Between the shows, the afterparty shows, the record swap, the last-minute afternoon shows and the early evening shows, Total Fest is turning into a 24-hour music and party palooza that can kill you. They should print a warning on the passes, maybe: “Remember to nap and drink water at some point.”
After Friday evenings’ adventures, I heroically got up and made it to the Big Dipper Record Swap, where I did my best to look surly, flipped through records to the guitar stylings of Abe Coley and accidentally cussed around children. The record swap is always an odd combination of pleasant, normal families and all us weird night creatures wearing giant shades to block out the Daystar. Add in some ice cream and pleasant tunes, and you have a recipe for a lovely afternoon.
At the swap, I heard there’d be a surprise show at the Lab, so I dropped off my only purchase, Prince’s Purple Rain LP (Awesome, right?), ran an errand and headed to the south side of town.
Seattle punks Big Eyes, powerviolence duo Iron Lung and Miami metal dudes Torche assembled for the Lab’s afternoon show.
Seeing a band in the daytime so soon after the show feels a bit odd, like the mornings when you wake up and get a good, hard look at the person you brought to bed with you. But unlike some questionable characters I, uh, have known, the bands were awesome the next day, too.
Weird metaphors aside, the headbanging for Iron Lung and Torche was much milder than the night before, reduced to mere head bobbing and the occasional half-serious fist pump. The bands played in the basement, which did not smell fabulous, and I opted for lounging outside the door, where I could sip a beer and hear the bands perfectly.
Bad Naked also made an appearance outside between acts. If you are not familiar with Bad Naked, the one-man acoustic performance act described by Duane Raider as “akin to any band on In The Red Records being taped rhythmically beating their instruments with a brick,” congratulations.
In a very special treat for everyone, Bad Naked literally got naked and, more alarmingly, danced around barefoot. I shudder even now thinking about the broken glass littering the dirt in the Lab’s backyard.
To the people on tour visiting Montana for the first time: yup: welcome to Missoula.
Anyhoo, my Best Band for Lounging Outside To Award goes to Torche, for making metal that inspires fierce pits by night yet is strangely pleasant to listen to by day. Calling a metal band “pleasant” is probably an insult, though almost anything seems like easy listening following after Iron Lung.
And now, kids, my part of this tale comes to an end, because I went to work for a few hours, dragged my butt to the Badlander, looked at a beer and realized I wanted to throw up and sleep very badly. It turns out going to all the daytime fun without a nap or dinner or coffee was a lousy idea, and my body basically told me to go to hell for the three days of partying I subjected it to.
I couldn’t get my party boner up for the last night, guys, I’m sorry.
But, I’m told Saturday night was rad, and the highlights for my buddies were the sludgy Gay Witch Abortion, fuzzed-out rock Tenement, noisy punk Walls and the always-bouncy TacocaT. After bar time, about five bands played the Lab for what sounds like an epic afterparty.
And thus Total Fest came to an end, with bountiful hangovers today, I suspect.
Though I feel bummed I couldn’t see as much as I wanted to, I’m still pretty pleased about how T-Fest went. More than just a bunch of bands playing music, it’s a glorious giant party with all my buddies. It felt that way even the first year I went, when I didn’t really know many people in town, which is a mark of how friendly the Missoula indie music community is. May Total Fest XII be even more rad!
So I’m spending today recuperating with tea, my mom’s zucchini bread and the Julia Child marathon on the PBS Create channel. Y’all are welcome to join me.
Kate Whittle is the copy editor at the Independent, and blogs daily about the local music scene at Missoula Punk News.