That intense energy was carried on for the next few hours or so, with Broadcaster playing next, followed by Choke Up. I’d seen the Boston—based Choke Up a while back at the Black Powder House (now known as the Church of Abraham) with The Greek Favourites, so I was pretty excited to see ‘em play again. These dudes definitely kept up the pace with catchy gang vocals and some heavy riffs, leadin’ to some pretty epic crowdsurfing and ending with their bassist and some dude in the crowd grabbin’ each other and screamin’ along together as loud as they could. Although they weren’t quite as tight as I’d remembered, they still put on a great show. Even when delayed a bit by a broken string and the quest for a different guitar they managed to keep the crowd entertained by pokin’ fun at their supposed ‘roadie’. Overall, though, this band raged.
On a side note, the Boston Bruins were playin’ the Caps, largely the local favorites, during all this, so it was pretty funny to watch the few Boston band’s reactions to their team losing in double overtime.
The next band I caught was Candy Hearts, who kinda reminded me of if Zooey Deschanel fronted up a pop-punk band. Groovy, melodic riffs compounded with female vocals with just a touch of Weezer-esque pseudo-apathy meant this New York group had the crowed groovin’ pretty hard.
Even more energy was brought by the next band, Cleveland’s Signals Midwest. With their noodly, tapped-out lead lines and catchy, emotion-driven singalongs, the crowd-surfing and dancing didn’t let up for a minute.
About an hour later, Flashlights from Titusville, Florida took the stage with an upbeat, bouncy energy. This was easily the most dancy band I caught all day. I couldn’t help but get movin’ to these guys (and gal), and it was at about this point that I realized I was gettin’ tipsy.
The Greek Favourites (more Bostonians) brought an intensity to the stage that surprisingly had yet to be seen all day. Bringin’ the heavy back a bit, these guys dedicated the set to their drummer, an aspiring comedian, who’d had an especially terrible panic attack recently (although their serious demeanor sorta made me wonder if it was really a joke hahahahaha). These dudes were even better than I’d remembered; high-energy hardcore punk with great harsh vocals and plenty’a screamin’ chants. It should probably be noted that by this point, crowd-surfing was a near constant.
Alright, so I figure it was sometime around now that I lost my little notebook, so I’ve been havin’ to write all this pulled from whiskey-tinged memories. If I hadn’t taken notes half the day, then most’a this day would’a been even hazier, but from here on is mostly a blur. If it’s any testament to the power of Stay Sweet, I’d never in my life killed a bottle’a whiskey in one day before.
I do remember Go Rydell tearin’ shit up, as well as Direct Hit!, but there were so many last minute line-up changes I’m havin’ a hard time rememberin’ who I actually ended up seein’ before I had to head home outta shear exhaustion. I know I missed Spraynard, and I’m kickin’ myself in the ass for it, but I was dead as soon as I hit my bed.
My first experience at Stay Sweet was a little overwhelming, but I’m already excited for next year. For this bein’ just the second, I swear, give it a good few years, Stay Sweet’s got potential to be the next Best Friend’s Day.
Check out the full photo gallery here: http://thehornrva.com/2012/04/18/stay-sweet-ii-day-2/