Savage Beat puts on a Pre-Fest in St. Petersburg before The Fest in Gainesville, Fla. at Lucky You Tattoo. It’s a good way to catch some Fest bands that you have schedule conflicts with or might otherwise not see. I adore these events because I am typically too busy at Fest to enjoy a band’s full set and I always discover new bands to love.
This year I was blown away by Horrible Girl & The Hot Mess from Greenville, S.C. They play a mixture of unbounded screaming and infectious melodies that could only be categorized as “riot pop.” Their songwriting has the kind of freedom where it’s so absolutely free its very existence is an act of rebellion... and I am drawn to rebellion. It’s the beating heart of punk rock.
Before playing “Graduation,” a song about moving on with your life and potentially to a place “where no one knows your dead name,” Amelia reflected on some traumatic indignities of living (and dying) in the South. Encouraging the audience to deface the graves of their trans friends buried under tombstones with names that aren’t theirs made the lyric, “If I tell you are you really gonna use my name?” hit all that much harder. And it already hit pretty hard. So when they switched gears to “5 Easy Steps to Get in the Giant Robot, Shinji” I was still wiping away tears as I started laughing at the reference to the anime, Evangelion.
The energy this band puts into nailing every emotional high and low is unbelievable. It’s loud, but also quiet. It’s howling screams, but also playful pop. It’s composed turmoil. It’s harmonious mayhem. It’s charming anarchy and I cannot wait to hear more.