Skate Fest Broadway: Midwest Underbelly Unite!
Around 3pm the residents of Avenue A heard the first of a long series of crisp snaps of hard maple against concrete, complete with the pop of hard urethane wheels hitting the ground. While these sounds were not new to the neighborhood, the amount of time between each snap and pop was shrinking, and the sounds altogether grew into a cacophony of unfettered sweat and adrenaline. Batten down the hatches, there are hoodlums about.
Contrary to what some nosy neighbors might believe, this was not a gathering of greasy hoodlums, this was Skate Fest, a local event which aims to bring together art, music, and skateboarding, the three staples of our Midwest underbelly. The event was hosted by Skate Fest Omaha, who is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the local skate community through events, incredibly affordable skate lessons for all ages ($10 for admission, that is crazy cheap!), and building skateparks in local underutilized and opportunistic areas. The event included skate competitions, local vendors, food trucks, live art, and live music, the whole shebang, and what a shebang it was!
I arrived at the tail end of the last competition. Far too late to understand what was going on, I joined the audience in forming a human chain against the guard rails surrounding Broadway Skate Park, attempting to make sense of things. The announcer was spouting what would seem like gibberish to the untrained ears, announcing tricks performed by the contestants, along with periodic time checks. With 30 seconds left I snapped a pic of one of the contestants attempting to tail slide a rail. Unfortunately, he did not land this trick, but got cheers from the crowd as he got back on his board, eager to snag another trick before the timer ran out.
Once the timer ran out, I surveyed the grounds. The Skate Fest dudes had filed all the right permits allowing skaters to take to the streets, or street, shutting down North 14th street along the west side of the park for vendors of the food, art, and otherwise variety. My favorite was the wall of skateboard art, which served as a taste test of several local artists' work. The boards were, and still are, being auctioned off digitally, with a portion of the proceeds going to the artists, and the rest going to Skate Fest Omaha’s Sk8 Skool program. The boards will remain up for auction until 12pm July 16th.
Several artists were even painting on site. I caught a pic of Angelina Luna Painting this fantastic work. You can follow her on insta @lunasart_, and don’t forget the underscore. Thanks for the pic Angelina, I love the choice of color, and the imagery is evocative and psychedelic. Very cool.
It was around 7pm when Local Rapper M4K3SH1FT took the makeshift stage. I’ve covered M4K3SH1FT before in his band Even Coast, which is a local punk rock trio. The guy is obviously a massive talent, and a major player in the Omaha local music scene. After rocking the stage with his solo trap tracks, he brought on a guest rapper to perform a track of which he did a guest appearance on and later several more musicians to help him cover a Tech N9ne track. I love to see musicians come together like this. This was made even more special since his set was only 15 minutes long. The dude clearly has a magnetic personality that attracts other artists, and it was gracious of him to give them time.
You can find M4K3SH1FT’s music on his YouTube channel here. His track Dreadnought was my favorite part of his set as well as his new album.
In between each set I took the time to snag more photos of cool skaters, so there will be skate photos in between each band. After the first set I had a skater named Laine approach me after seeing me snag photos of other skaters to give me a heads up on a cool trick she was running. I had already tried to grab a few of the crazy modified 360 ninja like Bonelesses they were doing off the bank and asked them about it. She said that she had made that up a while back and they called it a “Monster Boneless.” Then he asked if I wanted to snag photos of it. Below is the result.
Go check out Laine’s skateboard and clothing company on Instagram @skatemobilemn. She posts occasional vids and photos of her xl hop there.
Next on the stage was C10, whose dreamy hip hop dreamscapes made for great skating music. At one point he announced, “this next one is about a girl, I no longer see, but this song is fire.” He was right, it was fire. Check out his album Toadstools and Epiphanies, a lo-fi hip hop trip punctuated by straight bars and stories surrounding substances. It’s pretty solid! Nice production, and the story song concept provides a unique experience.
You can trip to Toadstools and Epiphanies on any of the platforms on C10’s distrokid.
After another skate break and a sick tail whip from the resident scooter kid, Jay Influential stormed the stage, swinging pigtails, and spitting bars in his orange tinted shades. Jay has been running up the local hip-hop scene with his emotionally intelligent verses for a little over 5 years and has worked with loads of local hip-hop talents, like J. Crum, King iso, and TKO. Jay attracted one of the largest crowds of the night, which was understandable considering his history within the scene. Mr. Influential has clearly grindin his heart out over the years.
Surprise, surprise, Anthony Flakus was there, this time playing drums! Can you believe that? Guy is not only a fantastic guitar player and a stellar DJ, but he also plays the drums pretty well. I guess you CAN have your cake and eat it too, you just have to take 5-minute naps in between each set and eat while you are on The Can…. Probably. Long time Slime & Grime readers will know him from any one of the numerous times we’ve covered any one of his many projects, most noticeably Witherfang. He was playing tonight with his post hardcore pop-punk trio missing the third, Midwest Coastal. The highlight of their set was their track Harboring, which has a killer chorus. Their set was the tonal shift for the night as it harbored in the wave of punk rooted bands to come.
Try and keep with Flakus and Midwest Coastal if you dare on their Spotify page.
Check out the grip on the sound guy’s board. I love the Dead Kennedys and appreciate the message. All guys, gals, and everyone in between are welcome here, and anyone against that can leave. It seems like this message is needed now more than ever. With the growing number of open white supremacists spouting white replacement theory behind thinly veiled “arguments,” it’s amazing seeing this kind of inclusivity amongst the community.
After another set change, the sun was starting to go down, and my boys Dullparty took the stage. They had this rad custom Dullparty skateboard, complete with golden Ace trucks and some Spitfire wheels with a bit of wear and tear on the graphic. Glad to see it’s been rolling. Very cool. Dullparty rocked their unique brand of shoegaze, screaming out over the fuzz about their roommate’s annoying love of plants and how much their friends hate them. I always enjoy seeing these dudes perform. Their music is pretty chill and was a nice addition to the lineup.
By the end of their anything but dull set, the sun was mostly down. A large chunk of the Skate Fest crowd had left, leaving behind dedicated skaters and concertgoers to continue the party. Even though it was getting late, there were still plenty of tricks to capture, and of course the horror/surf punk group Scabby Ghouls was up next.
Scabby capped the night off with a sweaty punk set as the scabs started to form on the shins of the skate patrons that were left. I always enjoy seeing these guys perform. Lead singer/guitarist Denise always sets up a great vibe and I love her take on crooner punk ghoul vocals, and Louie is very clearly an incredible guitarist. Every solo melts faces like the Ark of the Covenant and goes 150% above and beyond what is expected for the genre. That guy is clearly a tech-death guitarist, and it shows.
I highly recommend checking out their 2019 self-titled album on their Bandcamp page. Tracks Body Surfing and Knife Fight are super fun and always end up being the highlights of their performances.
Skate Fest has outdone themselves with this one, providing a fantastically fun event for the skating community. Check out the Sk8 Skool if you are looking to get yourself, or your kidos into skating. Their site says that the admission includes a board and helmet which is a crazy good deal! Closing out, the worst part about Skate Fest, was me not being able to skate, as I was too busy taking all these cool photos.
If you’re curious about upcoming events, Sk8 Skool, or want to volunteer for future events, head on over to https://www.skatefestomaha.com/. You can catch me at their next event, hopefully skating!