Most live music tours breeze through Northeast Florida trailing one, maybe two interesting angles behind them. Not so with the mega-show Oct. 25 at Nobby's in St. Augustine, which packs no less than 11 excellent punk and garage-rock bands into the sweatiest, most down-to-earth venue in the Oldest City.
We're talking four of Portland's finest purveyors of freak-flag-flying underground insanity, two female-fronted pop powerhouses from California, one similarly women-centric group of thrashers from Orlando, one in-your-face hardcore band from Jacksonville, two St. Augustine punk-rock mainstays and one rare reunion of grassroots St. Johns County musical royalty.
What's more, this Friday night throwdown isn't just another excuse for St. Augustine music fans to fry their eardrums and rock their socks off (although both of those activities will certainly be encouraged). No, this blowout celebrates the 50th birthday of Nobby's owner and punk-rock visionary Dave Wernicke, widely credited by area DIY types for providing our fair city with the grassroots, blue-collar, all-are-welcome vibe it so desperately deserves and proudly flaunts.
Ready for some more reasons why "Dave's 50th Birthday Bash" requires your RSVP? Hunker down, dig out your tape deck and read on:
Consider it an unofficial Southeast extension of the Burgerama Caravan of Stars Tour 2013. While the main headliners from this zenith of garage-rock goodness won't hang around after Burger Records' annual barnstorming party grinds to a halt on
Oct. 16, the Portland-based masterminds of sloppy, stoned-out punk kicks in White Fang have an impressive six shows scheduled in the Sunshine State. Best of all, The Memories, made up of two of White Fang's four members, will flash their gentler, more melodic, but no less humorous pop side at Nobby's.
Cassette heads should flip over this tape-deck triangulation of epic proportions. Burger Records won't be the only cassette-obsessed label represented on Oct. 25, as Erik "Rikky" Gage, who fronts both White Fang and The Memories, will come bearing plenty of limited-edition tapes released by his own thriving DIY label, Gnar Tapes. "This is the best thing I've ever been involved with in my life," Gage told Folio Weekly. "The Burger crew is like family. We all like smoking weed, traveling around, making music and making friends. So this tour is rad."
Lest you think Gage and Burger co-owners Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard are total slackers, though, consider the stats both have amassed since starting their labels in 2008 and 2007, respectively. Gnar Tapes is up to 130 tapes produced by bands from the U.S., Belgium, Japan and Canada. Burger has sold more than 200,000 copies of 622 individual releases put out by more than 500 bands, opened a thriving physical location in Fullerton, Calif., sold close to 10,000 tickets to its annual Burger Boogaloo, and bootstrapped its own Burger.tv video offshoot. "We work all day, every day, nonstop," Bohrman told Folio Weekly. "No one expected it to grow the way it has, allowing us to quit our jobs, sell out festivals and turn Burger into a real business. We just wanted to put out fun tapes."
While Peach Kelli Pop and Colleen Green occupy opposite ends of the attitudinal spectrum, they both represent everything good about today's female rock renaissance. Allie "Peach Kelli Pop" Hanlon might release sunny, sugar-spiked lo-fi pop records (on Burger Records, of course), but when she puts the guitar and microphone down, she stands up as an outspoken singer-songwriter cut right from the socially and politically aware riot grrl cloth. Meanwhile, in interviews and on tape, Oakland's Colleen Green comes off as goofy, aloof and straight-up obsessed with marijuana. But both women are bona fide creative geniuses whose personalities and performance styles can't be matched.
Portland's Guantanamo Baywatch is singlehandedly keeping kitschy, campy surf-influenced psychobilly alive — from one of the rainiest, most pretentious cities in the U.S., no less. That band name, those costumes, that retro mash-up of surf rock, horror pop and classic country … Seriously: There's no one else like these three maniacs. And while fellow PDXers BOOM! aren't as well-known as their aforementioned West Coast counterparts, they still bring the catchy, raw noise as well (and Izak Arida does double duty in White Fang).
If you don't know St. Augustine's Queen Beef, Jacksonville's The Mold or Orlando's Wet Nurse, you're missing out on some of Florida's finest punk bands. That is all. If you aren't aware of Oldest City slop-punk/porch-core legends Premadonnasaurs, then the reunion of Jacob Hamilton, Matty Pius, PJ Famicom and other DIY Oldest City royalty is one you don't want to miss. You know, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
Eleven bands for $10 — 91 cents per act — and six of those acts have driven more than 3,000 miles apiece to celebrate the 50th birthday of one of St. Augustine's most underappreciated music-scene movers and shakers. You run the numbers and decide if it's a good deal.