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Bled Fest Review

I write this having returned from the 10-hour concert event known as Bled Fest. Held in a high school in Howell, MI, Bled Fest featured 70 bands on six stages. Stages A and B were next to each other in a large gym-type area. Stages C and D were right at the entrance of the school and sounded terrible. Stage E was a classroom and Stage F was an auditorium that was home to many out-of-place post-rock bands. I came to see Every Time I Die, La Dispute and Defeater, and came away pleasantly surprised with a lot of bands I hadn't heard before. Here's who I saw.
1I Am Alaska

Walked by the classroom in which these guys were playing and thought they sounded interesting. Turns out they're a really solid post-hardcore band with influences from all around the genre. They were also one of two bands to cover "Breed" by Nirvana over the course of the day. Picked up two EPs for $5 total.

The first of three post-rock bands I saw. Nothing amazing, although their bassist had ridiculously over-the-top stage presence. Decent.
3For All Those Sleeping

Dear God was this band atrocious. Sat through them from the back while waiting for Stray From the Path. Their music is entirely bass-drops and terrible clean sections. They also went over time and the entire crowd flipped them off because they wanted to see Stray. Their shirts say "BRO IT UP AND THROW IT DOWN." Enough said.
4Stray From the Path

These guys aren't my bag, but they were very high-energy and fun. First band I saw the crowd really go nuts for.
5Lights At Sea

The best of the three post-rock bands I saw. These Grand Rapids natives have a great bassist who looks like a total dweeb. They were somewhere in between the fast-paced, straightforward style of Maybeshewill and the generic builds and climaxes of your average Explosions in the Sky clone. I'm gonna look into more of their stuff.
6The Color Morale

I got through two songs of this awful breakdowny garbage and left. Props to their vocalist for performing with tonsillitis though.
7Sunlight Ascending

This post-rock band has a drummer still in high school and was just really young in general. However, they've already been on tour with Orbs and sounded really legit. Not very unique, but solid.

I still need to look into these guys. Really fun and unique post-hardcore band. The crowd was far more excited by them then I expected, and it was the start of a night-long trend of me being too short to see anything and the crowd being extremely mosh-happy.
9The Felix Culpa

This band was really cool and I should probably start listening to them. Unfortunately they had some technical difficulties and I left after their third song to secure a spot for Defeater.
10The Chariot

This is when the crowd was really getting too wound up. The band was all about climbing all over the speakers and getting people involved to make up for their horribly bland metalcore assault. Some douchebag decided to pick a fight with a security guard and they fought throughout the crowd, coming to inches away from my face before getting broken up.

The first band that I actually came to see. Unfortunately "see" isn't really the best verb to use here, because as I said, I am short and the audience was all over the place. Stage diving everywhere at all times. Dear Father was awesome.
12La Dispute

Playing on the parallel stage as soon as Defeater finished were tourmates La Dispute. The home-state heroes drew by far the largest crowd of the night and the stage was covered by a wall of security guards. Occasionally I'd see Jordan Dreyer's head pop up but mostly I was pushed back. I had my first real pit experience during Bury Your Flame, and the crowd seemed to know every word to everything. I'd love to see them in a more intimate setting.
13Norma Jean

I intended to catch just the end of their set, but when their expected time was up they announced that they had three more songs. They played four. Boring metalcore trash.
14I Am the Avalanche

Watched them from afar waiting for ETID. Kind of boring.
15Every Time I Die

By this point I was so exhausted I didn't know if I was even ready for these guys. It was nearly impossible to escape the pit that opened up for them, which was unfortunately full of only hardcore dancers--the bane of my existence. Other than the flailing morons, they were by far the most energetic and fun band of the night. Wanderlust was of course awesome. And half of the crowd was on stage during Floater. Their headlining set was sadly cut short because of fucking Norma Jean's failure to play a half-hour set.
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