Janky Fest I- A Review and Self Inflicted Wound
The first installment of Janky Fest on November 19th in Outer Space celebrating the Janky Smooth 2 Year Anniversary featured OG punks The Dwarves last week was super lame. Only a retarded music critic could throw an 18 and over event as a thank you to his all ages readership. Where does this dad rock douche bag Danny Baraz get off booking a large lineup of bands whose local fans couldn’t even attend the event, all because some anxious reactionary in a pseudo DIY venue was scared of pissed off punks in a recently Post-election, President elect, Donald Trump world? Sources tell me that’s literally the initial reason given by the venue for the switch, even though it changed to something a bit less ridiculous in the following days. Clearly, young punks of helicopter parents would breathe fire, shit on the floor and not buy enough beer and liquor because they’re pissed Trump won an election they didn’t even vote in. Zing.
I don’t know Danny Baraz at all but he seems like just another privileged “straight white male” (even though Baraz doesn’t sound “white”) mansplaining and curating the injustice in the world through his pseudo intellectual political leanings, which he forces down the throats of those that are barely even interested in his opinion on music. It’s clear that he is exploiting the struggles of everyone from POC to up and coming musicians by magnifying the devaluation of music, art and photography and insisting that almost all Janky contributors work for free, every band at Janky Fest plays for free, aside from the Dwarves, the most sexist band that ever spawned from the patriarchy. Even though he’s never tried to sell even one banner ad to anyone in the entire 2 year history of JankySmooth.com, he should be ashamed of himself. Or is this dude really working everyday to churn out his own mediocre content, manage a team of contributors, act as Editor in Chief, manage the now massive library of images and now- throw an understaffed festival, help stage manage, act as the master of ceremonies, situate the load in and hospitality for 13 bands and then only charge $10 for entry and $2 for Pabst Blue Ribbon tall cans? Sounds like an idiot.
Danny B- a shitty businessman who has no clue what he’s doing. He had an opportunity to exploit his alliance with Pabst Blue Ribbon and their generosity in providing 40 cases of Pabst tall cans and didn’t make a cent. He ended up giving away too many drink tickets and running up his own liquor tab at the Outer Space bar to lubricate some friends, placing the focus on making sure everyone is having fun rather than making cash. Make up your mind! Either you want to have a party or you want to throw a music festival. Make up your fucking mind.
I can’t completely shit on Janky Fest, though. That lineup was local L.A. garage/punk rock perfection, even though being a music critic is the lowest form of written expression. I know the show was all ages when it was announced but only a dumbfuck would change the age requirement a couple weeks before the day of the show and put the Penniback Records showcase right at the front of the lineup, insuring that surprise thrashers, Clit Kat and surf/psych/punk Super Lunch would be playing to a small crowd that included the sound guy, Adam of Swamp Ass.
As a semi large party of friends and bands in the L.A. music scene, Janky Fest MIGHT be construed as “delivering”. As a money-making event that serviced the demographics of their audience, Janky Fest was a fart in an elevator.
The lineup at Janky Fest delivered both on bringing the best of the harder edged, up and coming L.A. bands like The Birth Defects, Sloppy Jane and Wild Wing, along with bands hardly anyone has seen or heard before such as hardcore noise outfit, Swamp Ass and the dystopian, distorted beats and rhyme flow of angry edged, hip hop horror punks, Kate Mo$$.
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French Vanilla delivered on the promise of a vibe unlike any other band playing the show- with an outraged saxophone laid on top of a nerdy brand of music that made it cooler than any of the well dressed music and musicians that have dripped some aesthetic swag on the formerly Seven Jeans clad crowd in Los Angeles and the sarcastic and cynical ginger angst of the high strung, freckled glory of singer, Sally Spitz.
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Sloppy Jane juxtaposed French Vanilla with a literal brand of naked aggression, gyrating against and dry humping the leg of Haley Dahl’s cocktail of proverbial spit and semen. The Janky audience drank it down with a chaser of unorthodox and unlikely guitar riffs for an impressive musical structure that Dahl can hang her Kimono on.
Having veteran degenerates like Death Hymn Number 9 and seated psychopathic axe man of mangled guitar tone, Troy Bootow act as a role model in rearing these young bands is the best/worst idea in the past 10 years of music in L.A.- but Death Hymn delivered on their early evening performance, as per usual.
It was annoying when Janky Smooth founder, Danny Baraz would take to the microphone to announce bands, mutter some unintelligible drunken nonsense and berate the party goers for their lack of participation in lauding some of the extraordinary performances that took place both upstairs in L.A. Space Camp’s cozy performance area, Outer Space and downstairs at the outside performance space that featured changeover sets from the freak show of musical prodigiousness, Atomik Kangaroo and indie psych sweetheart, Veronica Bianqui, who was joined byThe Blank Tapes’, Matt Adams in a stripped down performance.
Who is he to insist that we weren’t being vocal, interactive and unifying the violence enough?
I’ve had the unfortunate experience of reading some of his criticisms of L.A. music scene concert goers in some past reviews and all I can say is that he’s lucky that his roster of contributors like Brent Smith, Lauren McKnight, Rob Shepyer and Paige Vreede, who intelligently made the decision to not show her face and be so closely associated with this event, and photographers like Josh Allen, and OG Janky mustachioed man meat, Taylor Wong, inexplicably dedicate the amount of time and effort they do to infusing something interesting and unexpected into the pages of Janky Smooth. Photographers, Jessica Moncrief and multi talented music journalist utility man Johnny/Johann Ramos “the hustla”, also avoided being seen at this scene. Smart move. And what about the other OG image capturer David “Minivan” Evanko? Dude is the smoothest camera lens Casanova in L.A. and he obviously had a million better things to do between San Diego and Echo Park.
By the time OG skate punks, Dead Fucking Last took the stage, some of the early bands’ supporters left and the hardcore punk purists shuffled into Outer Space.
DFL vocalist Tom Davis leveraged decades of punk wisdom to incite the party into getting more circular and physical while guitarist, Monty Messex and crew delivered a tight and blistering sonic foundation upon which Davis could dive from and The motherfucking Dwarves could delve deeper into.
Without the addition of DFL, The Dwarves might’ve had to work much harder to get the crowd loose and limber. With Nick Oliveri now a regular fixture on stage with the Dwarves, his presence throughout the later hours of Janky Fest brought just as much excitement as that lovable blight on humanity, Sir Blag Dahlia.
Throughout The Dwarves headlining set at Janky Fest, the activity in the house surpassed all the previous 8 hours of music combined. Elbows were swingin and knees were lifting and lunging along with the spirit of the party, so the drunken sarcasm and glamorous buffoonery of Lauren McKnight faced the fun violence with a smile and a look on her face of endless joy- even with multiple rips in her spectacular lime green quinceañera dress. At this moment, Janky Fest felt like the semi intimate celebration that won the brawl and fist fought with the concept of a traditionally promoted and executed music festival.
The Dwarves launched into NEW songs that were just as dope and welcome as cuts off the infamous, Blood, Guts and Pussy. There are fewer old school era punk bands that get the respect and love that the Dwarves do, that can also engage the punk purists and loyalists with latter career catalog of songs in the set list and the unheard of enthusiasm from the punk rock snobs in the audience that went along with The Dwarves performing new, Nick Oliveri collaborated cuts- songs that included a ferocious Oliveri vocal in tandem with Blag.
Danny Baraz was later quoted on record on the Janky Twitter account ignorantly proclaiming that there isn’t another old school punk band on par with The Dwarves that is easier to work with, or better to book and communicate directly with than Blag, who showed incredible flexibility when the venue rigidly and fearfully switched this thing from All Ages to 18+ and also when, later in the night, he was bound, gagged and violated by a couple of women half his age. Atta ol boy Blag!
Janky Smooth and the lack of intelligence they displayed in creating a verbal agreement with the venue made them powerless when the bait and switch from All Ages occurred. The layout and freshness of L.A. Space Camp, it’s dangerous border town feel of skid row adjacentness and vacuum of any of the traditional booking and promotional players in L.A. club music was the seemingly perfect setting and ambiance. The concept for Janky Fest was always less rules, not more. Oops.
An immediate change in venues should’ve occurred or a burning down of the building and dancing in it’s ashes, or really any sort of decisive action to insure the people who actually consume the crap in the pages of Jank on a regular basis were present in the celebration of it’s 2 year anniversary. There is no one else to blame in the dickless lack of swift action to make sure the pubescent punk and garage rock contingent that are the patrons of JankySmooth.com could actually come to the party, than Janky Smooth themselves. But honestly, there ended up being the perfect amount of people for a party instead of a festival but when everything was said and done, the pre-sale ticket excitement gave way to almost 50 reversed paypal and Venmo transfers and dozens more that generously allowed the Jankies to keep their milk money, despite being the morons that they are.
The people that did make it inside Space Camp for Janky Fest were fucking amazing, for the most part- except the kids that were too cool to clap and too Beach Gothy and cynical to smile when met with good music and friendliness.
Janky Fest was the party we wanted once we actually started partying. But even with the easy target and justifiable indignation that could be leveled at he who will not be named, the folks that work events at Space Camp contributed to the fun vibes and without them and the last minute heroics of part time Jankster, Michelle Hernandez, Janky Fest would’ve been a clusterfuck of epic proportions. Shout out to Brandon Bustillos. Along with the surprisingly incredible sound (if you ask anyone but the Dwarves) engineered by Swamp Ass member, Adam Lopez, the flow and musical performances at Janky Fest could NOT have been better than they were that day.
All things being equal, maybe the folks at Janky Smooth learned a few things about throwing shows in DIY venues. Maybe they can add some smooth to their jankiness on the next go round. Maybe the next two years of content can be less sucky than the first two years.- but we won’t hold our breath!
Words: Dirt Bag Von Douche
Photos: Taylor Wong & Josh Allen