When I got the approval for my Amnesia Rockfest press credentials it was almost certain that I would not be able to attend this year. I was at a job interview when I received the email from the festival and I only had 2 weeks to make it happen. Because I was in between jobs and I also recently lost my pay card from my previous employer, I was working with a budget of zero dollars and zero cents and mathematically I would need an estimated $500 to be able to afford travel, boarding, food and beer.
In 2014 when I went to Montebello QC for Rockfest my partner in crime: Cardiac_In_Overdrive put together a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds for me to go but time was not on my side this year. On Facebook I posted that I needed a money miracle to get me there this year (wondering if the few millionaire friends I have might budge) but I knew I would most likely not be able to go. But then the week of the concert I received a message from an online friend named Russ: “Wanna ride with me?” My new-found friend Russ (who is not a millionaire) was that miracle that I was hoping for.
I had never met Russ face to face before but he read my Dying Scene article about Amnesia Rockfest in 2014 and he commented on the post that next time I ride with him and low and behold, I did. When I met up with him for the first time we immediately hit it off just like old time friends, so any inkling of him being a serial killer had been put aside and I figured I would take my chances.
So our adventure begins…
We drove 80 miles up the Adirondack Northway listening to compilations of Amnesia Rockfest artists that Russ had assembled and out of nowhere he screams “FUCK, FUCK!,FUCK!!!” Perhaps his crazy side was now coming to the surface and I should be ready to open the door and make a jump for it. No that wasn’t it, what he had realized was unthinkable, it was unimaginable, no he didn’t, he couldn’t have forgotten his passport. He did. So we drove 80 miles back to Albany, which for you mathematicians that’s 160 total miles that were driven only to arrive back at our starting point.
And so our adventure begins, again.
Luckily my wife got us a rad hookup at a Plattsburgh hotel, which was surprisingly nicer than either of us expected. We crashed there for the night, after consuming multiple cans of yeast-fermented malt, flavored with hops and lime of course. In the AM we will take advantage of the hot breakfast in the lobby, southern-style biscuits and gravy, eggs, waffles, cereal, bacon, yogurt, fruit and coffee. After breakfast we fueled up and headed out, over the border and through the woods to Rockfest we will go.
Entering Montebello brought back the amazing feeling of home. Yes, a small and amazing town that welcomes fellow punk-rockers and metal-heads with wide and open arms. Montebello has a resident population of just under 1,000 but for these next few days nearly a million people will walk through the streets, camp in the hills and attend the festival grounds. My cohort Russ and I had set up camp in the yard of Jacque and Julia, a nice couple that had offered us shade, fresh coffee in the morning, a grill and a couple of porta-potties away from the over-used potties used by the masses. I however shit in style as I used my credentials to access the washrooms at the Chateau.
Below are some shots of the bands that I was most interested in, so if you wanted to see pics of Insane Clown Posse, I am sorry but I didn’t feel like being sprayed with Faygo. This trip to me was more about reliving the experience that I had two years ago at Rockfest and to escape life for a while. For my recap on the punk bands at Amnesia Rockfest 2016: NOFX, The Adicts, DRI, Sum 41 and more, CLICK HERE for my Dying Scene coverage.
Corrosion of Conformity was an act that just showed that they were there for all the right reasons. These guys just had a good time playing from what I could tell. I chatted briefly with Pepper Keenan at the Chateau and he’s a pretty chill dude.
A Day to Remember was the band Russ was totally anxious to see and they were a good portion of the soundtrack we listened to on the way up to Montebello.
The Used put Utah on the map, well Utah has always been on the map but now people know it’s there, I think. Either way the band played the main stage and the crowd was one of the thickest, with a sea of fans being surfed on.
Lamb of God was the other band that Russ could not miss. L.O.G.is from Richmond F**k’n Virginia which is Russ’s hometown and he even appears in the video “Set To Fail”, he’s the guy in the white t-shirt, can’t miss him
Twisted Sister has been all over the news about their “Donkey Ball” experience at the festival but they still put on one hell of a show. I’m sure that there are valid points on both sides of the dispute between TS and Rockfest but I am staying the hell out of it. What I can say is that there were many bands that had a great time and from seeing things from behind the scenes as I have, I know Alex and his crew have been doing a great and professional job.
Anthrax playing their rendition of Joe Jackson’s “Got the Time” and “Anti-Social” were not only crowd-pleasers but those are the tunes I was waiting to hear live for years.
Jane’s Addiction was by far the band that I wanted to see the most. They came out strong with “Been Caught Stealing, while lady dancers danced provocatively around them throughout the show. I even heard some ladies asking “isn’t that the guy from that tattoo show?”
Ice Cube is known to always have that angry look on his face but I know I caught a grin from the man as he stared out at the endless crowd of fans. He may have also noticed that someone in the crowd was holding a sign that read “Are we there yet?” Cube did make a statement regarding the fact that he is in a lot of movies now and for the critics he shouted “you better check yo self before you wreck yo self!”
When I returned home it was not just back to reality but it was realizing my family now has a new reality to deal with. My mother had been diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer in her lungs. I knew that she was awaiting the results which is why it was so important for me to runaway to Canada for a few days to clear my mind. She wasn’t supposed to have the results until I got back but she found out while I was away. She did her best to not have me find out while I was at Rockfest because she didn’t want my goodtime to be hindered.
That’s the kind of Mom I have, she always puts everyone else before herself. Well, Mom your surgery is tomorrow and I will be there with you. I just talked to you on the phone and I know you are scared as we all are but you’re going to be alright, We will get through this together. After all we are the “FIGHTING IRISH!”
Thank you to my Mom for everything and I do mean everything.
Thank you to Russ, Jeremy, Jay, Dad, Julia, Jacque, Laurie, Caroline and Alex Martel for making this trip possible. Hope to see you again next year.
P.S. FUCK Cancer!!!!!