Louisville hardcore legend and Krazy Fest 2011 stage host Mark Brickey  took to the stage inside the cavernous cover of Expo Five just before 8PM Saturday night with the news.
“For the rest of the night, Krazy Fest is an entirely indoor festival!”
A ferocious and unanticipated rainstorm a few hours before pummeled the Fest’s outdoor set up to a point past quick recovery, and left several bands on Krazy Fest’s already tight schedule displaced. But instead of panic, the Krazy crew – aided by cooperative bands and a last-minute cancellation from late-night act Disembodied – were able to rearrange the evening’s schedule and still deliver a night of big punk rock, heavy on the reunions.
Young Pennsylvania post-rockers Title Fight – originally scheduled to play near the end of the night – took to the stage while daylight was still filtering into the back of the exposition center. “Thank God we don’t have to play after Hot Water Music and 7 Seconds now,” bass player Ned Russin quipped in between fast-paced, full crowd sing-alongs. Title Fight looks and sounds best when Ned is in control, his wide frame and big voice doing a better job to anchor the band on stage then co-singer Jamie Rhoden.
Krazy Fest 2011 really could be defined as a festival of reunions – a reunion of the city with the festival; a reunion of bands with live performance; a reunion of older fans with the bands they have loved and missed. Hot Water Music – a band that has been in various states of breaking up and reforming since 2006 – took to the stage Saturday with huge smiles and a crowd already in their palms before the first note was hit. They lapped through various hits and catalog songs and ended the set by bringing up members of Sunday night headliners – and long-time Hot Water Music friends and touring partners – Bouncing Souls to slam out a few final numbers and whip the crowd into a frenzy.
7 Seconds has been playing hardcore for 31 years- and front man Kevin Seconds has been in the band the entire time. Saturday night, he led the group’s current line-up through breakneck-speed yelling matches and stopped to banter with the crowd about the band’s history and longevity. “I got my AARP card in the mail last week,” he smiled mid-way through the set. “I swear to God. That really happened.” Within a few seconds, the 50-year-old was screaming like he was half his age, charging through another slam-dancing anthem and later closed the set with a surprisingly straight-forward cover of 80’s radio hit “99 Red Balloons.”
Boston’s noise-and-atmosphere-heavy Cave In closed the evening with a loud and epic light show, long on noise and building tension, light on banter. Midway through the set, the band stopped to tune and made jokes about their unprofessionalism due to being another one of Krazy Fest’s acts who had not played in front of a live audience in quite some time.
Overall, Saturday night at Krazy Fest played like a class reunion for fans of music that many seem afraid might be forgotten. Few attendees were causing trouble or drinking heavily. And as the night wore on, it became noticeable that most were 25 or 30 years old at least – many having adapted their tattooed bodies to the business world or wearing wedding rings.
So what is the future of Krazy Fest? If it continues in this decade, will it become a nostalgia weekend and reunion excuse or a vital festival breaking as many bands as it brings back together?
Photos: Brian Eichenberger