Saturday, June 4, 2011

A handful of us Total Fest organizers made it to the sweltering mesquite hills of Austin last weekend to witness the power and glory of what may really be, the country's best music festival. It's called Chaos in Tejas and has a website that's similarly named. This was Chaos's 7th year, and it was a crusty, excellent blowout. There's nothing worse than reading a huge inventory of the bands I saw, but I mean, this thing was totally packed, and more than packed, curated. Actively.

Up top on my list was Universal Order of Armageddon, the 90s Baltimore group who gave me my first taste of really, really intense music, played perfectly. A UOA set was never much longer than 20 minutes, and they stayed true to form. Played everything they knew and got off the stage without and encore. UOA is one of those groups where you just kind of get enveloped by the hugeness of it.

Yeah, UOA was the nostalgic but-I-don't-care hit of the thing, but they were just the start of the greatness. Robert Collins' (Artimus Pyle, Fuckface, High on Crime) new band No Statik also broke my mind. Heavy ass hardcore, with a little bit of a southern gallop. Perdition from New York won the award for most absolutely fucking dangerous and killer. Lazy Dogs (ex-Annihilation Time dudes) also brought an awesome, 70s sort of gallop. Career Suicide closed things out for me and my brother. The in-betweeners were pretty wild too, especially Kriegshog from Tokyo, who do the wall of noise d-beat punk deal really incredibly. Isterismo, also Japanese, but who sing in Italian broke my mind twice. Capitalist Casualties were awesome sort of grindy punk. Kieltolaki got hosed on their sound mix, but remained excellently Finnish. See You in Hell from the Czech Republic also raged. From the more rock and roll side of things, my highlights are: Shellshag (playing TFX!), the Arrivals (also playing) and TV Ghost. Oh, and Omar Souleyman, the Syrian wedding-disco singer, who added the most fiber to the thing. No hardcore kids at that show, but it was officially tied in to the festival.

The thing ran pretty much like clockwork too. bands playing when they were supposed to, short fast and loud. It's awesome sometimes to see another festival that's as DIY as hell, and gives us something to aspire to. Good work, Chaos people.

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