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I think we're just about done here. 

I was going to write about White Cowbell Oklahoma but I think I'll just post photos instead:

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The Jagerettes bring treats for the band. We did not get any of these treats. So this was not really a night for women's lib, etc, unless you enjoy dirty, objectionable comments and being sprayed by pumpkin seed (and yes, sometimes I do.) At one point all the women in the audience were warned that they should stand back "or else you might get pregnant."

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Monotonix weren't allowed to do this at Gus'...ha ha ha. Nyah.

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Pumpkin splatter really sprays. The next morning I woke up with pumpkin in my hair, nose and bra.

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All the women were invited onstage to dance and grind with the White Cowbell Men, but didn't even get their own Jager shots. Apparently the police were there, and there was a lineup about two miles long for most of the night, and there were naked clown-men in the back. All in all, it seemed appropriate to end the festival dizzy with tequila and covered in the goo of a gourd.

Here's a rundown of all my favorite things from this year:

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The Just Friends brunch was delightful. This was my first time. I ordered a vegan manwich and a beer and watched Mike Evin rile up the crowd, stomping and smashing away at those keys like nobody's business (at 11 am!). It was nice and cozy to see the same people you've been drinking with and yelling at bands with all week in a fuzzy hungover atmosphere. A fine community event!

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Oh man. Statues are so, so good. I know that they've played here a lot, and I'm again revealing the fact that I am terminally behind-the-times here, but wow. Machine-gun rattling punk that doesn't give a shit. The guy in the photo lost his glasses near the end of the set and he was like, "Shit. Oh well." Overall this festival has reminded me how satisfying it is to see tight, impertinent little punk bands like these guys, Jay Reatard and...

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Gulp. I feel if I referred to Trigger Effect as a "fun little punk band" they might very well tear out my jugular. These guys opened for White Cowbell on Saturday and, well, shit. I have to say that they made Monotonix look like cute little puppy dogs. Their lead singer is one of those guys who looks you right in the eye while he is screaming at you with his snarly mouthful of broken, jagged teeth. They were definitely the heaviest band I saw at Pop Explosion---they were nihilisitc, jarring and made me feel like I was going to pass out. I think I'm in love.

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I've heard mixed things about the Islands set at the Marquee but they sounded gorgeous in the Pavillion. Nick Thorburn is a really intriguing character onstage. I remember seeing him with the Unicorns in a pink cape, acting like a complete asshole. There is a maturity in his presence now, and also in the music---as Laura said, there are certainIslands songs where they take the best bits of the Unicorns and spread them out to these epic, straining points. Their last song---I think it was "Swans (Life after Death)"---exploded into this violent crescendo and as with Trigger Effect I thought I was either going to be sick or cry. Thankfully, nothing happened (you gotta be tough and represent at these all-ages things) but I left feeling a bit shaky, the music playing on a loop in my head.

Anyway, it was a great year, a great festival, and none of us died, so I send a virtual high-five to Sue and Laura, who, like the Wu-Tang Clan, showed they ain't nuthin' to f**k wit. Till next year, PEACE OUT!

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