Wednesday, July 28, 2010


This bands' fantastic folk album "Reservoir" has been played regularly between the turntable and the ipod since they last played
Missoula in October of 2009. Their calm, cool caress of sound with their pretty strings and flute combined with lead male vocalist Jeremy Faulkner's unique croon is a contrast to a lot of the loud, hard and fast blast of many other Total bands but their command is only slightly more subtle and no less powerful.

Previously of Moscow, ID, the band is no stranger to Missoula. Aside from the afore mentioned 2009 basement gig, Ah Holly Fam'ly has graced other lesser known local venues before their move to the big city of Portland, Oregon where they're currently hailing from. They're kicking things off at the Palace just shortly after our first ever Totaltini at the MAM so shuffle quickly from one venue to other and don't miss this terrific treat of a group. We think they're stellar.

If being from semi-rural Montana's a crime, then Dave "Davre" Martens is a guilty man. Dave's a native of Havre, Montana. Pride of the Hi-Line, Northcentral Montana's unofficial regional capitol. A real-deal Blue Pony, and it comes through at every turn. That the guys got more authentic rock and roller in him than redneck is a not-minor and beyond-strange semimiracle, perhaps owing to the guy's height or something. Havre and the Hi-Line is fertile land, and has in fact produced some of the state's most notable punks. Look at it by the numbers: Jeff Ament/Deranged Diction is from Big Sandy; Dave Parsons/Humpy/Sasshole/Nazgul/Juveniles: is from Havre. Matt Svendsen/Antidifrancos/Ass-End Offend/Nazgul/Squalora has roots in Loma. It's an isolated part of the state. Close to Canada, two Indian Reservations and the Bear's Paw mountains.

My theory is that in towns like Havre you've got the opportunity to settle down and figure out what you really like and don't like. It's not like a larger town where there were probably 29 kids at your high school who already knew about Steel Pole Bathtub (or some cultural analog).

Anyhow, thisv is getting dangerously close to quasi/faux sociology b.s. or something, and I think its point really ought to be that Dave's one of those local music heroes here in Missoula, having played with handfuls of people, probably most notably Rooster Sauce as the drummer, and it turns out the guys also a pretty excellent guitar player. Streetlight People is Dave, his buddy Fletcher and a bassist and drummer. They released one hell of a record about a year ago. It's called A Diving Man and there may be a copy somewhere to be had. It's got a rather hard pop vibe, not unlike the Kinks or Unrest, get's its thing done in less than thirty minutes and left me as a listener immediately wanting to replay the thing. Live it's the same deal.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

THE MISSOULA ART MUSEUM, PATTEE STREET, DOWNTON MISSOULA. Because we've all but wrapped up the slow release of our lineup, and have actually posted the TFIX schedule here on our website (right hand side there), we're going to take a minute to look at some of the spots and people and their businesses that help us make this thing possible. First up, it's the Missoula Art Museum ("MAM"). A vibrant place on all accounts, first as a Carnegie Library, the museum had a classically Roman via Pittsburgh facade. Then a couple years ago, after much raising of funds and planning, a nice modern addition was put on, and the museum's galery/office space went from not much to lots more in just about a yar. As fans of art, creativity and all things in between, it's been awesome for we Total Fest organizers to see the museum grow as a central part of Missoula's cultural life, with our very own Tom Dewar (Total Fest poster printer nonpareil) having shown work there, as well as tons of awesome local, regional and national artists. The folks who run the museum have the rare gifts of being both visionary and ambitious about bringing in art from elsewhere, but also to fostering a creative, arts-stoked Missoula/Western Montana communities.

The MAM folks do a monthly event called Artini, wherein they sneak preview new shows and open the doors in the evening, and allow for some alcohol enjoyment on premises. This year, Artini, or TotalTini as we're calling it will bring some punk rock to the MAM in the form of Abe Coley, Japanther, Fag Rag and Muhamadali. We'll start up first thing at about 6PM on Thursday, July 19 and welcome folks to Total Fest with a new venue in the family. We're excited about the partnership, and encourage Museum patrons to come and enjoy some more of what we've got on offer. More to come soon!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We're not sure about the relevance here, other than there seems to be some confusion that softrock legends Toto have something happening at Total Fest. It's not true, at all. The rumors are unfounded.

However, note on the right hand side of the screen that we've both got passes for sale and the full schedule (some changes coming) published. That is all.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

No matter what venue I’m at I have a certain habit of standing in the same spot for shows. I stand just outside the main gathering of people making sure I can see the entire stage while garnering a little personal space at the same time. The last couple of times I’ve seen Miss Lana Rebel I’ve stood in my normal spot, which is also a pretty good spot to survey my fellow patrons. Each time it never fails that I see people in front of me start to immediately chatter to each other with excited “damn, she is really good!”

Former bassist for the sludged induced math-metal outfit Last of the Juanitas, Miss Lana not only traded in the bass for the guitar but traded the Melvins for Lefty Frizell and Hank Williams. Miss Lana’s shift in style has resulted in some of the most honest, dobro filled, beautiful tunes that have a Pavlovian effect on me. When I hear Miss Lana Rebel strum her first chord my brain tells me I need whiskey and I need it quick. After a couple of songs that make me feel bad about anyone whoever did me wrong Miss Lana swings into one of her barn burning, stomp your feet tunes. Which should also be about the time the bottle is empty leaving me no choice but to throw it in the air and shoot it down with my six-shooter.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Denver's Night of Joy puts to shame most of the bands that are pigeon-holed as “post-punk” – a phrase that I'm still trying to comprehend. Are we really in need of recycling this category? Seriously, we'd be better served by jettisoning the entire “post” naming fetish. Given the list of bands that typically fall under the post-punk revival umbrella, it's border line insulting to brand a band with it. NoJ – Bree Davies (Teen Pass Out) and Valerie Franz – serves up some great pop power with strong emotive vocals, sitting somewhere between soothing and caterwauling, that challenge simple record store shelving. The energy is refreshing and oddly comforting. Quick, spidery and haunting, Night of Joy brings a bundle of honest, good time, tangible DIY rock. Look out Bro Rock, this shit is asking you to do something new.

Friday, July 9, 2010

When this August gets too hott and even the coldest ice cream won’t cool you down emerge yerself in the sweet sweet sound of Sugar Sugar Sugar.

Bellingham’s music scene sweethearts Sugar Sugar Sugar (whom I will henceforth refer to as SSS) are a three piece, one sugar for each member, fronted by two dudes who know how to rip and backed by one girl-b***h drummer who hits hard. SSS applied to Total Fest with an impressive Curriculum Vitae of bands and musicians they have played with over the years including but not limited to: Black Diamond Heavies, Pierced Arrows, Lozen, Helms Alee, The Trucks, Coconut Coolouts, Bugs, Yogoman Burning Band, The Narrows, and Lana Rebel of the Juanita Family. They are also talented enough to have played with members of The Stooges, The Minutemen, The Germs and Dead Moon. So we said “please, pour some sugar on us, your sexy blues songs and heart pumping beats are what we love to have at Total Fest”. … And it turns out hot sticky love is what they want to make you feel. They will be sure to give you the sounds of good lovin’ and hip swangin’ no matter if the lyrics break your heart or make you sweat.

Enough with the sweetness though, their sound is anything but. SSS serves you loud, hard blues tunes with an edge of grunge rock. SSS’s brand of sex-core (if I can call it that) is about more than getting some; it is about creating a corporeal experience in four dimensions.

Come to think of it, SSS may make you hotter than that melted ice cream cone so prepare to lose some layers and sweat Pabst profusely.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Errrr, speaking of things we're all kinds of fanned out on, howabout John Geek's bands/projects? Freakin' Triclops! somehow a band that did the heretofore unthinkably undoable and made punk rock and prog rock at the same time. It doesn't sound like it'd be a good idea, but when Triclops! did it, it was such a good thing. Back in '08, man, when Triclops! played Total Fest VII, their set blew more minds than really anthing that year. John made crowdsurfing work, even though the music wasn't exactly what you'd call "totally conducive" to that sort of thing.

Then of course you've got the mighty Fleshies, whose blown out, strained, desperate and hopeful (and participatory) punk rock made my Show of the Year List at least two years consecutively. No other band could have a dude in cop outfit, a guitar player named Mattowar and a usually naked, spastic but extremely on-point singer. Yeah, the Fleshies, man.

Going way, way back to the second half of the nineties you've also got John's awesome S.P.A.M. label, responsible for more expand-the-horizons-of-punk-to-include-total-outsiders than any label the Bay's had before or since. Dory Tourette and the Skirtheads? Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children McNuggets? The list goes on and on and on and on.

Now, roll forward to fall of 2009: I'd gotten a promo package from a Florida punk label called Bakery Outlet, and among the stuff they sent was an EP by a band called the Street Eaters. It didn't appear particularly special until I threw it into the car stereo. Once the dude started to sing (they're a two piece, bass and drums and both sing) I knew it was John, back, with his then girlfriend now wife, Megan. It's a nice combination of punk, cute, good and fun all at the same time. Yes, I'd be the first to raise some hackles at that description, so sample it for yourself. I don't want to damn this with faint praise or anything, let's just end by saying that Street Eaters rip.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


We at Total Fest’s mountaintop citadel-based headquarters have got a thing for one-person bands with plural names. It seems to be a winning formula. Well, actually all we can think of is Thrones... and we do like them. Missoula’s Shahs is Tom Helgerson, a transplant with a keyboard, sampler, baseball cap and a freaking fantastic knack for pulling sounds of thin air and turning them into music. It’s got a High Places-y vibe, or maybe even a warmer Suicide sort of vibe to it. But it’s really Tom’s baby and you can tell that by the spookiness, the dancing he does while playing, and seriously good time he has playing. Shahs is a band that makes songs that have more of a jaunty soundtrack vibe to them than a straight up song-only vibe. It’s an entrancing thing to witness.

Part of a two-man wave of relocated Midwesterners, the other half of which is Colin Johnson whose band is called Capricorn Vertical Slum, a Bob Pollard-styled one man rock band, Shahs and some other notable locals (Fag Rag, Skurfs, the Infernal Machine, Thug Nasties, Judgement Hammer) have busily been breathing life into Missoula’s underground rock scene for the past year or so. I first saw them at a local showcase deal at the Elks Lodge in the Fall, and was really blown away by the depth the stuff brings. I saw them about a week ago with Gay Beast and it was no less enthralling. I think you’ll dig it. We do.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Abe Coley’s oft casual but enlightening shows are something of a non-secquitur in the Missoula music scene. Abe has been known to blow unsuspecting minds, both in person and on stage, playing often in his homegrown venue the BSMT that has come to foster the attention of Missoula's misbegotten musical youth/nerds. Abe was last seen playing distorto-mega-guitar through an old fender bassman with strange dexterity, manipulating fuzzboxes and knobs to create an expanding and contracting sound much akin to the inner noise of one's own brain. Look for Abe to provide a great break from the usual gimmicks of the indie rock rat race, as his noisily picked of enveloping haze storms the Total Fest gates.

I thought artistic greatness died with Klaus Kinski, but I was wrong. Kinski the band carries on the family name in style and grace, albeit with slightly less weirdness, in their hard strum psychedelic dance music. In ’07 Seattle Wah’s Kinski released Down Below It’s Chaos to reviewers who eagerly lapped up the refined sounds of experimental rock like emaciated kittens. Time Out New York’s Mikael Wood said:“Kinski’s lengthy guitar jams are meticulously designed meditations on riff and groove in which each element contributes to an overall feeling of forward motion; few rock bands muster techno’s impassive determination as confidently as this one”.

Over here at Total Fest HQ the question “Hawkwind?” is tossed about regularly and Kinski formidably answered with the 2008 release of a 7” split with Bardo Pond-a tribute to one of our favorites, Hawkwind.

By using the Scientific Method to formulate noise hypotheses and to conduct sound experiments, Kinski has arrived at a solid theory of how music should be made, simultaneously allowing "geeking-out" over successful sound experiments to be cool. I promise that Science will have you feeling their live noise reverberating through your body and tickling those taboo places inside your pants.

…Now to wait patiently for the intimacy of a Total Fest stage and a musical Kinski experience that would make Werner Herzog proud.