September 5, 2014
by Bryne Yancey

Perusing the Fest schedule this early in the year is often a fool’s errand. Inevitably, bands will drop or change venues, time slots will be switched or shifted, or a small meteor will crash land directly in the middle of University Avenue, rendering the whole thing canceled due to loss of life. The Fest schedule is a fluid situation, but its allure cannot be denied or overstated. This is when the real nerddom begins to manifest itself.

So as we begin to plan for something that may very well change, sometimes at the last minute, let’s take a look at each day’s schedule as currently stands and try to see if there are any truly terrifying conflicts.

There’s Paint It Black performing from 8:40-9:20 at 8 Seconds and Lemuria performing from 8:20-9:00 outdoors at The Fest’s new large venue, the Bo Diddley Plaza. Two very different bands to be sure, but one is a barely active hardcore punk powerhouse well-known for their memorable Fest performances and another is a very active, wholly talented band who tour pretty regularly. I feel like you gotta go with Paint It Black here.

The Copyrights (6:20-7:00 at Bo Diddley Plaza) and Post Teens (6:40-7:20 at 8 Seconds) is a really tough one, though. Again, we’re dealing with two divergent bands, but one of them just released the best pop-punk album of 2014 by a mile (Report) and the other barely tours enough to give their spin on frenetic, heavy punk the audience it truly deserves. Somewhat begrudgingly, Post Teens by a nose.

Elsewhere, PUP and Direct Hit! are playing at essentially the same time; the former will be at the Wooly from 8:50-9:30 while the latter performs at Rockey’s from 8:50-9:20. This might come down less on preference and more on current location/inebriation level. The Wooly is a much larger space which means the PUP set might be easier to get into, but even that’s no guarantee when lines routinely snake around the blocks of downtown Gainesville all weekend. Toss up.

Spraynard (2:40-3:20 at 8 Seconds), Banner Pilot (2:30-3:10 at Bo Diddley Plaza) and Cayetana (2:50-3:20 at High Dive) is sure to create internal tension for a lot of the hazy-eyed, PBR-sweaty Festgoers on Saturday afternoon. Could be another toss up based on mitigating factors: What’s closer? How far can I stumble without vomiting at the feet of a UF professor out walking their dog? What’s the weather like? I would go Cayetana here based on personal preference and because Nervous Like Me is brilliant, but there’s no wrong answer.

Beach Slang (4:40-5:10 at Loosey’s) and Single Mothers (4:30-5:00 at the Atlantic) is tricky. Both venues are very small, and the Atlantic has a reputation for being impenetrable, even when only half-full, due to some sort of fire code. Single Mothers are one of the most interesting bands playing hardcore-tinged music today, and their debut LP Negative Qualities (out Oct. 7 on Hot Charity/XL) is likely to impress. Likewise, Beach Slang are the best new band of the year in the eyes of many, and perhaps hold a bit more of a curiosity factor for newcomers/attendees who haven’t seen them before based on the heaps of praise they’ve been receiving. Neither set will be easy to get into, so maybe take a look at the bands playing before them at each venue and choose based on that. Or, just go see a band you’ve never heard play elsewhere. Discovery is the best part of the Fest.

Also, no matter who is playing against Toys That Kill (5:40-6:20 at 8 Seconds), the answer is always Toys That Kill. They’re the best band ever.

By Sunday, most of you are likely to be so done after subsisting on little more than beer and pizza for three consecutive days that the idea of standing in line or hopping from venue to venue or talking or opening your eyes may be close to impossible. Hot Water Music (8:00-9:30 at Bo Diddley Plaza) will overlap with a lot of other good stuff due to the sheer length of their set; bands like Hard Girls (7:50-8:20 at High Dive), Jeff Rosenstock (8:40-9:10, also at High Dive), The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die (8:30-9:10 at 8 Seconds), and Circle Takes The Square (8:00-8:40 at the Wooly) are all playing at the same time. But who can possibly pass up on a 20th anniversary hometown set, sure to be chock full of the hits, from Hot Water Music? Not me, brother. Much Respect.

After HWM, how do you follow that up and close out your Fest weekend? You could see a rare show from reunited emo heavyweights Mineral (10:30-11:30 at 8 Seconds) or the Fest debut of the crazy, wild, weird and raucous Melvins (10:00-11:00 at the Wooly). Even though the Melvins are on the road almost year-round, even though the #emorevival seems to overtake everything (mostly for the good), the answer to any question involving Melvins is always, unequivocally, MELVINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Really though, it’s nearly impossible to not have a great time at The Fest no matter who you’re watching. It’s the best weekend/giant punk family reunion of the year, a place to reconvene with old friends, make new ones, see your favorite bands from your own scene play their best shows of the year, catch a glimpse of some legends in a unique setting, and discover new favorites. I can’t wait to go back, and hopefully, neither can you.