In January 2012, I was convinced to go down to London by a fellow Green Day fan for a large gathering. What started off as a simple together began to form into an all-weekend festival in simple celebration of Kerplunk's 20th Anniversary. The events that proceeded was some of the most unforgettable fun I've ever had.
Originally this was going to be a meet up to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Kerplunk's release, but slowly was turning into something much more. The organiser, Tony Anastasi (or, as I like to call him, "the undisputed biggest Green Day fan ever) randomly decided the fortnight before that it would become a small weekend festival, and as time was getting closer the idea of going was getting more tempting. Nothing was certain, but good bands from California were playing, a strong meet up, and a chance to go to London to see all this? What's not to like?
Onward to ye great punken yonder!
In London, I stayed in the tiniest Hotel Room ever, with no windows, journeyed the city by myself, experiencing the wonders of Camden, Leicester Square, Waterloo and Soho all by myself. I even came across my friend Kerr at 10:30pm, on a Friday, to ask for directions. How, in all the world, do you come across a fellow scot randomly, near the London Eye, in a city of 8 million people at 10:30 at night? The chances of such an incidence baffled me.
Anyway, on the day of the show: I arrived to hear of the disorganisation of the show, hearing that only so many of the bands turned up so far and one in jail at customs as they didn't believe the band was to be there. Nevertheless, what happened was possibly the best weekend I could ask for, albeit disorganised and full of its own calamities, that didn't stop the fun we came for.
What people should know about the bands performing is they were all related to Green Day in one form or the other: bands like Bobby Joe Ebola, Prima Donna, The Phenomenauts, Kepi Ghoulie, Fever Charm, and The Mystic Knights of the Cobra, are all part of the Oakland music scene, and while all were given very short performances, it was a great opportunity to have them play in one of the Punk capitals of the world.
I also made great friends with a few of the bands; Corbett Redford (of Bobby Joe Ebola, a folk punk acoustic satire band) was one of the guys I really enjoyed talking to that weekend. Very nice man and very patient, good to hear of his experiences and he gave me a copy of one of his CDs, and some badges! I really liked their Album "F", which I was given a copy of, and while Bobby Joe Ebola is not of everyone's tastes the album gives another perspective on all things in life, and gives good comedy on top of it.
Making new friends of all sorts
I also made good friends with Tony, very nice guy I still speak to this day, and Tanya Elder, a very nice lady from New York City who took some great pictures of the weekend. Mystic Knights of the Cobra were really cool people to talk to, as well as Prima Donna. Meeting all these bands was great and it's certainly one of my favourite stories to tell. Everyone was so nice and fun to be around, and have a good show to see.
I also met the band with the best gimmick you will ever see go along with their musical style; The Phenomenauts, a band who play music in Surf-Electronic Rock style (or Rocket Roll), and their fabulous companions. One of my biggest regrets from the weekend was not buying some of their merch, they had some of the best. And while I don't remember the jokes shared from my sleep deprived state, I shared some good jokes with Angel Nova. I've been getting into The Phenomenauts since then, certainly one my favourites as well as Bobby Joe Ebola from that weekend.
Also that weekend, I brought some portraits of Billie Joe to give out, but I saved a lot of the mounted copies for the bands to give them my respect for playing that weekend. A lot of people wanted those portraits, which I didn't expect, but it was great to see everyone so grateful to get a copy.
Saturday the music was held at The Rhythm Factory in South London, with an afterparty at The Pipeline, and on Sunday the event was held at Dingwalls in Camden. Both nights were great, and I do wish I could've stayed the whole Sunday night but the few days I had in London, I seen a lot of sights, got lost at night, slept in the tiniest yet best Hotel room ever, saw some amazing people and met some amazing bands from Oakland. Truly, the best celebration they could've given in respect to a famous band like Green Day and their music.
All in all, I went to London at the very last minute, venture the city, get lost, sleep in a tiny hotel room, meet one of my friends in the middle of the night, go to a very disorganised punk festival, meet people of all sorts from 12 in the afternoon until 2 in the morning in strange parts of town, and to be honest, I couldn't have asked for anything better.