It's pretty hard to recover from a six-hour night of non-stop rock n' roll. The second night of Total Fest, in fact, felt like being put through a blender (in a good way) with four stages set up—two stages downstairs in the Palace and two upstairs in the Badlander—to provide for a constantly revolving cast of bands.
There were too many bands to see, considering the overlapping sets, but some of the most outstanding ones I caught included Vera, Taco Cat and The Bugs.
Vera consists of drummer Jen Tachovsky (previously of Sasshole) and guitarist Cindy Laundrie (previously of Saved for this Dark Dawn, Spanker). Their galloping rhythms stitched together with creeping vocals were catchy but also completely unpredictable. And like their music, their stage presence is alluring in both a sweetly charming way and a mischievously dark way.
Taco Cat managed to cause an eruption of crowd surfing. Girls and boys took turns getting passed around the crowd, which was sort of funny because it's not like there was a lot of room for travel. Still, the Seattle punk group with their power pop stomp got everyone animated, bouncing around with the sort of wiliness of kernels in oil.
Veterans of Total Fest, The Bugs, played songs like “Spaceman or Apeman?” And “Fuckin' A Right” and “The Living Dead” (“You've gotta be tough to come back from the living dead”) all proving that they haven't lost their deadpan, minimalist pop humor. The duo switched back and forth between drums and guitar, and played up their spastic geekiness onstage that, frankly, with such clever songs just makes them seem really cool.
Salt Lake City's Le Force, who was supposed to play Saturday, ended up filling a slot toward the end of the night, gathering together a crowd of headbangers who seemed totally enchanted by the band's speed metal odyssey marked by false harmonics and quelled often by nightmarish metallic lullabies. The band is absolutely hypnotizing, and they know it. After they were done people started chanting “One more song! One more song." To no avail.
But, then again, it was time for the Vile Blue Shades to go on. And everyone who’s been to a recent Total Fest knows what that means. It means pulsating dance rhythms and psychedelic melodies. It means a dancer mummified in nylon materials and a bra gyrating on stage. It means a band of eight people that play three layers deep. The cherry on top to a sweaty, great night.