It ain't no Scion Rock Fest, but Scion Garage Fest was a really fun time with friends and some pretty cool bands. There were about 35 or so bands spread out between four venues, but I only visited two venues and saw five bands. For free, and it was a steal.
The first band was at Liberty Hall and were called Best Coast. A large crowd showed for them, and my friends and I chose to sit up in the balcony for their show. The first half of their performance was alright, but it seemed like every song sounded the same. There was no bass player, but the guitarist who was "acting" as the bass player was getting really into it, but the two girls doing vocals/guitar and drums seemed to recycle the same couple of types of music over and over again. Only when the 40 minute set reached the halfway point did they really step it up and start playing really catchy lo-fi dream-pop. A little nine year old girl even got up on stage to play tambourine, and she was singing along with every word! That was pretty funny. Best Coast certainly wasn't the worst band I'd ever heard from that genre. 7.5/10
Liberty Hall completely emptied out after Best Coast, but I stayed to see the band after called The Ponies. To be honest, I thought their guitar tone and the vocals sounded like a less energetic version of The Hives, who I love. I enjoyed them a lot, but at about halfway through their set, I left because they had started to get a bit repetitive. Not too bad at all! 7.5/10
One of the bigger crowds of the day was at the Jackpot. I walked down there and caught the last half of Happy Birthday's set. They sounded pretty good, a faster version of Best Coast with some guitar solo's thrown in! The vocalist was pretty crazy, too. He was drunk, high, or both. It blew my mind that a guy with that long of hair wasn't playing metal! 8/10
The Jackpot was crammed for one of the "headliners" of the day, The Gories. Two guitarists and a drummer with only two floor tom's. Interesting, but they played intense and straight-up punk n' roll. It almost sounded like a more punk versions of 50's rock n' roll bands. With a song with lyrics like, "Hey hey, we're the Gories!" how can you not have fun and jump around. A couple of cool guitar solo's and the crowd went wild. I think if they had a full drum kit their sound would be much better because although it sounded great, it just sounded like something was missing. Like the band was kind of empty. I only stayed for about half their set, but it was truly an experience. 8/10
The only band I had listened to prior to the day of the fest was The Raveonette's, so I was pretty excited for them. There weren't a lot of people there; enough so that it was a good-sized crowd, but not so many that it was uncomfortable. Their brand of noise rock/shoegaze/punk had touches of everything from The Jesus and Mary Chain to Joy Division in it. When they weren't blasting full force with a full band, they sang some great songs with just the bassist + the two guitarists playing tambourines, or each guitarist playing and singing their own solo song. I think the girl's solo song might have been a cover. They were great and full of energy; more than once I got chills up and down my spine. They ended their set, the house lights came on, and the roadies were taking down equipment, but the crowd kept cheering and the band actually came back out and played two more songs. I've never actually seen that happen before! Great stuff, one of the best sets of 2010! 9/10
Again: it ain't no Scion Rock Fest, but give me a stellar Garage Fest line-up like Scion did this year and I'll keep coming back.