My very first Blackout, after just narrowly missing the year before due to not getting time off from work. So I was determined to show in 2003. It was also my first time ever in Chicago, and I barely knew anyone except some of the Tyrades and Furies who had moved there the year before. And Tony Sagger and some other Wisconsinites. I stayed at a good hotel, which was way the fuck out of the way though, which led to me driving drunk as fuck around Chicago on a couple nights. Ate a ton of Mexican food, especially at that place at the corner of the street Subterranean was on. Met Trickknee and RFA in person for the first time, and even met Rev. Norb and a bunch of other 'celebs'. Really, this was my first big festival thing outside of Buffalo that I was ever at and it was a great friggin' time. Went to my first afternoon BBQ at Delilah's (a Blackout tradition) and saw Fubar for the first time...The drummer from the Functional Blackouts emceed all the nights, and was really wonderfully obnoxious...The Subt was quite a nice venue, and the first night ruled. It started with what is still my favorite ever Functional Blackouts show (and I've seen them plenty since), but this one was just raw and primal and I hadn't heard any of their records yet and it was awesome and very punk. A Feast of Snakes were awesome and great fellas (I spent the after hours talking James Arthur's ear off and made him tell me tons of amazing Necessary Evils' stories), the Black Lips were a catastrophe of puking and dick tugging and tackling. Who knew what they would turn into...I do know Jay Reatard was not thrilled with playing in a puddle of vomit and let us know. Lost Sounds were in their prime then. The second night was all about The Hunches. Hunches, Hunches, Hunches. Mind blowing, first and only time I have ever seen them, Chris was a guitar god and Hart had on a jacket made of tampons and maxi-pads and didn't really ruin the set at all. So powerful. The Penetrators were a lot of fun, I saw some old dude at the bar doing shots and was wondering who it was earlier that night...turned out to be Spike Penetrator. The closing night of this one is probably one of the best nights of music I've ever seen. Tyrades opened, someone from the balcony poured a beer into Jim's mouth as he played. But most remarkable was Robert diving off stage and tearing his forehead apart on one of his bass pegs when he hit the floor. Totally bloodied, Bruiser Brody style. And he tried to keep playing, but just said fuck it and walked off stage. Jim then proceeded to smash his guitar in anger (surprise) at the end of the song. Robert went to the ER and was back at the party an hour or so later with a bunch of stitches in his face and a beer in his hand. Awesome. FM Knives made me a believer due to Woodhouse's super loud and sweet guitar playing. A-Frames owned my world (and were nice guys to finally meet as well) and they even played "She's Got Spawn" with Woodhouse on vox which made me smile big. Clone Defects played one of their last ever shows, and it was well worth it and The Spits played forever and ever until the house lights went on and could have played longer and I would've loved it more. I think it took the cops showing up to make them stop. I recall The Mistreaters were supposed to play an after-party, but that idea was snuffed by an actual blackout in the area. Irony strikes again. - Filthy Rich

Black Lips
Out to Hunch
Chris and Hart, The Hunches
Kings of Basement Rock
Jack and Spike, The Penetrators
Yer Stupid Face
Mac Blackout and Brian Nervous, Functional Blackouts
The Spits...again?
The Spits
I am Homicide
Jimmy Ono, The Tyrades
Aaron, Lars, Min, A-Frames. Canderson: "An accidental double exposure that worked out pretty well."