely my time to pit it up!! C.C. started a relentless set of non-stop songs, hit after hit from their 25-year span as a band. Songs old and new ripped the crowd into shreds, making the band have the largest circle pit of the weekend. People were stage diving all over each other, just to even move anywhere. Shawn would bellow out scream after scream, getting the audience to sing along with him. It felt like the entire place was one giant pit. I had to show off my finest dance moves during the band's set and pitted it up getting smacked right in the face. Made my way back up to the front, put my foot on the stage and did my first ever Gilman stagedive. At this time, I get back into the pit and realize that my camera is fucking gone and my hat is nowhere to be seen. I scurried the pit to find my camera, freaking out of course, and never saw it again. There go all of my photos from this trip including all my celebrity moments. Pissed off, I get back into the pit while C.C. plays about 10 more songs and did one last dive to get my ass out the side door before I passed out. I have never felt so tired, sore, and out of breath while having the time of my life moshing to the O.G. West Coast Power Violence legends. Felt like I was going to puke, but it was well worth it. Capitalist Casualties were by far, the best band of the fest! It felt as if nothing could stop them that night and they were ready to prove how crucial this band is in the punk world. (Insanely bummed out about my camera!!!!)
FLAGITIOUS IDIOSYNCRASY IN THE DILAPIDATION - Japan's most brutal all female band came to SF+L to play their first ever West Coast show. (Wait...they have a dude on guitar now??) I made my way back into the club after taking a bit of a breather outside for a while. Met up with the Bar Friends outside in our usual circle spot hanging with Hash Thrash and chatting with local punkers and we find our spot stage left. The crowd was definitely ready to get pummeled and packed up against the stage. These tiny Japanese girls take stage; say a few words of thanks, then just blast out some of the sickest and toughest grindcore around. The singer, Makiko, was this adorable girl who could bellow out some of the sickest and lowest grunts to make most death metal bands hold their heads down in shame. I stood right next to the bass player who acted like she could do all of this with her eyes closed and still put on an extremely raging set. I loved when they would talk in between songs, being honestly happy and honored to be playing this fest, especially with so many West Coast Power Violence honchos watching. They would talk so sweet in broken English, then click to the next song and blow the place apart. Kids were walking on each other's heads just to get to the front and see this crushing band up close. I had never seen this band ever and was definitely blown away by how professional and tight they were. This band can do no wrong in my book. Japan must have grindcore flowing in their blood. This was by far the best Japanese band I have ever seen!!
(time for a break to cool off and get some liquids back in my body. so glad I had a snickers bar waiting for me in the car!!!....managed to hook up with Franko aka Ramon Salcido outside of the club and got the last copy of Plutocracy's 'Off The Pigs' lp....shit is hot!)
BASTARD NOISE - I had to get a good spot for the SKULL! They were the only band that didn't use the backline equipment set up for the show, so there was a lot of downtime between bands. Well, it was pretty normal for most shows, but the time between all the other bands were super short. People were getting antsy for the band to start and they played this noise sample for a while setting up their gear. This was the first Bay Area show with new singer, Aimee (from Progeria). You could tell that she was nervous and anxious to play while waiting for the band to sound check. Wood had been speaking so highly of the new lineup before the fest, so I knew that this was going to be more intense than I have ever seen B.N. (every time I have seen this band, they have played completely different sets) After some sound delays, they finally started and Aimee belted out some of the gnarliest screams. The vocals were so insanely loud at that point, that it was all you could hear, but that changed quickly. They played a slew of brand new material and I have to say, keeps getting better every time I hear this band. Wood slayed the bass in classic style, mouth moves and all, while Connell played the drums like a madman. Those string slides Wood does make the coolest fucking sounds and watching that dude play is so hypnotic. It is easy to get lost in watching them play, which makes headbanging difficult for the Skull. Gilman seemed to be having troubles with the stage sound and Wood didn't seemed pleased with the venue at that point, but honestly I couldn't really tell what was sounding bad, since they were so insanely loud in general. They seemed so well rehearsed that there was no way I was let down by any of their set. They played a good 45 minutes in not an hour. I felt like a kid again listening to their in between song rants and hearing Wood's voice made it seem like listening to old M.I.T.B. records in high school wondering just what the fuck this band is all about. Know I have the feeling and the love for the Skull that I never thought I would dream of. Corny, yes, but fuck it, I can help but be a total geek over Bastard Noise! Eric Wood is one of the sweetest dudes around. SKULL SERVANT FOR LIFE!
So, by the end of this night, I was totally wiped out. My emotions scurried throughout my body after having seen so many amazing bands and people. I was so hurt by losing my dumb camera, but yet I was having such a rush of exciting by this insane festival of power violence. My legs were so tired from standing all night that I had to get the hell out of there and begin reminiscing of SHORT, FAST + LOUD. Unfortunately, I only have pictures from my time at the beach, but I will always have the memory of this fest and the amazing 10" compilation record that released at this show. Wasteoid is more than honored to be part of that compilation and I encourage anybody to buy it. For those of you wondering, Bar Friends spent the next day layed out on the couch, and spent the remainder of the trip at the beach. VIVA POWER VIOLENCE!