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Show Review

Awesome Fest – Day 1 – Dead To Me, DFMK, Horror Squad, & More in San Diego, CA

A "Hammerbombs" eye view of this Presidents' Day Holiday weekend music fest

Photo: Eden Kittiver

Awesome Fest is an experience. It is three days worth of insanely stacked shows for some, but for the veteran “Awesome Fester,” it is much more. This year was my second Awesome Fest, but my first time playing. The fest itself has grown a lot over the years, with the current festivities taking over five bars/venues and a record shop.

Here, I cover my disjointed and drunken perspective of Day 1. I’ll start with The Hammerbombs van (AKA the Dreamboat), which left the Bay Area around 10 PM on Thursday night. We only stopped for gas and to pick up our friend Danny in Los Angeles before zooming down the Coast.

The five of us rolled into San Diego around 12:30 PM. Exhausted and tired, we dropped off the van and our things with our buddy Michael, from the band Ash Williams. We napped. We napped hard and long and COMPLETELY missed the pre-show happy hour party at Live Wire. The bar apparently had killer DJ sets by two of the fest curators. But well…we were out cold. At 7 PM, we got a move on and headed out to eat burritos and catch first round of night shows.

Most of us parked ourselves at Soda Bar for the night. This lineup was on fire and we didn’t want to between the venues too much, despite the recharge we all got earlier that day. I grabbed a beer, my bandmate Matt ordered some booze filled drink that I can only assume was probably gross, and Ilya went into his “dark and stormy place” for the night, dragging two of our Ash Williams friends with him. Rob was smart and took it easy. Tons of hugs, jokes, and amazing music were to follow.

Night Dangers kicked off the show along with members of Turkish Techno rockin’ with them. We were then treated to a crazy back to back lineup of Allweather, Se Vende, Muscle Dungeon, Kira Jari, DFMK, Horror Squad, and Dead To Me.

Being from the Bay Area, I already love the hell out of Civil War Rust and The Lucky Eejits, who were playing at the other bar down the street. I felt bad missing them, but I saw both recently and I know I will get to see them again soon. I just love those guys! They “give me something to believe in about somebody’s blue eyes on the warm beaches of San Diego.”

Se Vende reminded me of home with their growly vocals and very “East Bay” sounding tunes. Also notable, I had previously heard a ton about how amazing Kira Jari is and they pretty much destroyed my brain in the best of ways.  I’m on the Kira Jari train now  100%.

Next up were two of my current faves, DFMK and Horror Squad. The bands broke in my knees for the weekend from slamming against things and people during both sets. I lost my second beer to the mosh pit gods at some point, but I can’t remember exactly when. It was almost gone anyway. Whatever. Worth it!

In an intoxicated flurry, I ran down to the other bar Space, skipping Dead To Me for Western Settings. The San Diego four-piece played a bunch of new material and threw in a few old goodies for the friends and die hard fans in the crowd. By the time their set was over, I was pretty wasted and needed to go back to our friend’s house to crash out. From what I heard, Dead To Me was insane and put on a great show as always. My bandmates emerged from the venue with weary smiles. We called a cab and headed home.

Armed with a camera, Eden took a ton of photos of her own Awesome Fest experience. It most definitely does not match up entirely with what I saw, but enjoy the gallery nonetheless.

There’s plenty more Awesome Fest coming up! Stay tuned for our Day 2 and Day 3 coverage later this week!

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