September 7, 2011

Drive Invasion 2011

Filed under: Atlanta music — Frederick Noble @ 9:47 am Share RSS

Another year, another Drive Invasion. Not a lot has changed over the now 13 years of the festival. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it’s hot as hell. Sometimes it’s crowded, sometimes it’s sparse. The headlining act is usually someone you’ve probably heard of, while most of the other acts are locals you shouldknow and love (and are likely to have seen at a previous Drive Invasion.) And every year it feels like the festival that creates itself. Cook your own food, make your own drinks, set up your own seating, shade and shelter. Build an entire tiki bar just for the weekend.

sausageIn fact, some friends and I make an entire extra day of the festival by showing up the night before to start tailgating. Try that at your Mediocre Music Fest and see what it gets you.

We cooked sausages and warmed collards during Apollo 18 (BORING), then swapped screens for Final Destination 5 (and giggled a lot.) I called it a comparatively early night just before other Star Bar regulars showed up. I would’ve loved to socialize all night long but it was going to be a long day and night so I resisted and got a few hours of sleep.

By morning, a tent village popped up under the screen like so many cartoon mushrooms. Classic cars filed into the lot. And PBR cans already littered the pavement.Drive Invasion 2011









The first band of the day, Spooky Partridge, features a couple of very familiar faces from Atlanta’s music scene, as well as their 9-year-old offspring, Nick, on drums.

Spooky Partridge

Songs about homework and robots’ digestive systems for the kids, mixed in with songs about Mustangs for the parents.

Spooky Partridge

A light rain came down, turning the parking lot into a sea of tarps and canopies.


Fortunately the stages were covered so the music continued, in the form of Dusty Booze and the Baby Haters.

Dusty Booze and the Baby Haters

Dusty Booze and the Baby HatersTheir energetic, punk-influenced sound might have come a bit too early in the day for me, but the light drizzle wasn’t enough to keep me from enjoying it. They tossed out rubber roaches during their tune about the pest while the Baby Hating All Girls Chorus (or something like that) danced along.

grillBack at the Golden Palace, AKA our big yellow tarp, I fired up the grill and continued the weekend of too much food, too much booze, too much music, too many movies, too many friends – too much fun.

Johnny McGowan may be the only man to perform at every Drive Invasion. This year it’s with his new act, The Marques. Marques of Excellence? Distinction? I can’t recall. Regardless, it was excellent, and distinct from the (countless) other acts he’s been in. More British invasion and power pop than anything else I’ve seen him in.


barI’m probably missing something, but rums featured at our bar included:

  • Mount Gay, both Eclipse and Silver
  • Don Q Gold
  • Ron del Barrilito
  • Goslings
  • Sailor Jerry
  • Zaya
  • Bacardi Silver

in addition to a variety of other liquors, mixers and liqueurs, as well as homemade pickled sausage and pickled eggs. I think a couple of degenerates even brought beer.

Staying hydrated is key to pacing at any all-day event!

I think I skipped an act in there somewhere. Probably Ghost Riders Car Club. Another key to surviving events like these – frequent breaks.

By the time I was ready for more music, a bunch of apes had taken over the side stage – The Disasternauts, simian surf music.

The Disasternauts

The Disasternauts

As if that’s not enough novelty, how about a Burt Reynolds impersonator doing classic country and cornpone tunes?

Burt and the Bandits

GargantuaI never get great pictures of Gargantua because I’m too busy jumping around in complete glee. Metal with a groovy bassline about alcohol, rubber monsters and fucking. These are a few of my favorite things!Gargantua

Another all-time favorite – All Night Drug Prowling Wolves. Sweaty, sing-along rock about alcohol, personal demons and fucking up.

All Night Drug Prowling Wolves

All Night Drug Prowling WolvesThe rain became a bit more insistent, but the air was warm enough to ignore it.

All Night Drug Prowling Wolves

deer tacosVenison tacos? Thanks, degenerate EL!

The sun began to set as the rain took a break, then returned, then abated, then poured down. But everyone seemed prepared and in good spirits, and with good spirits in them.

I’d just seen Dexter Romwebber a couple of weeks ago, so I skipped most of the Duo’s set to socialize.

Dex Romwebber Duo

ribsNot to mention, one of the degenerates in the Golden Palace had just finished smoking some ribs. Degenerate AT’s face expressed my feelings perfectly!

I saw Roky Erickson a few years ago at the Athens Pop Fest, so I didn’t shove my way to the front for a decent photo.  His show at Drive Invasion was a bit more energetic than the last time I saw him, thanks, perhaps, to the younger backing band. Roky had to lean heavily on the band, missing cues here and there and forgetting a few lyrics. But nobody in the crowd seemed to care.

“I’m watching Roky Erickson from a pool at the drive in!” said one charmed fan in the makeshift swimming pool next to the stage. Roky Erickson

Some drunken idiot near the stage (me) couldn’t wait until Roky’s performance was over to start shooting fireworks. Fortunately, with the weather being what it was there was little danger of burning down anything.

(Photo courtesy of Casey Williamson.)

The music ended and the screen flickered to life. Or half life. The only circulating print of Smoky and the Bandithad been destroyed a few weeks before and Jim Stacy, drive in manager, had spent some 40 hours on the phone searching for another. The closest he could get was a blu-ray DVD out of Australia, which was projected from a player atop his truck in the front row. It was a bit small and dim and required us to crank up the stereo to full volume, but at least they showed it.

Between films, a few guys refused to let the live music rest. Though there were only a few minutes between the credits of one film and the vintage trailers before the next, Trailer Vic’s was the scene of fuzzy, mostly instrumental rock.

Trailer Vic's

They later rocked on through much of Cockfighter, which generates one of my very few complaints about the DIY aspect of the festival: have some respect, guys. Some folks are here for the movies, some for the music, some for the cars, some for just the gathering of people. Don’t eclipse one with another.

Emperor of the North featured Lee Marvin as a 1930′s hobo, riding the rails and spitting out weird slang and beating the snot out of various people. It sounds a lot more interesting than it actually was. Sometimes it felt like the train rides were shown in real time – you know, 4 hours to get from New York to Philly.

Cockfighter, AKA Born to Kill, didn’t have enough going on to keep me awake. I crawled into my tent and tried to sleep – not an easy task for a light sleeper with a party raging a hundred yards off.

In the morning, the parking lot looked like the debris field from a major airline catastrophe. Some of the hardcore invaders hadn’t slept. A blue Charger burned rubber through a pile of bottles and cans, two shapely ladies clinging to the hood and giggling. That’s Drive Invasion in a nutshell.

Drive Invasion 2011

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