NOW THAT'S CLASS KEEPING IT TRASHY
The Human Furnace said it best: “Horrible Fest is a gathering of the sickest, shittiest, punkest, rudest, strangest, most horrible bands on the planet. Imagine the cantina from ‘Star Wars,’ but with disgusting music, more aliens, more explosions and more scumbags. It’s Horrible Fest! Duh!”
Featuring a weird, wide array of bands, Horrible Fest VII will take place May 10 through 12, mainly at Now That’s Class, with a Saturday matinee show at Mahall’s. Since its start in 2005, Horrible Fest has taken pride in bringing together the filthiest underground rockers of the punk, metal and hardcore scenes for a few days of debauchery and eardrum damage.
Think of it as a giant DIY house party done better; behind the scenes, this wild weekend is carefully booked and planned by Now That’s Class owner Paul Schlacter and his team. Few acts are repeated from year to year, and only six bands play per evening to emphasize quality over quantity. Many of the bands are obscure and don’t play out often (a concept foreign to many Cleveland bands), so the weekend has attracted music fans from distant locales — Australia, Italy and Denmark, to name a few.
In 2005, The Black Lips in their prime headlined the first Horrible Fest, described as a crazy good time, with a healthy number of pit fights and lots of disorganization. Schlacter stepped in to work on the second edition of Horrible Fest in 2007; a more diverse and hardcore-oriented lineup resulted and developed a buzz for following years.
Since then, Schlacter and fellow organizer Russ Romance have worked to book quality bands from all over the map, geographically and stylistically. They strive to set this festival apart by avoiding the genre-centric format and focusing on the party-centric vibe. The goal is not to present a lineup of cohesive bands and super-tight sets, but rather to keep the audience guessing and make boredom impossible.
Horrible Fest kicks off on Thursday, May 10, at Now That’s Class with headlining band The Hookers. Featuring former members of Nashville Pussy and Nine Pound Hammer, it’s a solid way to set the tone for the weekend. Sharing the stage with “those satanic hillbillies” are The Human Furnace, of Ringworm fame and his band, Gluttons, described as “a rock and roll killing machine.”
“At Gluttons shows there’s more chicks shakin’ their asses, more beer flyin’, more jean vests, more skateboards and more Motorhead shirts, which is definitely OK by me,” said Furnace. This will likely be the heaviest night of Horrible Fest. Drink beer, hail Satan.
Friday’s show starts with a free outdoor backyard BBQ (free hot dogs and veggie dogs) and more hillbilly jams by Cracked Cup. The evening will offer sets by Puffy Areolas, Quintron & Miss Pussycat and Cheater Slicks, who are celebrating their 25th anniversary.
“Our 25 years as a band means we’re clinically insane,” Cheater Slicks’ Dana said. “The scene has changed for the better as far as we’re concerned; there are more points of reference for our kind of music.” As for what to expect from their set, he said, “You won’t hear anything pretty from us at Horrible Fest. We’re gonna get bombed and try to give everyone a headache.”
Saturday’s festivities begin at 2 p.m. with a matinee event at Mahall’s: free pool, free bowling, more bands. Later in the evening, back at Now That’s Class (with shuttle service between the two venues), Horrible Fest veterans Darvocets and the much-anticipated Live Fast Die top the bill, ending the weekend strong.
In its seventh incarnation, Horrible Fest has found its identity as a music-fueled rager sans pretense, sans genre restriction and sans moral fiber. Get your fill of unique, underground music laced with vulgarity and cheap beer — the makings of a good weekend.
Each day’s ticket is $10, with the exception of Thursday, which is $7. If you’re still standing on Sunday, there’s a brunch at Orale with Uno Lady. For updated lineups and more information, visit www.horriblefest.com