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On Saturday, April 5th, I was lucky enough to attend day 2 of Winston-Salem, NC music festival Phuzz Phest. The festival took place at multiple venues throughout downtown but I decided to stay at Krankie’s Coffee as two of my favorite bands were playing there that night.

The venue itself really couldn’t have been any better- if you ever pass through Winston-Salem, I’d stop at Krankie’s. It’s a really unique place with a great atmosphere and REALLY good coffee.

I unfortunately missed the first two acts, but Dean Spunt from No Age said they were both great, so I’ll take his word for it.  When I arrived, Primovanhalen, self-described as “experimental, doom and psych” was just beginning their set. It was EXTREMELY loud- I’m talking head-splitting feedback- and the fog machine was on full blast. (Towards the end of the set, the smoke detector went off and the drummer went on a rant about his wife.) So, not really something I’d listen to normally, but I will say that the bassist was incredible and the music was actually pretty great when there wasn’t a droning high-pitched noise added in.

Next up was Brain F≠ (pronounced Brain Flannel, no lie.) Pretty standard garage. Their set lasted exactly 23 minutes. Kind of a throw-away.

Then came all-female punk/rock band Ex Hex. They were outstanding. Not only was their music great, but they were excellent performers- at the end of their set, 98% of the people on the floor were dancing. They were definitely crowd-pleasers too, judging by the thunderous applause. I’d absolutely see them again. I bought their debut 7″ at the show and it’s been spinning quite a bit.

And then, the main event: noise rock duo No Age! As soon as they walked on, everyone went HAM. That night I experienced my first mosh pit…won’t be doing that again any time soon. It got pretty violent, so after I was shoved into the merch table a few times I wormed my way to the back of the room. Anyways, the show itself was phenomenal- I never thought two people would be able to produce that much musical power. No Age members Dean Spunt and Randy Randall were very nice people too; Randy gave shoutouts to previous acts of the night, and Dean told an anecdote about playing a show in Raleigh many years ago involving a man puking on his drum set. Then Randy jumped into the pit and chaos ensued. I talked to him briefly after the show, and for lack of a better word, he was very chill and wasn’t fazed by seeing audience members spontaneously shoving each other onto the ground.

It was a good night. My very patient friend Anna, who I’d dragged along with me, even had a mostly enjoyable time. It was definitely worth the $20, and I’d go again. And if I did, I would also bring closed-toe shoes.

 

Photography: No Age, taken by me; left, Dean Spunt, right, Randy Randall.

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