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Dude Fest at ES Jungle, July 10

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While still nursing a swollen ankle and sunburned face from Warped Tour, I thought it would be a good idea to head out to Dude Fest for some more brutality. As I approached the E.S. Jungle Saturday night, I noticed a sizable gathering of cut-off shorts, macho tattoos and sleeveless black tees outside, most of them inhabited by people.

Inside, the crowd of close to 200 looked on as heavy-hitters from the national grind/noise/hardcore scene went wild. Playing to the Dude Fest crowd, Bloomington's Racebannon went easy on the dance-metal jams (like their most recent single "Wrap the Body") and stuck to the hard and heavy sound that earned them their reputation.

Phoenix Bodies stole the show with their explosive set. Not only was their music spot-on, but their stage antics were absolutely perfect. Their performance began when co-vocalist Thomas spat strawberry milk at the crowd. They then raged through all their best work, and by the end, both frontmen had lived up to Dudefest's exhibitionistic reputation by giving the crowd full-frontal flashes.

Arab on Radar, freshly united after an eight-year pause and sounding tight and noisy, closed out the show and the second and final day of the fest. Frontman Eric Paul gave a truly energetic performance and reminded the crowd why they were the headlining act.

Dude Fest was a blast, but with dwindling attendance and rising costs, it could be in its last year. We'll be lucky to see even a reduced one-day Fest next year.

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