The Lost Weekend: Bands, booze and brylcreem boost another Heavy Rebel

The Lost Weekend: Bands, booze and brylcreem boost another Heavy Rebel

If it wasn’t obvious from the Trade Street procession of flame-emblazoned hot rods and customs dropped a quarter-inch from the asphalt, then the skull-tatted baby dolls and greasy shop-rags-as-pocket squares were a sign that trouble was brewing in downtown Winston-Salem. With more leather than the ’68 Comeback Special and more scandalous ink than Sarah Palin, Mark Sanford and Michael Jackson combined, the 9 th Annual Heavy Rebel Weekender hit the Camel City’s Millennium Center like an uninsured 1958 Bel-Air with a 348 big block this Fourth of July weekend. While the jalopniks simmered outside, the party raged from within. Despite having a festival guide with uncharacteristically fragile-looking models and — gasp — a muscle car on the cover, hundreds of punks, greasers, rockers and rebs somehow managed to stumble, stagger and stomp their way to through the venue’s four stages without incident. Those coming expecting casual fisticuffs were no doubt disappointed — the jovial nature of the crowd belied its otherwise rugged exterior. The closest thing to a real fracas erupting happened at the front of the Underground Stage Friday night, with San Diego’s the Strikers whipping a contingent of slickly-coiffed meatheads into a slam-dancing frenzy. In short, the entire weekend was a blast from top to bottom. Strangely enough, it didn’t truly feel like Heavy Rebel until Atlanta’s Grinder Nova took the main stage at 9 p.m. on Friday night. It’s true that the prevailing mindset is of the maniacal psychobilly variety, but there’s something about a gaggle of brass and maraca players in prison-orange jumpsuits fronted by a Dapper Dan with a bigbody Epiphone that lends itself to the rebel spirit incarnate. Regardless, it was the Cash-meets-Clutch and Presley-plus-Priest ethos that dominated most of the shows, with the aforementioned Strikers and their shirtless, wild-eyed upright bassist among the weekend’s first acts to incite an act that would soon become standard protocol. With each of the four bars being stocked with an endless supply of Pabst Blue Ribbon, a trash-chic beer that’s not even cup-worthy, the cans invariably found themselves living a second life as anti-performer ballistics, fired from the arm cannons of every drunk schmohawk in range and able to bring the hostiles into partial focus. No one really seemed to mind, either, as slinging spent beer casings become as much a part of the collective Rebel unconscious as passively chain-smoking America Spirits. Weekend warrior Sasquatch took more than a few on the chin without so much as a blink during one of the baddest sets of the festival, as he and his Sickobillies tore through their garage-cow-punkmetal catalog full of delightfully filthy lyrics. His between-song repartee was even bluer, especially when he implored the ladies in the house to put their fingers in their, uh, “special places.” On the other side of the Millennium Center’s bottom level, the Jailhouse stage was often bothered by sound levels that ranged from muddy to dangerously earsplitting that made a few of its shows unwatchable. Spare the “if it’s too loud” shtick. However, anyone who checked out Lust ( had other reasons to be entertained, namely singing Christmas trees. Foxy Moxy sent a few guys in attendance

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Grinder Nova plays the main stage on July 3 at heavy rebel. (photo by ryan snyder)