Drunk At A Show: Linda's Fest 2018

It’s not every day that the punk singer gets on his hands and knees to pour sincerity into an audience’s ears, but happened on Saturday, August 25 at the 9th Annual Linda's Fest, the annual grunge-conscious music-fest at Linda’s Tavern in the heart of Capitol Hill: “When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait ‘til I turned 21 so I could go to Linda’s,” testified Sandrider’s vocalist-guitarist, Jon Weisnewski. “A lot of the [so-called grunge] bars from the era are gone [or have gotten new facelifts]...but not Linda’s...” And so, an impressive crowd of leather and black denim-clad enthusiasts congregated in the small parking lot behind Linda’s to celebrate a dying breed: the last true Cap Hill rockist bat cave.

First to play were Nox Novacula, a goth-metal outfit with a cheeky sense of humor (all four members started out the set wearing matching, opaque-like-my-soul aviators). Smoke machines were à propos, as were the bespoke black bouncy-balls emblazoned with the phrase “DEATH TO FALSE DEATH METAL.” A relatively new band (they’ve been playing among the living since last October, only), tried and true gothic themes (like the story of Persephone) and chorus pedal bass sent pleasantly cold and dark references ricocheting around my mind. You know the usual name checks, but I heard an uncanny similarity to the proto-goth 1970s LA punk band, Zarkons. For the last song, Nox Novacula’s singer took off her shades, and paced the stage like a caged animal, as if signalling a story arc of doomy proportions that can only be hinted at in the daylight.