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The day started out like a lot of others; I was getting high with the Dirty Boy known as Andrew. Working himself into a frenzy, he shouted some bad nonsense about "If you ain't a hoe get up out my trap!" It was jarring to say the least, but the man has good reefer, so what was I to do?
Right around then, Seth Earl Jacks, prominent local musician in cahoots with Malaska, Ampmother, and a few other devastating local acts including my own, and all-around madman, entered the room. I slapped him on the tummy in the interest of greeting. "You going to the show?" I asked.
His brow furrowed. "Which one?"
It was then that I remembered there were several happenings in the Northern Cali area at that time. NDN Giver, a spacial metal group with the power to destroy (while simultaneously having the sweetest lead singer to grace garages around town), was playing a show up in Oakland; I assumed that's where most of the scene would be, congregating around Nate's sweaty, shirtless bod.
"Not Sk8fest," I said. "Cardinalpalooza."
The lineup was promising. The day was hot. The drive was long. The beer was piss warm. And somehow Cardinalpalooza 2017 was a huge, whopping success. Despite one racist piece of shit showing up (we were in Patterson, after all) eliciting cries of "Fuck Donald Trump" and "Fuck a Nazi" from people in the crowd, including myself, the show went off without a hitch.
I showed up late to the first band. You can blame the Dirty Boy for that. From what I had heard it was going to be their first show, and by God I'd missed it. Major shout-out to the Miss-Outs (who I ironically enough had missed out on), I heard they played a rockin' set. Drop them a like on the Facebooks if you can.
I sprinted to my car to chug the rest of my lukewarm Miller High Life, and sped off toward the gas station for one of those truly fucking awful pre-packaged 7-11 sandwiches and a few gallons of gas; it was going to be a long day. During this time, Seth informed me that he would be pulling up with the big red beast Michael James Byerly, guitarist for the indie rock group Ampmother. He texted, "Yo, grab me a BIG ASS WATER." He was seeing into the future, mind you; the day was hot and was only going to get hotter.
I scarfed the sandwich down, bolting around dusty corners back to Cardinalpalooza. As I drug my feet through the dirt and wiped my sweaty brow, I could hear the sounds of washed out beach punk drifting between palm trees toward my car; Paper Space was on. I lit a cigarette, pulled my camera bag tight over my shoulder, and dashed forward.
Playing classics such as "I'm Glad" and "Team", Paper Space absolutely stunned everyone watching. It's pretty obvious they've been working on their songs quite a bit; bassist Miles Ishmael nailed every note with the sharpness of a saws-all. Make sure you check out "Fireboy", their latest release through Ronald Records. While lead singer/guitarist Max Basso informed me they don't have shirts at the moment, he did clue me in as to the mysterious nature of the song "Toad", and the hidden meanings in its deeply enigmatic lyrics. Way to go, PSpace.
You can check out Paper Space's Bandcamp page here!
Immediately after Paper Space was drummer Kurt Wars's very spaced out and slowed down band Sloome (named Gloome just for the sake of Cardinalpalooza), in which he plays lead guitar and does lead vocals. Blasting the crowd with both nostalgia and droning bouts of noisey goodness, the band jammed through fan favorites such as "Twirling Round and Round" and (my personal favorite song by the group) "It Tastes Like Honey, But Doesn't Look Like Honey", as well as occasionally breaking down into impromptu blues grooves that shattered and shook bones all throughout the room. Another great performance from the Sloomeburgers. You can listen to the band's debut EP "I Wish You Twice as Much" on Spotify now.
You can check out Sloome's Bandcamp page here!
By this point in the day, the master Seth the Ganj had appeared with both a 12-pack of a mysterious IPA and a bottle of Jameson (the preferred drink of the fiery red dong known as MJB) and I was well and truly fucked. The next band was No Fiona, yet another group to feature Kurt Wars on both guitar and vocals. Admittedly I'd gotten lazy after a few shots from the bottle and never quite snagged a photo of the band that I could be proud of, but rest assured, the crowd was going nuts. Problem Dog lead vocalist/guitarist Eric Green leaned back and shoved several people (including myself) into the pit, sending beers flying and snagging cheers and jeers from onlookers. For anyone who hasn't seen them before, No Fiona's guitar tone is absolutely crushing; nothing escapes the grasp of the overdrive. A solid performance all around.
Next up was Problem Dog, pop punk legends from Oakdale. Self-described "downer punks", these guys never fail to put on a great show. The last time I'd had the pleasure of seeing them was in the exact same spot on New Year's Eve 2016, where, funnily enough, Kurt Wars was filling in on drums. Eric Green's sharp, glassy vocals pierce most people's hearts at one point or another; letting the music chug and slug behind him, he belts and berates. It is said that during his spare time Mr. Green grows things in his backyard (tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli and the like), but who knew one of those things was a sense of despair and nostalgia communicable only through music? As one might say, "I keep trying to drown my sorrows away, but it seems they know how to swim." Listen to their newest release "EP2" on Spotify now.
You can check out Problem Dog's Bandcamp page here!
As the sun was going down and everybody's buzz was coming up, beer pong championships were starting up in a nearby barn, with people gathered in circles outside, chainsmoking, as this crowd is wont to do at its shows. Trap music was bouncing around the fields, to and fro off of mountains, making my head absolutely spin. I thought I was going to vomit, when suddenly an A chord pierced the Patterson farmland; Cardinal was about to begin.
Cardinal presented a sound unique to many others on the lineup; a metalish punk blend awash with classic rock sensibilities. A relatively new band, they've been staking ground and kicking ass up and down California for the past while, appearing at both the New Year's Eve show last year and BandStand 2017. Drop them a like on Facebook when you can, they release videos of their music periodically and they're all very nice dudes.
Mourning Mountains was another strange one, an almost unclassifiable band. Indie influences were abound, as well emo flourishes and a tone that could knock your proverbial dick in the dirt. Experimental vocal ranges and guitar techniques were not something the band was uncomfortable with at all, and lead singer James Reedy's hair flipped and flopped in protest. They just released "Soda", a challenging album with apparent folk influences and a range of others. For fans of Minus the Bear and the like.
You can check out Mourning Mountain's Bandcamp page here!
Last on the lineup was Redshift Pilots; mind you, this was a band that, when they got on stage, bassist/vocalist for Paper Space, Miles Ishmael, leaned over, nudged me with their elbow, and said "You gotta watch this fuckin' set." Armed with a bassist playing parts so complicated he had to sit for them, Redshift Pilots delivered a legitimately flawless auditory experience. Drummer/keyboardist Kevin Jachetta not only won the Duncan Trussell lookalike contest as well as being the hottest person in the room, he also set the ambience just right with long, moaning notes from his MIDI before blasting into an incomprehensible drumbeat that even Chris Adler would have to stand back and scratch his head at.
I'm actually not sure where to start with this band. It's possible they drew some influence from bands such as Deafheaven and Agalloch, sporting sounds I would call the crossroads between shoegaze, groove metal, prog rock, and ambient noise. At one point guitarist/vocalist Thomas Jachetta and guitarist Ron Mason seemed to be dueling in a fingertapping solo shootout, as Kevin blasted away in polyrhythms meant only for the truest of prog masters. Bassist Deven Ennis held down the root of the song in just a frantic enough way to support the shaky soundscapes being created by the rest of the members, while simultaneously being an anchor to hold them to reality. A truly powerful performance to end the night that left most people stunned.
You can check out Redshift Pilot's Bandcamp page here!