Gonerfest 10 has come and gone, which means a lot of us are left with that specific melancholy that only shows up when the most anticipated part of your year is over.  For some people it’s Christmas or summer vacation, for me and a ton of other people it’s the sweaty, liquor-soaked chaos of Gonerfest.   This year’s festival broke in the new Hi-Tone, replaced pizza with smoked meats, had a hefty share of shirtless men, and included a badass retrospective photo gallery and screenings of the Cosmic Psychos movie “Blokes You Can Trust,” making the four day Gonerfest marathon even more chaotic than usual — and that’s all in addition to the bands and after-parties.  It’s no wonder we all go home with the Gonerflu.

Instead of trying to recap four days and over 30  bands worth of glorious, hickory-smoked drunken revelry, we’re going to list our favorite moments from Gonerfest 10 and share the sights and sounds we collected along the way.  Feel free to let us know your favorite moments in the comments!

Brandi Rinks

No Bails by Joshua Miller

No Bails by Joshua Miller

1.   The Friday night afterparty at the Bucc was packed as hell and rowdy.  We left directly after Mudhoney finished at the Hi-Tone and made it just in time to catch the tail-end of the Nots set.  Then we watched Mac Blackout Band get totally wild-eyed and abrasive, followed by Keith of The Manateees and Joe T. of True Sons of Thunder sitting in with No Bails, who ripped through a total ass-kicker of a set that left me fist pumping and hollering “Sound Proof Room” into the wee hours of the morning.  When we left, a dude was taking such a pratfall off a barstool I thought it had to be faked, and there was a cab conveniently waiting to whisk us home at 4:00 a.m.  I felt like a sweaty, bruised Cinderella!

2.   Gonerfest Photofest was a personal high point for me for several reasons, the most obvious being that I had a photo in the show and it was an absolute honor to be asked.  Seeing my photo blown up to 20×30 and shown next to the work of photographers that I follow and respect so much was overwhelming.  Admiring amazing prints from Gonerfests that I didn’t have the chance to attend made me kick myself for not getting in on the fun earlier, and in addition to the video installation being completely badass, it included a clip of our pal Daniel Doyle who suddenly and unexpectedly died earlier this year.   I can only imagine what his reaction would be at seeing himself in the video exhibit, and it would be boisterous and psyched as hell.

Buck Biloxi and the Fucks by Brandi Rinks

Buck Biloxi and the Fucks by Brandi Rinks

3.   A while back I interviewed Buck Biloxi and asked if his band Buck Biloxi and the Fucks had any plans with regard to Gonerfest.  He said he planned to wear a black rubber glove while they played, which is kind of a weird thing to plan on doing that far ahead of time so I figured he was joking, but holy hell, that motherfucker showed up in a single black rubber glove!  Their set was fast and sloppy, some chick wrestled a guy to the ground and took out a large portion of the crowd at one point, people were professing their belief that Joe Pestilence is God throughout, and the new drummer is so smiley and young I wanted to make him grilled cheese sandwiches and protect him from the harsh world like a true dat meemaw. Buck Biloxi and the Fucks scoffed at the schedule, blew through their one song warning, and took requests from the crowd and then ignored them so they could play “Shut the Hell Up” at least three times by my count, but I bet that crowd would’ve stayed put through it at least 12 more times, because it was just that fun in there.

4.   Since I’ve moved to Memphis some of my favorite bands are local bands.  I’m spoiled as hell to get to see music I love on a regular basis, and it was a huge highlight watching people from all over the world getting wild when the hometown bands (Ex-Cult, Manateees, True Sons of Thunder, Nots, Harlan T. BoBo) played.  Sometimes you’ll see the same 10-30 people at every show, which is great in its own way, but being in a huge crowd of fresh faces rocking out to the locals is a super cool feeling, and I’m not even a musician.  I can’t imagine what it’s like for them!  Needless to say, I was super proud to be a Memphian, even if I haven’t been here long.

5.   The dichotomy between the opening and closing ceremonies matched perfectly with my feelings as the festival wound up and ended.   At the opening there was the unmatchable energy of Guitar Wolf, gazebo moshing, and free pizza being passed throughout a packed crowd filled with anticipation for a weekend of partying.  At the closing ceremonies there was King Louie (a Gonerfest tradition), and Mississippi bluesman Leo Bud Welch playing to a smaller, hungover crowd while a cold drizzle set in and people got ready to head home.  It was a fitting end to the best weekend of the year.  Long live Gonerfest!

Jane Dear

Hemingers 31.   Hemingers: One of my favorite things about last year’s Gonerfest (my first Gonerfest!) was accumulating lots of free handmade demos piled up at various GF locales. Out of the whole stash, The Hemingers became a staple at my house, with “Barracuda” as my son’s particular favorite. (He doesn’t quite get “Do the Dropout” yet.) My husband divulged this to the band at their merch table before their set, and they decided to dedicate it with a special shoutout to my 6 year old! (That kid just might be too cool for his own good, and he doesn’t even know it!) The whole set was like a party in a campy movie, complete with a finale of “Shout!” where a bunch of the crowd got to holler the closing chorus chaotically into the mic. As their Facebook page declares, “There was a time before the Hemingers, but who wants to think about that cold, dark, sad time in world history?”

2.   Shenanigans & Personalities.: Cuntz requested socks during their day set, so we joked about getting some for them. I figured we’d get too buzzed and sidetracked, but sure enough, we journeyed to CVS, stocking up on well over a dozen pairs of cheapo ugly $1 socks. We found our way to the Bucc, and ceremoniously threw one sock at a time from our loot stashed in Nico’s Goner tote. I’m certain we were way more entertained than anyone else was in the room. We barely missed Guitar Wolf (THANKS weird one-lane construction problems outside of Memphis) and I really don’t wanna talk about it! But it was still amazing to see Seiji being the most badass guy in town in his sunglasses in the dark of the Hi-Tone in between MC-ing. All he had to do to get us riled up was finish a short intro joke with “ROCKANDROLL-ROCKANDROLL-ROCKANDROLLLLL.”

Wreckless Eric 13.   Wreckless Eric: I think my heart grew three sizes watching Wreckless Eric with his honest music and raw humor. (He even commented he wished he could whistle as loudly as yours truly!) It’s been a few weeks, but my husband and I still keep thinking about this set and looking up things to read, see, or hear about him. Find some videos of Mister Eric and his wife performing together, you won’t regret it. He charmed the hell outta us, and this show was one of the more humbling live music experiences I’ve had.

4.   Impromptu parking lot/streetcorner shows!!! After the Murphy’s Blowout ended, some bands set up in a pickup truck in the parking lot and on a hillside across the street.  The Sheiks even drove off into the sunset still playing their hearts out, being cooler than everyone you know. The Babes blew me away on the corner of Madison and Avalon, complete with a lively Memphis mural on the wall behind them. What a perfect buzzed dusk free-for-all.

5.   Hexbeat: Gonerfest honestly gave way to a lot of what we now know as Hexbeat. I won’t get too sappy, but last year’s Gonerfest connected me to some of the best inspirations and people to turn a vague idea somewhat incubating in my heart of hearts into a reality. It was most awesome to see our ad in the Gonerfest program.

Kandi Cook

Gonerfest photofest FINAL POSTERHere are some of my favorite moments from Gonerfest 10 in no particular order:

1.  Seeing the Gonerfest Photofest exhibition!  There was some awesome work on display there by many of my favorite photographers!

2.  Screaming at Ross Johnson accusing him of taking pills and/or trying to figure out what was in his mystery bag; using my camera’s flash to try and illuminate the inside of it… (we never found out what was in the bag).

3.  Reuniting with all my favorite goners from all over the world, making new friends, and sharing photos of our pets while we were waiting for the next band to start.

4.  Reminiscing with the guy from Human Eye about the time he exploded Froot Loops on stage at a previous Gonerfest.

5.  Don Perry.

Matthew Thornton

After missing Gonerfest 9, my fiancé and I made it a point to make the trip to Memphis for Gonerfest 10. As always, I walked away sore, bruised, tired, and hungover, but clutching a fistful of records, t shirts, and good times.

1.   Drunkenly laughing at nothing in the back of a cab. My favorite thing about Gonerfest, outside of the music, is how I’m able to be completely irresponsible for 3-4 days and forget the retail hell I’m regularly put through on a daily basis. After days of consuming more alcohol than I probably ever have in such a short time span, tons of rock n roll, and lots of good food, it all erupted into one glorious late night moment of my friends and I laughing all the way from the Hi-tone to the Buccaneer at absolutely nothing at all.

Cuntz (After Show) 62.   Cuntz.  My favorite band I saw at the fest, I think. I have yet to see an Australian band at Gonerfest that isn’t just flat out amazing. After enjoying their daytime set so much and hearing the singer say they needed socks, my friends and I went to the nearest Cosco and bought a bunch of 1 dollar socks, and then showered the band with them during their late night Buccaneer set. I don’t know if they actually took any of them.

3.   Mudhoney. Probably like a lot of people who grew up in the 90s, Nirvana was the first band I was really into when I was very young. And perhaps one of my favorite things about the band has ended up being how they exposed me to a whole wealth of music I probably wouldn’t have heard at such an early age. Mudhoney was one of those bands, and drunkenly fending for my tiny self up front for their set at the Hi-Tone was a memory a long time in the making.

4.   People.  There are people from all over the globe at Gonerfest. I love this. There’s this guy we always run into from LA each year. My friend chatted with a lady who travels alone every year from Germany to Gonerfest. I complained about our 5-6 hour trek across the state of Arkansas, but in comparison I realized I will always complain about just about anything. Someone’s gotta do it.

5.   The Gonerflu. Normally, I wouldn’t be too thrilled about getting sick, and I’m sure I’ll be the only writer on Hexbeat to list this sickness as a top 5 moment of Gonerfest. Apparently not many escaped the wrath of this one. After a Tuesday of slogging it through work on a fever, I was just too sick to work on Wednesday, which offered me one more, albeit sort of nasty, day off work. I love anything that gives me an excuse not to be stuck at my job, even if it involves harrowing fever nightmares and the inability to eat anything more than half a cup of soup for a couple of days.

Nico Cagle

My annual feat to Gonerfest is always like a lusty weekend affair away from my everyday life.   Every responsible token of myself goes out the window at the crossing of the Arkansas-Tennessee border because I know I’m in for the kind of rock n’ roll that I can’t get back home.  Maybe that behavior comes from a lacking garage rock scene in Arkansas, my deep love for Memphis, or perhaps it’s the amount of whiskey and Pabst that my body consumes throughout Gonerfest.  Regardless of the reason I am happy to rank Gonerfest in my top tier of music festivals.

This year was greatly anticipated since I was unable to attend Gonerfest nine.  Having attended seven and eight, I knew that the Goner crew would meet my expectations.  It’s hard to nail down my favorite moments from my favorite festival.  So here it goes…the daytime shows this year were some of the best moments I had.

Gino & The Goons 1After a few mimosas it was time to hit up the Buccaneer and fill up on some $5 keg beer.  I was very impressed with the first band, Martin Savage Gang from Gothenburg, Sweden.  I’ll never forget the amazing bobcat patch on the back of the front man’s vest that Mister Dear repeatedly asked me to steal.  The Hemingers from Coldwater, Michigan were a good time with their quirky lyrics and soul-filled harmonies.   At that moment I was happy to dance horribly and shake my head to the beat of a classic garage rock sound.  The finish of the afternoon was another favorite of mine, Gino and the Goons.

Saturday day-shows were also a memorable experience spent listening to the Memphis beat of Manateees, Cybelle Blood, and Harlan T. Bobo & The Fuzz.  Not to mention other greats such as Cuntz, Digital Leather, Buck Biloxi, and ⁄ calling out that man with the ridiculous monster-truck Camaro.

Aside from laughing hysterically at drunken bits of nothing in the back of cabs…I thoroughly enjoyed smashing up next to sweating bodies and beer slinging during Tyvek and Mudhoney.   I won’t forget the succulent piece of golden fried chicken I inhaled after Cheap Time or throwing socks at the Cuntz after party show on Saturday.  I will forget the remaining 351 days of dreadful anticipation until Gonerfest 11.

This post and my passionate love for Memphis could really go on forever but I will close with this: No matter how far I may be, I’ll always make it a point to reunite with the Southern city and record store I love most.

Trip Cook

Ross Johnson5.  Ross Johnson- Who doesn’t love a good storyteller with a Southern drawl who spins yarns about vice, heartbreak and the confusing, exciting experience of growing up in the Bible Belt? There’s probably someone out there, but I don’t want to know them. The fine folks at Goner love and understand Ross, a musician, raconteur and Memphis treasure. They released his stream-of-consciousness masterpiece Make it Stop and on Friday night, they handed him a microphone. It’s all he needs. Ross introduced bands, but he also rattled on about pills, Spring Breakers (Gonerfest was “fall break, bitches”) and his perception that more attractive women attended Gonerfest 10 than previous incarnations, when he surmised that the festival was the only place where the men were more attractive than the women. While holding court in front of a crowd mixed with those who appreciate him and another half who seemed confused by the middle-aged guy talking about taking pills and getting paid, he poured from a 1.25-liter bottle of Diet Coke into a plastic cup. In short, he was Ross Johnson on stage with a microphone. Seiji from Guitar Wolf and Gino of Gino and the Goons also served as excellent MCs, but they’re not Ross Johnson. No one is. There’s only one.

4.  Mudhoney- I’ve wanted to see Mudhoney since I was in high school, when songs like “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More,” “In ‘n’ Out of Grace,” their cover of The Dicks “Hate the Police” and “Touch Me I’m Sick” served as a kind of manifesto in my developing, angry brain. Unlike some of the bands that appealed to my pubescent rage, I kept listening to Mudhoney throughout my 20s and into my 30s. It was still great. I was excited and a bit nervous about seeing them for the first time in 2013. It would be difficult for a band that essentially formed the year I was born to match the intensity and excitement found in the recordings that meant so much to me as a teenager. But there they were; miles from a nostalgia act. In front of a crowd that was likely full of skeptics, they destroyed. It’s possible they were better at some point in the band’s history, but I have a hard time believing that. Of all the things I would change about my younger self, I would keep Mudhoney.

Manateees 23.  MANATEEES- The best band in Memphis. I refuse to debate this. It’s an irrefutable fact. I see a lot of bands, most of which make me happy to be alive. I’m happy to be breathing, watching music being created while surrounded by people I like and taking a temporary vacation from the rest of the soul-numbing world. It’s an old-man outlook fashioned by a fundamentalist upbringing that made me far too aware of my own mortality. MANATEEES are one of the few bands that bridge the gap between my young, dumb “let’s destroy things!” ethos and my “every day is a blessing!” inner old man who could (and probably will) die any second. Maybe it’s because MANATEEES take the best parts of both. From what I’ve gathered, their songs are all about “let’s destroy things and act dumb because we’re probably going to die soon (and I might kill you first).”  I’ve probably seen them 20-30 times over the last few years. Their performance at Murphy’s Saturday afternoon wasn’t their best I’ve seen, but it was thrilling because other people from around the globe were getting a glimpse of this excellent band with songs about cat food, isolation and dumping a body in the Wolf River. Memphis has its problems, but it also has MANATEEES. I’ll take it.

2.  Wizzard Sleeve/Destruction Unit/Cosmic Psychos- Gonerfest began in earnest Thursday night with a blistering set from Minneapolis’ Blind Shake. I walked in ready to use the first hour of the festival to get beer and locate my friends. I decided both could wait after being slapped in the face with whatever it was Blind Shake were doing. What started with an unexpected good time Thursday ended with an expected mind-melting Saturday night from Wizzard Sleeve, Destruction Unit and Cosmic Psychos. I’d seen Wizzard Sleeve and Destruction Unit before and I knew they were among the best bands going . While I’d never seen Cosmic Psychos live, I knew they were going to be incredible from their albums and the fact that John Hoppe, Goner staffer and one of the best guys around, sounded legitimately excited about seeing them. Here’s an eternal truth: John Hoppe will never steer you wrong. By Saturday night, I was worn out, a bit sick and briefly fantasized about being in my bed. Wizzard Sleeve, Destruction Unit and the mighty Cosmic Psychos changed all that. Good lord, they were great. I can’t add much more than that and I don’t remember much of it. I just recall standing there with the kind of dizziness, heavy eyelids and fuzzy-headedness that comes from three days of self-harm thinking, “good lord, these bands are great.”

1.  The people- When you attend a lot of shows in Memphis, you see many of the same faces. Some you know personally, some are only familiar faces. Every year, Gonerfest feels like a triumph for Memphis, rock music and those people I’ve seen all year. Some of them are playing in front of big crowds; others are watching, taking photos, acting dumb or all of the above. There are also people I haven’t seen since the previous year’s Gonerfest and others I meet for the first time. This year, I had conversations about Men at Work, pro wrestling, Ron Asheton and fried chicken. I talked about photos and endurance with Bully Rook. I talked with Tom Scharpling about The Best Show on WFMU, his brilliant radio program and my favorite entertainment in the universe. Maybe there’s something anti-rock about the familiarity and comfort I feel while surrounded by people I care about, respect and genuinely like. I really don’t care. I’ve lost the patience for tortured deliberations on rock music. Gonerfest is a good time and it’s always my favorite weekend of the year. My first Gonerfest was 2005’s edition. I stood in Murphy’s watching The Barbaras play in costumes while people dumped white powder on the crowd and Bully Rook danced on the bar dressed only in a codpiece. It dawned on me at that moment that I found my people. I still feel that way.




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