A Running Diary Recap Of Parade of Flesh's Ninth Annual Spillover Music Festival.
For nine years now, Parade of Flesh's annual Spillover Music Festival — with its regular offering of garage, punk and metal up-and-comers and established favorites alike — has served as Dallas' single-best excuse for skipping Austin's South by Southwest.
And, for three years in a row now, we've covered it in the same running diary format in an attempt to capture in real time just what makes this festival such a treat.
Without further ado, we present our 2016 Spillover diary below.
10:40 p.m. Hello and welcome to our annual running diary recap of Parade of Flesh's Spillover Music Festival! There are some different elements of this year's ninth annual go of the festival — namely that it's no longer a day-long, one-day deal. Instead, the four-stage (Club Dada, Trees, Three Links and RBC) affair that it will be on Saturday and Sunday is running three nights, starting with tonight's deal, which is just a single-stage, three-band offering at Dada. One thing ain't changing, though: Once again, I'm off to a late start. The first two of three bands on tonight's bill — Guantanamo Baywatch and L.A. Witch – are both already done. No matter: Le Butcherettes are on and, as we've noted previously, they are great.
10:47 p.m. Here's another thing that's immediately different about Spillover this year: It's loud as hell up in here. Dada installed a new sound system not too long ago, and lemme tell ya, it packs some volume punch. Like, it's almost too loud in here. Looking around the room, though, it seems I'm the only wimp among the 250 or so up in here who notices or cares.
10:52 p.m. Maybe the noise isn't too much for everyone else because Le Butcherettes frontwoman Teri Gender Bender is just too compelling a performer for these people to notice anything else. She really is that, too. We've said it before and we'll say it again: Teri Gender Bender's star power is undeniable, and her band's heavy, cabaret-influenced sound is a perfect match for it. How is this band not signed to Jack White's label yet?
11:11 p.m. This is rad: Le Butcherettes just unironically covered Miley Cyrus's “Wrecking Ball,” and not even this crowd of hipsters can deny its fierce awesomeness.
11:19 p.m. One thing that makes Teri Gender Bender so great is the way she works a stage. Throughout this set, she's bouncing between two microphones she's set up so she can just use whichever is closest. It's convenient and effective. Also effective: Teri oscillates between addressing the crowd in English and in Spanish. And who doesn't enjoy themselves a good bilingual rock show?
11:31 p.m. And we're done with Night One of Spillover! Just like that! Or are we? Hmmmmm.
11:40 p.m. OK, so this is a bit of a cheat. No, this Astronautalis set going down at Three Links isn't a part of Spillover; rather, it's being thrown by competing company Transmission Events. Whatever: Astronautalis is a Spillover veteran, having performed at Dada for the fest just two years ago. And Spillover kinda ended a little early for a Friday, no?
12:11 a.m. People really love Astronauatlis, man. This house is packed and adoring. Also: If you think Astronautalis is above making an inside joke to his friends during the part of his set where he freestyles, you're thinking wrong.
8:55 p.m. It's Night Two of Spillover. And y'know what? It's kind of weird walking up to the doors at night as opposed to when it's still light out!
8:56 p.m. There's a big line outside Dada because that's where the wristbands are getting picked up. Oddly, though, there's no one inside. Also, looking across the street, there's no one smoking outside Trees, either, and that's usually a decent indicator of show turnout there. So what's happening? Low turnout?
9 p.m. Nope. There's big crowd over at Three Links now that I'm looking. But, more than that, everyone is inside at Trees, it seems. It's packed here for Yuck.
9:36 p.m. This crowd is loving it some Broncho, which hails from Oklahoma. Things cleared out for a bit after Yuck ended, but we're back at near full capacity again. Also, this crowd is pretty nuts. So. Much. Bouncing.
9:46 p.m. We've transitioned from standard bouncing to all-out crowd-surfing. Between Spillover and So What?! Music Festival, this is clearly the crowdsurf-iest weekend of the year in North Texas, I'd say.
10:08 p.m. Dada has a strong crowd — 150 to 200? — for Alex G. The crowds are moving about the venues, it seems. That's cool to see. Also cool: Alex G. His band is one of Spillover's tamer acts, but its burnout brand of slacker jangle rock is a nice, enjoyable jaunt.
10:13 p.m. I just realized Spillover has a sponsor this year: Guitar Center. Banners hang at venues and Parade of Flesh head honcho John Iskander, I've noticed, is giving bands $10 gift cards.
10:32 p.m. A lot of people who've attended Spillover before — on a Sunday, obviously, because that's all it's historically been — are telling me they're not coming tomorrow. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out with Sunday's attendance figures. But I'm guessing it's not a great sign.
10:42 p.m. Dada owner Josh Florence, who is a partner in Spillover, tells me unprovoked that he too thinks, if only for nostalgic reasons, that it's a little weird to not have it be a daytime thing. Sure, but I'll say this: Even if I plan on keeping an eye on tomorrow's turnout, it's tough to argue with these Saturday night crowds. They're big and energetic.
10:50 p.m. A pretty big crowd has gathered too for The Orwells back at Trees. This was fairly predictable, I guess. But this is a surprise: Broncho, surprisingly, drew bigger numbers. Also: This crowd-surfing is pretty unrelenting.
10:57 p.m. Even Orwells lead singer Mario Cuomo thinks the crowdsurfing is a bit much. He just pointed out that someone crowdsurfed between songs. “That guy just crowdsurfed to no music at all,” he announces.
11 p.m. I'm setting the over/under line at 1,000 crowdsurfs this weekend between Spillover and So What?! Both Iskander and Florence are taking the over.
1116 p.m. Over at Links, the six-piece Self Defense Family has only drawn an OK crowd — maybe 70 people – but they have a nice, full sound.
11:26 p.m. OK, so I missed it, but some shit just went down at Trees. I'm inside the venue now, and hearing a lot: Orwells frontman Mario mentioned how this was the only place that punched out Kurt Cobain; he begged for a trashcan to puke into on stage; the sound guys cut the band off for spiking the mic between songs; the band and crowd started tearing down the curtains; the band and security fought on stage. I see one staff member show a pretty beat-up mic to another worker: “When their set started, this was a beautiful mic.” Some bartenders tell me they heard screaming.
11:31 p.m. For what it's worth, there's also puke on floor in Trees' bathroom. Shit got sloppy, clearly.
12:21 a.m. I reach out to a source I've got within The Orwells' camp to find out what happened from their perspective and get a band statement in response: “Seems like history is made once again at Trees.”
12:55 a.m. If The Orwells wanted to be the talk of Spillover, they succeeded in doing so. It's all anyone is talking about.
1:34 a.m. Back to the music: True Widow has a small but rapt crowd at Dada. The band's playing some new songs. They sounds great, the new album is gonna rock.
7:59 p.m. Hey, we made it to Day Three of Spillover. And, yup, everyone is still talking about The Orwells. More than that, they're laughing about it, which is good, I guess. My question: Who's gonna throw a puke-can on a crowd tonight?
8:11 p.m. Diarrhea Planet, which is inexplicably playing its 72nd straight Spillover, has a strong crowd this year — but maybe not as strong as previous years. No matter: They sound killer as ever, and the crowd is into it for sure. And, yes, the crowdsurfing theme of the weekend is still carrying on.
8:13 p.m. Not for nothing, but there's about a free throw lane's worth of band gear taking up space the wall along Dada's stage right.
8:23 p.m. “We're gonna use the power of rock 'n' roll for good tonight, not for negligent, self-hating evil,” announces Diarrhea Planet guitarist Emmett Miller.
8:28 p.m. Emmett Miller might be the single most talented musician at this whole damn festival. The guy's just a total monster of a guitarist and somehow even manages to stand out in the fray that is Diarrhea Planet's live show — and not just because he's a ham and a showboat. He's a joy to watch and testament to the power of rock he just quipped about.
8:37 p.m. There are only about 30 people over at Three Links for Wildhoney, whose members do not appear altogether thrilled to be here. But also, that's the standard facial expression for their brand of fuzzy disaffected rock, so it's tough to tell. Their energy picks up some for their last song, though. Fitting?
8:44 p.m. So, the crowds are definitely smaller tonight. Diarrhea Planet might end up being the best-attended show of the day after all. There are maybe 400 out between the three Elm Street clubs? That's not a huge surprise; Sunday night was always slower on Spillover. Tough to say if this is the result of yesterday's concerns about how offering a Saturday showcase might keep people from going out on Sunday, though.
8:58 p.m. Nothing starts its set about 20 minutes late, and they're still not really ready. Frontman Dominic Palermo is having pedal and amp issues alike. The band's first song is very off. Palermo frustratingly kicks pedal board at one point, clearly fed up. When it ends, he addresses the crowd: “That was good, right?” Then he apologizes, and jokes that he broke all his pedals with the kick. Oh well. Maybe he can replace some of it at Guitar Center.
9:09 p.m. Over at Trees, Pure Bathing Culture is just an absurd sonic change of pace, but its music so pleasant, it's impossible to even bat an eyelash at the switch-up. Mostly, it's just great they're here. Am I fawning enough about how great this is? It's like yacht rock heaven. Weird to think there was a vomit garbage can tossed from this stage not 24 hours previously!
9:14 p.m. There are only about 50 people watching Pure Bathing Culture, but it feels more intimate and communal in here than sparse and distant. That's impressive.
9:17 p.m. So the band playing Three Links is named Slothrust. Is it pronounced “Sloth Rust” or “Slow Thrust”? No one I'm asking knows.
9:21 p.m. I'm now told it's “Sloth Rust,” so let's go with that.
9:33 p.m. No matter the pronunciation, this is really cool: At a festival so dominated by fairly aggressive male attendees, Slothrust is playing its fun, garage pop to a mostly young and female audience. “Any of you guys come from Austin?” frontwoman Leah Wellbaum asks her crowd just now. A pretty hilarious silence follows. “Oh. Well, we did! We spent the last couple days there.” More silence until she breaks it: “Fuck that place, I guess?”
9:51 p.m. So I rushed over to Dada because I heard the Deep Ellum Possum was hanging out on the patio. He's already bounced by the time I get here, though. He's so damn cool. Always one step ahead of everything.
9:54 p.m. Nothing's late start got everything running behind at Dada. Power Trip should've been on by now. Alas, not yet. Still, if this is as bad as things have gotten in terms of delays, I think that's pretty solid.
10 p.m. OK, here we go with Power Trip — and, not two minutes into it, the mosh pit is churning quick.
10:08 p.m. Power Trip frontman Riley Gale just shouted out John Iskander and everyone who helps him puts on spillover, calling him “easily the best promoter in town.” He notes, too, that Iskander tour managed Power Trip while the band toured with Lamb of God. So Gale might be biased.
10:09 p.m. It's pretty easy to talk about how nuts and intimidating Power Trip is live, but to do so is to do a disservice to the band's ridiculous chops and its knack for sneaking amazing melody and groove into its grinding assault. These guys are truly great, and maybe one of the best bands to ever come out of Dallas. Seriously.
10:22 p.m. Speaking of bands whose talents are greater than their claims to fame: Video game-influenced pop-punk band Anamanaguchi is playing to a jubilant crowd over at Trees. So fun. So nerdy. So legit strong, too. Kinda weird these guys ain't at So What?!, though. Right?
10:45 p.m. Creepoid is playing with low room lights and no stage lighting over at Three Links. The whole vibe in here is very RGRS right now.
10:52 p.m. Creepoid ends set with epic rock out and the kicking-over of its drums. Old trick? Sure. But still super rad.
11:18 p.m. It's kind of a embarrassing turnout at Dada for Future Punx. That's the wrath of playing after Power Trip, though. But the band sounds great with its Devo-informed art punk. Ex-Dentonite Chris Pickering, playing with a headless guitar here, is doing some really cool things in Brooklyn with his Dull Tools label. He deserved better than this — especially after a SXSW where he showed a lot of love to some Dallas bands at his label's showcase. Too bad, really.
11:23 p.m. In Future Punx's defense, I don't think I've ever seen any venue except for Three Links not be totally dead at the end of a Spillover Sunday.
11:53 p.m. Yeah, things are pretty strong over at Three Links. Sealion is killing this festival off proper. Good turnout. Fully engaged crowd. Parade of Flesh employees are cathartically dancing in the pit. It's kind of a perfect moment.
12:19 p.m. So this is a cool way to end things: Sealion just got a legit encore demand from this crowd and complied. It's the only encore I've seen all weekend. Way to go out with a bang, Spillover. We'll see you next year.