Review: Dudefest 

Emerson Theater
June 21

Dude Fest is really coming into its own as a regional and probably national attraction. After Saturday’s run at the Emerson Theater, it’ll have even more notoriety.

Some of the 12 bands that pulverized the Emerson stage that day saw fit to do it in the buff.

Proceedings got out of hand (as is their custom) when Dude Fest founder Derek Black’s band Phoenix Bodies took the stage and blazed through its pummeling assault with a healthy sense of revelry. After one roisterer lost his boxers in the melee, it was on. Especially during a primal cover of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.”

Salt Lake City’s Gaza kept their clothes on, but still elicited a malevolent response from festival-goers. Their sludgy, feedback-laced doom asserted them as nihilists with a sardonic sense of humor.

While grind was the operative genre in this lineup, none delivered it with as much intensity as Houston’s Insect Warfare. Use any adjective you want to describe the attack — extreme, hyper, et. al. — the trio blasted it sans bullshit or filler, whipping the crowd into a frothing lunacy in the process. Drummer Dobber Beverly is a maelstrom of aural battery, vocalist Rahi a manimal with a demonic howl.

Headliner Pig Destroyer was the obvious main attraction. These Virginia-based iconoclasts only play a handful of dates annually. This was their second Dude Fest appearance. While their seminal causticity was on full display — Scott Hull’s octagonal-stringed guitar/bass affront and vocalist J.R. Hayes’ beyond-the-grave roar — the set was blemished by technical difficulties and false starts.

Those packing the Emerson for the sordid affair stayed for all nine hours. The turnout certainly pleased Black.

“If it wasn’t for you guys, I’d be broke right now,” he said.

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