Scenes from the HoZac Blackout

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TV Ghost at Fridays Blackout show
  • TV Ghost at Friday's Blackout show
"The ass was also one of the images of the popular-festive system of the Middle Ages, for instance in the "Festival of the Ass.'" —Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World

Just got back from the Velvet Perineum, and boy, are my arms tired . . . from raising can after can of ice cold, refreshing Pabst Blue Ribbon to my pie hole. Eeyowch! Nobody's safe here tonight!

Like past incarnations of the Horizontal Action Blackout, this year's festival—the first since 2006—offered a diverse party platter of wild sounds for discerning hedonists young and old.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Blackouts past and this year's version was the preponderance of shutterbugs snap-snap-snappin' away on their cameras anytime someone onstage scratched his nutz, readjusted her bra, or started dancing like a maniac. There were so many citizen journalists with camera phones (to say nothing of the profesh Jim Marshall wannabes, who you never see bogarting the front of the stage at rock 'n' roll shows like these when they aren't part of a well-promoted two-day festival), you'd think this was the overthrow of the Mubarak regime. The knowledge that your antics could get you on the World Wide Web via the cell-phone video of a total stranger surely had at least a slight inhibiting effect on outwardly debauched behavior. It makes me think that in the near future, there may very well be camera-phone bans at events like this, so people can enjoy lost weekends without having to worry about it coming back to haunt them.

But then again, a friend did notice a big bottle of Canadian Club floating down in one of the Porta-Pottys (and if that doesn't sound like a Tom Waits lyric . . . ). Alex from ET Habit did a breathtaking swan dive into the ticket table at the front of the room (which all those hundreds of cameras seem to have missed). And of course there was still plenty of stumbling, bumbling, beer-infused lurching—so perhaps, in the immortal words of Tripper in Meatballs, "It just doesn't matter!"

Whether or not you missed the pickle juice, octopi, and used condoms stinking up the joint, there was still lots of incredible music—bands who transcend the fleeting hype surrounding those tedious corporatized festivals that are cropping up like mushrooms.

Scene fixture Rob Karlic was kind enough to share some of his photos from the Blackout, providing a small sample of what went down during this wild wild weekend.

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Here are excellent local ladies Squish covering the Agony Bag classic "Rabies Is a Killer."

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Mick Swagger provides killer leads for Mickey and emerged as the clear winner in the Crowd Surf Competition on Friday night, but on top of that he's available to dungeon master your troubled tween's next role-playing adventure.

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Before his performance, Mac Blackout wrote a scathing Yelp review of the Velvet Perineum's Porta-Pottys. Clearly this played a huge role in the soul-searing catharsis he delivered onstage.

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Here's Eric & the Happy Thoughts, providing their Endless Summer soundtrack. They did all the Diane Arbuses in the audience a grave disservice by wearing street clothes and putting on a simple, fun heartland rock 'n' roll show. Better to listen to than look at, in other words.

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TV Ghost, Alive With Pleasure

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This year's Blackout was so crazy, they crucified some hippies. (That's yours truly on the left, Luca Cimarusti of Loose Dudes and Heavy Times in the middle, and Reader music editor Philip Montoro on the right. In case it's not obvious, Karlic didn't take this one.)

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Nobunny, placing his rabbit's foot on his heart, solemnly memorializes those brave souls who went on panty raids during the Battle of the Sexes, never to return.

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Ya see how much more fun it is when you put your portable electronic devices away?

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Christmas Woods, the festival's MVP. Here he is dressed up as Clive Jones from Agony Bag after playing with Squish on Saturday. He also played with ET Habit on Thursday and Mickey on Friday, and provided scorching sax noise to the epic bliss that was Puffy Areolas.

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Nones fucking killed it. Fantastic Chicago skronk-wave.

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Timmy's Organism. Timmy gets better and better on guitar with each passing year, as his songs continue to mutate in fascinating directions.

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The Spits, making yet another Blackout the stuff of legend. Yes, the cymbal is on fire.

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