I could rant infinitely about the cons of Comfest (would love to start with that website, seemingly created at the turn of the century), but can only comment on the clueless entertainment committee and their quixotic quest to make everyone in town happy. Sure it's a hard feat, but do any of you have the pulse on what's good and what goes well together? I've posited the idea for curated stages time and time again, and honestly think the variety would be even greater while the quality would increase tenfold. Get a Ron House Stage, a Rick Cautella stage, a Paul Brown stage, a Hot 107.5 stage. Get WOSU involved, the Other Paper, fuck, even let the Alive writers pick some bands. Ok, I'm ranting. Get a clue. Seek out the talent instead of wading through applications from the X-Rated Cowboys.
Regardless, if you cherry-picked through the deluge of horrid cover bands and "new wave" hippies (Psychedelic Horseshit TM), you were able to find some worthy Columbus bands taken from their natural habitat and displayed for all-agers (who never get to see this sort of thing) and old-agers (who never go to see this sort of thing). Not sure if I would theoretically want my five-year old high on whatever fumes John Whitzky and El Jesus de Magico were huffing, but they would have learned a great deal about doo-woop and police brutality through the seamless theatricals of Hugs and Kisses "breakthrough" performance.
The legendary Cheater Slicks provided the most awkward of these "out of body" experiences. Imagine their surprise when they were asked to play the Bozo Stage (ugh, change that name pronto) at 2 PM in some blistering sun. My brother has always remarked Tom Shannon is the "greatest bummer in the world" (a compliment) and seeing him sweat through some instantly classic garage burners from their recently released Walk into the Sea, was proof enough. Temperatures warped any chance at cohesion, it was more like a prolonged seizure in slow-motion, convulsions in reverse, cough, cough, cough.
Mike Rep and the Quotas (pictured above), on the other hand, embraced the family cook-out atmosphere. It was 1984 or 1994 or even 2004 all over again. They really fry the reverb without any oil down in Harrisburg, to the point that it sounded like a plane was constantly in take-off. Here's a guy who just loves to get up on his tree-stump and share his love of music with anyone who will listen.
Then again, "trying is pathetic," or so said Will Foster's t-shirt. The Guinea Worms were the weekend's MVPs. I've always adored Foster's ability to flip a repetitious three-chord chant into apocalyptic party rock. Slowly but surely, the Worms get better and better each time I see them. A long progression, but I'm thinking the pay off (a new 7" on CDR, a greatest hits of old material?) is well worth the wait.
I'm forgetting some things. Night of Pleasure are the only punk band in town worth noting. The Lindsay made sure everyone now knows their name, 'bout time if you ask me. And of course this guy....
My Comfest could have began and ended with Dead Sea's early Friday set. Somebody sign this band already. Scheduling snafus aside, Comfest tends to win back my heart every year. I'm much too tired to bitch.