6/25/09 Insubordination Fest, Baltimore, MD @ The Otto Bar
There is something that we do. We as in Delay. We make plans. The thoughts we have about these plans are not given the mileage they deserve. The stupid plans are then actions.
It was this method of decision making that led us to drive all the way to Baltimore, MD to play Insubordination Fest for a 23 minute set. Insub. Fest is 3 days of woah, oh, ohs and bubble gum pop punk hooks, usually 3 chords over and over. G, A, D. Queers shirts and Screeching Weasel tattoos are everywhere. My favorite part in the past 2 times we played was going nuts along with a bunch of other people for The Copyrights set.
We went on the trip in a station wagon that Austin, Amanda, and I bought off of Craig’s list for $800 in Orient, OH. We planned to all share it and use it for band or work related things. Then we realized it was kind of small. Then we realized it was hard to determine what it should and shouldn’t be used for and who gets it when. AND on this trip, we realized that the transmission is shit. 4 hours into the drive, sputters came and smoke breathed from under the hood. A something is wrong smell came through the vents. West Maryland’s mountains didn’t help a bit. We pulled off at a gas station with a lot of scary God promotion on hand painted signs. Not sure if it was the station’s or the near by house’s.
We had a transmission leak like the car was taking an oily pee, soaking the gravel lot in a growing spot under the car. We weren’t sure if we should turn home or find a place to fix it and drive on. Jesse smoked a cigarette. My stomach turned from the burning car smell. I was still shaking off the regrettable poisoning I gave my body the night before with alcohol. Austin was poking around under the hood. We all had to laugh at the misfortune. We gathered our spirits. They were bright and feeling resilient. It was just the 3 of us for the first time in a long time and once again we were enduring luck in all forms. We decided to do what we do best; keep on. We almost bought out the stations tran. fluid. We bought some gunky purple stuff too that was supposed to seal the leak so you could drive on which we later found out is horrible for your car. We filled er’ up and drove on.
An hour later, we repeated this ritual. On a dark stretch of highway, we had to pull over and fill up once again. We drove from truck stop to gas station to two Sheetz (my favorite gas station) where locals hung out and a girl kindly called her boyfriend to tell him about our plight. He knew it was the transmission. We needed a new seal. We were going to camp out in the car and find a service station in the morning. Then the leak slowed and we took our chances and hauled on through the night all the way to Baltimore to stay with friends. We made it after 13 hours. I tasted a hint of glory in it all as we crashed on the carpet around 3:42 am. I didn’t brush my teeth.
We rose early to service our car. Our spirits flickered. The only way to stoke them was pizza for breakfast. The family pizza joint we walked to from AAMCO was nice enough to throw a pie on for us at 10am. We got the seal and headed on our way.
Our close friends, The Max Levine Ensemble from the D.C area, met us at the Frisby House, a punk house/hostel in Baltimore. They had hyped doing a cover song together of God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll to Us by Kiss to end their set at the fest. It is rare that schemes such as this come together. This came together like it was prophesized. We learned the song in the basement, played it through twice, loaded equipment, and then went to Ottobar for the show we would both play. We went out to eat together and then sat in the gravel next to the “Bran Van”, doors open to let the ant infestation out. TMLE are some of my favorite people.
Ottobar is an oversized venue with an oversized stage. I felt exposed playing on it. Our set went alright. We had to pay attention to each other more since we were far apart. Big stages with PA’s and monitors are much harder to play than packed basements. Overall, it was a lack luster day with mediocre music. The company was good though and we got to see some friends. The high light was definitely The Max Levine Ensembles set. There is a little review of sorts I wrote with a little assistance from Spoonboy along with video at the bottom of this entry. Oh, another highlight sort of, was hearing from Austin and Jesse that Jon Weiner (Dopamines) stood a top The Jetty Boy’s tour van and took a shit right down the front of it. The bar was unhappy about this. We are still waiting for $50 for playing which doesn’t cover a thing. I’ll thank the greedy bands with absurd guarantees for that. A lo-light, more so than car trouble, was seeing/hearing by default, Teenage Bottle Rocket play the same song for more than an hour.
The drive home in our beige 91’ ford Taurus station wagon named Blanch, like the Golden Girl, started off fine. Then the seal didn’t hold. It seemed expected once it happened. We rode it out as the leak gained it’s strength back on the road. Luckily, we made it all the way home and got free service at Columbus’ AAMCO location the next day. Warranty’s occasionally do work out. Does the human heart have a warranty? I’d like to think I won’t ever need one. I think this one will hold up fine.
* this was meant for punk news dot org, but they did not post it. what the heck?
THE MAX LEVINE ENSEMBLE RELEASES “SPLIT 7” WITH “BEN WEASEL;” SLAMS LEGENDARY POP PUNK FRONT MAN AT INSUBORDINATION FEST.
To be wronged as a punk is to want revenge. It’s in our nature. It travels in our sweat down our legs and soaks the crummy sneakers we wear. But precise and praise worthy vengeance is rare. It takes poise and the ability to make people say,
“I can’t believe they took this shit that far.”
Nearly a year after Ben Weasel launched a verbal attack on The Max Levine Ensemble during a broadcast of “Weasel Radio,” the D.C political pop-punk trio finally retaliated at Insubordination Fest Pre-Show, June 25th 2009. Kool-Aid sweet vengeance splashed all over me as I was lucky enough to watch TMLE give the most fun and slanderous performance of the fest.
The band opened with a sample from said radio show of Ben Weasel saying, “The Max Levine Ensemble, if that band were a horse, I’d shoot it,” and then flawlessly tore through a medley of Screeching Weasel songs. A moment of collective realization swept over the crowd and we were all in on it. TMLE fans, Weasel worshippers that would buy a record of him farting on a 7” (every color vinyl pressed), and summer punx with jean shorts cut extra high, were one in the same; slam dancing and singing along until exhaustion. After the crowd had been given a healthy rocking, a second sample of Weasel’s voice was played:
My worst nightmare is to find somebody that likes that band and also likes
my stuff, because then immediately, immediately, I’m going to
start questioning myself and asking myself what am I doing wrong??
Well, Ben Weasel’s nightmare is a reality because that was almost everyone at the fest; except my brother who has never owned a Screeching Weasel CD (he really should) but owns the TMLE discography. The retort of two hundred pop punkers singing along to The Max Levine Ensemble playing Ben Weasel’s material was only bolstered by how the band kept the crowd in a tangle as they ripped through their set of undeniably catchy and hyper-poppy originals. My brother knew more words at that point so he got more excited.
The only down time in the set came when The Max Levine Ensemble’s front man, Spoonboy, announced on the spot that they had released a surprise record entitled
“Our Split 7” with Ben Weasel.” Vinyl ain’t cheap friends. Seeing Spoonboy hold up 7” proof that they seriously were releasing some type of split with Ben Weasel, cemented my undying respect for TMLE. Their new song appropriately titled “Ben Weasel Thinks We Suck” followed the spontaneous release of this controversial 7”. A little research on the <a
Bored<a> yielded the following information:
Less than a year ago, Ben Weasel shocked the air waves with his over ten
minute tirade against the Max Levine Ensemble, telling listeners of his
radio show “if that band was a horse, I’d shoot it.”
But now, an attempt at reconciliation has been made with the release of
the Max Levine Ensemble’s questionably consensual “split” 7″ “Ben Weasel.”
A limited hand numbered pressing of 300 on black vinyl, with screen
printed covers in 5 different colors, each record also comes with a screen
For information on how to get your hands on a copy – write
The band finished their set to stadium rock applause only to later return for a circus tent style encore at the end of Delay’s set. Together, they gave an all-star finale cover of “God Gave Rock and Roll to You” by KISS. A guitar solo was played on a double neck guitar by a bearded punker in full Simmons make up. God gave Rock and Roll to us God Dammit, not just to pop punk gurus. It was a historic feeling to witness the sweeping kick aimed at Ben Weasel’s legs. I got my eager little hands on the “split” before they sold out in less than an hour. I could exhaust my fingers typing about it here, but you just need to have it. You need to celebrate it in it’s entirety. You need to hold it, let it hold you, and then applaud The Max Levine Ensemble for assisting Ben Weasel in shoving his foot into his own mouth. Pick one up and remember the value of saying a thoughtful yet old fashion punk idiom, “Fuck you too.”
*note* I knew about this 7″ prior to the show, as it was initially dreamed up in the Monster House living room. However, I didn’t know it really happened until about a week before the fest.