Spanning over three days, the Tankcrimes Brainsqueeze looked to deliver great live musical acts, tons of appealing punk/metal merchandise and most importantly, bring all of us crazy Tankcrimes loving fans together. I had the opportunity to attend the second day of the festival. The lineup for the night included Conquest For Death, Kicker, The Shrine, Impaled, Fucked Up, Negative Approach, and the insane party thrashing headliners, Municipal Waste.
Upon arriving at the Oakland Metropolitan Opera House an hour before the show, I noticed that the punk and metal fans were already waiting outside for the doors to open. As I made my way to the line, I could tell that the crowd was getting restless and wanted to get inside. When the doors finally opened, I like so many other fans, rushed to the front of the stage hoping to get an optimal spot. Throughout the night I would be bounced around, but I remained relatively close to the stage.
The first band to begin day two of the Tankcrimes Brainsqueeze was Conquest For Death. This group of enthusiastic hardcore punk musicians never stopped moving. Their energy helped get the crowd going right away. The band’s lead singer would do insane jumps and hand stands while screaming into his mic. He even climbed one of the speakers to the top railing of the stage and started swinging one the rail like he was a circus performer. Overall the band’s set was a shot pure adrenaline driven hardcore punk that set the tone for what was to be a rip roaring, and face ripping night.
Local Oakland hardcore punk veterans Kicker were the second band to take the stage. Their singer Pete “the roadie” not only sang, but he worked security for the Metro before and after the show. His work ethic was very impressionable and showed his dedication to the music that he enjoys. The band started their set off with the instrumental, “Kick Off.” Once the song finished Pete burst out on stage delivering his unapologetic hardcore punk front man style. The band played mostly songs from their Tankcrimes release, Not You, along with some new material. I really enjoyed banging my head and raising my fist to songs like “Broke” and “Insufficient Funds.” The whole band played great and their many years of punk rock experience helps give them a solid live sound.
Third up on the bill was an up and coming act called, The Shrine. This would be the first time I was to hear anything from this group, and I must say I was not disappointed. They are a bit more seventies hard rock meets punk than the straight forward hardcore style that the first two bands played. The Shrine’s guitarist could lay down some crunch distortion filled riffs and then shred away with a long solo. Another part I liked about the band was their solid rhythm section. The drummer and bassist created these mountain sized Sabbath like rhythms for the guitarist to explore over when he unleashed a solo. Definitely a band that offered some variety to the festival, which I think the crowd did not seem to mind.
Now the fourth band, Impaled, was one of the main reasons why I decided to come to day two of the festival. The death grind immoral medical practitioners are one of my favorite Bay Area metal bands. When they hit the stage I completely lost my sense of awareness and started head banging and growling along. Eventually I would find myself on the opposite side of the venue where I was when the band started their set. They ferociously tore into classic Impaled songs like “Bloodbath,” “Spirits of the Dead” and “Flesh and Blood.” I will say that as much as I enjoyed Impaled’s set I was a little disappointed with Impaled's onstage presentation. They forgot to wear their doctor’s outfits and dressed like a group bums who just walked off the Oakland streets. One highlight during their set was when the sound guy for the Oakland Metro was messing with Ross Sewage’s microphone by turning on an echo effect. Ross went along with the joke and in retaliation kept flipping the guy off.
After Impaled’s set I decided to take advantage of the free water cooler located behind the stage, and rest a bit to save up my energy for the next three bands. Fucked Up hit the stage soon after I finished my little break near the cooler. They played a nontraditional style of extremely loud and long hardcore punk music. To help achieve this truly bombastic sound the band had three guitarists on stage! Fucked Up’s singer demonstrated great stage presence by swinging the mic around and offering colorful banter between each song. I felt like their songs dragged on a bit too long, and could have been condensed. Overall, I was amused by the singer’s behavior on stage during each song.
Negative Approach was definitely one of the night’s most anticipated acts. Legends of the eighties hardcore scene, the guys in Negative Approach showed how they can still play some extreme music. The crowd became possessed once the band hit the stage and tore into the first blazing hardcore song. There was a decent amount of stage diving going on during their set for sure. Ever other verse I swear someone was jumping off of the stage! Hearing that classic material from, Tied Down, played live is something I am glad to have experienced. They are not slowing down one bit, and they sound just as raw and aggressive as they did on that first album.
To conclude the glorious Tankcrimes Brainsqueeze Day 2 was Richmond, Virginia’s Municipal Waste. I think the crowd was starting to get tired after all the other band’s sets, but once the Waste turned on their instruments the chaotic partying began. The guys in Municipal Waste seemed very energetic and loose (I’m sure they were pounding down plenty of beers before their set). They played a good amount of my favorites like, “Wrong Answer,” “Terror Shark,” “Fatal Feast” and “Unleash the Bastards.” I would say they incorporated a good variety of different songs from each album. Also, singer Tony was his usual colorful self and addressed the crowd with plenty of sarcastic humor. Municipal Waste was without question the perfect band to finish off the night.
I feel safe to say that the Tankcrimes Brainsqueeze was one of the best music festivals I have attended. All the bands were great and the whole event put on by Tankcrimes and Oakland Metro did not disappoint. Scotty is a man who really cares about the music community that he is a part of whether it be through his music label, or through the live shows he sets up. There are not too many people like Scotty Heath around in the music business today, and hopefully the Tankcrimes Brainsqueeze tradition continues for many years to come.