Larbfest 4 Article
There was only one way to do Larbfest this year and that was to up the dose! Double the zines, double the bands, double the road crew and kill two birds with one stone. The targeted birds in this case are Minneapolis and Milwaukee, and in my mind you can’t kill one without the other. Both towns are somewhat isolated (to their advantage) and have killer skate and music scenes providing ample resources. And at the same time, both are welcoming to traveling skate crews and willing to devour any band that makes an effort to roll through and play. With that in mind, it was the Larb’s turn to blaze in and show some love to a couple of the finest cities in the Midwest with an onslaught of bands, zines and thrash.
Once Guzman threw up this heated frontside boardslide at Hiawatha he was on fire all the way to the end of the tour
Hiawatha’s hidden troll tunnels were made for Chris Cope
This band infected my ears many moons ago via Wayne Zerr, the bass player of Goiter. I can only describe Deterioration as sounding like hundreds of dumpsters caught in a electrified tornado. My intrigue of seeing them play live has always been intense and confused. I wondered, “How did they do that?” So when I tracked them down and they agreed to play the gig, I knew we scored. Five seconds into the first song the pit erupted and the look on people’s faces melted. Song after song they beat the shit out of the crowd with back-and-forth vocal trade offs, wrist-desecrating fret abuse and a drummer so obsessed with blast beating that all tom drums on his kit were completely discarded to focus on snare attack and relentless cymbal rolls. You want to fuck someone up? Hire Deterioration.
Cope traverses the Hiawatha time portal
The Hiawatha Bowl and Blood Bowl are glorious examples of DIY skateboarding in the upper Midwest. These tangled, well-built transitions live in stuffed corners of warehouses and feed skaters hunger for shred all the way through the brittle winters. Having the pre-sesh at the Hiawatha Bowl proved to be as epic as the spot itself. It’s pure craftmanship galore, complete with hidden troll tunnels and a portal loop of doom. The highlight of the sesh was watching Cope slither in upside down and out of that thing, not once but twice. Seeing that handled was pretty much everyone’s cue to dip to the venue, but not before rewarding Jammin’ Jay 100 bucks for best trick: remembering to order the port-o-potties. Before we knew it we were at The Triple Rock, the zine altar was set up and the first band, The Chairman, were already tearing through their set. The local savages did not disappoint and threw all the sweat back at the bands and then really kicked it into gear when Cannabis Corpse hit the stage. In the end, the right amount of blood and vomit was spilled and everyone got out alive—as far as I know. Thanks, Minneapolis. We needed that.
Think of glass bottles breaking on the street, hanging out on library rooftops, keg parties at the local dam, spraypainting in shitty alleys, peppered with fights, skateboarding and good times. That’s what ZöR sounds like to me in a nutshell. They extruded their namesake proudly but with a preferred spelling twist after Milwaukee skate legend Bill “Zoar” Sorenson (RIP). We lost him and his best friend Stevie Beaudoin just a few years apart from each other. These were a couple of our favorite older dudes we all knew growing up at the Turf skatepark back in the late ’80s. Stevie might flick a cig at you and Zoar might have barked at you a little harder than necessary, but they loved us. And they would both love what this band ZöR is dolling out now: unapologetic Milwaukee-style hardcore rock ‘n’ roll.
Casual sky boating. Kevin Bækkel, Weston, WI
Cope walks the tight rope in pajamas
E-man with a screaming back crail in the middle of the dairyland. Weston, WI
We got out of Dodge and exported our hangovers directly across the border to Wisconsin. The mission was to skate everything in our path, zig-zagging across the Heartland to the next venue in Milwaukee. Skateparks and unsuspecting spots were inhabited and thrashed. Most importantly, we broke out the grill at almost every location and fired it up in the name of our fallen brother P-Stone. Damn, it still hurts but being on the road where P-Stone shined the brightest was some good and much needed medicine for the crew. I know the Big Dog would be proud. This trip was for you Preston.
Suckers for crust? If the kids put in some effort, we’ll rip it. Cope took this ditch nub to new levels
Over the hill and through the woods, from the crust we go
Is that 40-and-up porn? Okay, carry on
He skates what he wants when he wants. Hewitt with a flatbar cross over
E-man on fire: kickflip with a grip. Stevens Point, WI
Lake Delton’s Taco Bell and Chris Cope collided for a couple bangers
E-man hungry for crust in Madison. Blunt fakie
Kevin Baekel showing the Dust Bowl’s fresh construction some appreciation with a crisp front blunt
The Airbnb I booked here was hilarious! We ain’t spoiled so the lack advertised beds and black mold permeating from the basement wasn’t that much of a turn off. A roof over our heads is just fine. I wasn’t tripping. Then we noticed there was no fridge, but we found a Home-Depot-type plastic storage crate on top of a folded blue tarp. Hmmm—opened it up and there was a half dozen random beers accompanied by two bags of unopened ice. Wow! There’s our fridge! Damn, I love Milwaukee. Fuck it. We weren’t trying to hang there anyway. We had Estabrook DIY to take care of our needs and, of course, the church of Pabst Blue Ribbon! We found ourselves on sacred grounds after some street pushing and boardslides around downtown. We felt it appropriate to get in a couple hours of worship at the brewery and truly prepare ourselves spiritually for the end of this journey in a way only Milwaukee can provide.
Gnarcell, properly footed egg
They call him ”Banana.” Sam Berget, lein ape-hanger
Brautwurst. Food of the Gods
Kevin Bækkel, noseblunt slide over the bench and off the edge
The Hammer nails a wall hanger
Once anyone reaches the innards of the Dairyland, you can’t help but notice the abundance of cheese curds and locally-jarred dill pickles available at every gas station. One cannot help but partake in the regional cuisine, right? Wash that down with the river of beer that is available in Wisconsin and a couple bratwursts daily for lunch and you may confront the riddle of the shart. To the untrained gut it’s almost inevitable. The word “Ooooops” will be announced at least once a day on this steady diet. It ain’t just cow patties yer smelling out here.
I wasn’t all that familiar with Geiger Counter until I decided that Minneapolis was on the hit list and started looking into the current local talent. This band’s name came up a few times from some reliable sources with the same shitty taste as me. I looked ’em up, gave ’em a listen and was digging what I heard. The last thing I want at any gig is to hear the same type of band back to back; that’s not the Larb’s way. We need a full course on the menu! So I thought their street-style crust-rock was a perfect fit. Shit, half the reason of coming to town to put on a gig is to let the local bands have at it. Long story longer, I put ’em on the bill and they delivered and executed, and when I say executed, they literally killed their equipment. The second guitar player’s amp sizzled halfway through the set and by the last song the drummer snapped his bass pedal and held it up like a trophy kill at the end of the set. Look these bastards up via Desolate records. I’m glad I did.
Having the dudes in Malignancy happily agree to the festivities was the cherry on top of the whole event. They flew into Milwaukee from New York on a red eye ready to slay us with their pummeling technical death. Didn’t hear from ’em right away until word surfaced they were partying in a local graveyard with members of Dr. Shrinker. Now that’s how a true death metal band warms up for a gig! Although they are known for their tbrutal, almost athletic song writing, they dropped Suicidal Tendencies “Possessed to Skate” with some added death squeals thrown in for good measure. That’s when it starts to blur out a bit. Bodies started dropping from exhaustion, the beer-soaked floor of the pit slowly exposed itself and the zine altar was gutted with only bits of xeroxed entrails left. Malignancy battered everyone into submission and put the nail in the coffin with that last song.
Kevin Bækkel reeled in a keeper in Sturgeon Bay
With that said, it was all officially over. A final day of post-Larbfest purgatory, broken boards and fried brain cells were all that remained. All done according to plan. Many thanks to all the participants and thanks to Creature and Monster for helping make it happen. Who’s next?
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