All Good Fest
at Woodlands Tavern
“Alright, everybody. SHUT. THE FUCK. UP.” were the words Eric Egan belted into the microphone while wearing a Cannibal Corpse shirt. Eric Egan, the vocalist/guitarist of Heart Attack Man, was the center of attention in the now mostly silent room before the opening guitar riff and crash of the band breaking out into “Life Sucks”.
As a stereotypical millennial, I showed up to Woodlands Tavern four hours late and missed seven bands, including Vermont. Vermont is an ironically named foursome from Cincinnati that mixes messy and jangly guitars with whiny vocals singing lyrics full of angst in the true spirit of the Midwest. The afternoon bill also included sets from Pollyanna, Snarls, No Dice, Glacier Veins, Overgrow, and Unturned.
After buying a PBR (so I’d have something to do with my hands), I followed the familiar sound of a muffled rock band to the back room. There I stumbled into the end of the Whale Bones set and stood at the back of a small crowd for two songs, including “Reciprocation”. The venue was still half as full as the densest it became that night, but it was hard to notice this when Alex Magnan of Young Culture took center stage moments after. The New York outfit, currently recording their first full length album, brought a welcome burst of pop punk inspired energy.
Nine PM brought, in my opinion, the most anticipated band of the night; Retirement Party’s Avery Springer stepped on stage and killed a song from her solo project, Elton John Cena. Afterward, the rest of the band joined her for a set of songs from their first LP, Somewhat Literate, plus a song from their new LP, which is in the process of being recorded.
Heart Attack Man had one of the most dedicated groups of fans I have ever seen at a show of that size. I spotted a dozen shirts reading “MOTHERS AGAINST HEART ATTACK MAN” in the crowd. For the entire set, half of the crowd screamed lyrics when they weren’t being smothered by the kinetic pile of bodies in front of the stage. Eric Egan demanded to the crowd “I want to see a circle pit. Right here.” in the calmest tone I heard that night, just before the band launched into “Cut my Losses”.
As soon as Heart Attack Man played their last note, I rushed back to the main stage in time to be among the first few people in the front for Hot Mulligan, the Emo headliners hailing from Lansing, Michigan. After acknowledging that Heart Attack Man is verified on Twitter and Hot Mulligan isn’t, vocalist “Tades” Sanville- with hair you might see walking out of Hot Topic in 2008- began their set with “I Replied to Tyler with Three Blue Cars”. As their time on stage roared to the halfway point, I became drenched in other people’s sweat, and had been kicked in the head at least five times. The second half of the set began with “All You Wanted” By Michelle Branch (The Spirit Room is a nearly flawless album) and “The Soundtrack To Missing A Slam Dunk”, back to back. As the top of the hour approached, Tades eased into “How Do You Know It’s Not Armadillo Shells?” as the band joined him. I returned to holding onto my glasses in order to keep them from being flung off my face.
While Hot Mulligan never emerged to play an encore, Tades tossed his setlist into the crowd- just over my head- which I narrowly missed as it bounced off my fingertips. I watched it land on the ground directly in front of two people that only acknowledged it with a quick glance, so I scooped it up, threw it in my pocket, and still haven’t figured what to do with it.
Huge thanks to John Rausch and his team at It’s All Good Booking, as well as the people at Woodlands Tavern for putting together such a killer show. Here’s to hoping there’s a future for All Good Fest in Columbus.