Last Night: LiskFest @ Oak Canyon Ranch in Irvine

Last Night: Liskfest at Oak Canyon Ranch in Irvine on October 11,2008

Better Than: seeing a festival in the middle of summer.

Download: "Oi, To The World!" by the Vandals from their Myspace page


Hope, change, and unity were used as themes in hardcore music long before the current political candidates incorporated these ideas into their campaigns. A sense of community united the Liskfest as it was snatched from the jaws of cancellation by some last minutes investors. It was a picture perfect weather for a day of hardcore and punk.

Walter Schreifels (Vocals/Guitar) pulled double duty at Liskfest when he played in the afternoon with Rival Schools and would later play guitar for Gorilla Biscuits. Rival Schools ripped through their set by incorporating some new tracks such as "A Parts for B Actors".

Christian death metal may seem like an oxymoron but not according to Living Sacrifice. I will admit that "Local Vengeance Killing" did slay. Their fusion of metal and thrash stuck out on a day dominated by hardcore.

Orange County was well represented throughout the festival as Death By Stereo took the stage. Efrem Schulz (Vocals) was on the prowl verbally attacking the audience as well as the stage. I found their song "Emo Holocaust" to be particularly hilarious as they openly ridiculed Emo music.

New York took the stage in the form of H2O. "Nothing To Prove" is their latest album that took seven years in the making. Toby Morse (Vocals) proudly introduced his small son Max as a "Straight edge vegetarian not by his choice".

Local favorites Ignite mentioned a few causes such as Doctors without Borders in between their rapid-fire hardcore punk songs. "Let It Burn" started one of the many circle pits that would frequently reappear throughout the day. Metalcore reared its head in the form of Every Time I Die. "Ebolarama" was a kick to the face with its furious assault of guitars and drums. Most of the audience seemed to be more in tune with regular hardcore instead of the metal tinged fare.

Bleeding Through touched upon all genres including metal, hardcore, industrial and goth. Marta Peterson (Keyboards) gets the dual distinction of being the only keyboard player of the day along with being the only female artist on the main stage. I was able to decipher most of Brandan Schieppati's vocals on "Declaration" and "Orange County Blonde and Blue" but the task wasn't easy.

Strung Out and its astrolux-tattooed fans really ignited the Liskfest. "Reason To Believe" was fast and furious as Jason Cruz spat out the lyrics behind the blazing fretwork of Rob Ramos and Jake Kiley. Their thirty-minute time slot was criminally short.

You can't not help but laugh when the Vandals start up their antics. "Oi To The World!" was only the tip of the iceberg to their wild set. They were boasting mid-set that they sounded great despite not rehearsing. I would have to agree. Their cover of the Team America theme "America Fuck Yeah" seamlessly blended into their set. I don't think anyone will forget Warren Fitzgerald's guitar solo with a Hello Kitty guitar.

The barricades in front of the stage were wisely removed prior to Gorilla Biscuits. A parade of stage divers leapt into the crowd as Gorilla Biscuits worked through a twenty plus setlist covering most of their tunes from the classic album "Start Today". Anthony Civarelli (Vocals) proudly wore his Obama "Hope" shirt as he was frequently assisted on vocals by various stage invaders. It was a true hardcore show in that everyone was having a good time and watching out for each other.

With the Pennywise rumors shot down earlier this week, the Cro-Mags filled in and continued to wave the flag of New York hardcore. I only needed to hear "Malfunction" to exceed my maximum amount of hardcore music in one day. It was mentioned that Liskfest would be returning next year so they better get working on that Minor Threat reunion.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: I checked out the Rival Schools warm up show at the Echo in Los Angeles a few days ago.

Random Detail: Apparently Josh Freese from The Vandals had just flown in to play the show as he was on tour with Nine Inch Nails.

By The Way: It was mentioned they would get Uniform Choice to reform for next year's Liskfest.



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