(I am so excited to bring you three days of coverage from one of the big highlights of the year for Seattle's punk/garage/psych music community: Pizza Fest! My friend, the very talented photographer/writer AJ Dent, is your tour guide to the fun and games, stepping in for me while I am on vacation. I thank her profusely and will stop writing now so you can dig into what she's done! Please to enjoy and come back for Day Two and Day Three!)

Ah, the first evening of Pizza Fest 2014. For weeks, I’d been ready to get my stomach and my camera’s memory card completely filled up. Unfortunately, when August 14th finally came, a pet emergency (*tear*) screwed up all my plans, and I showed up at the 2 Bit Saloon during the last song by No Grave.

The stage area was so packed, I was only able to capture a quick-n-dirty snap from the back of the room -- which was a good sign, actually, of how much fun everyone was already having. I cursed myself for having missed UBU Roi and most of No Grave, but was assured that their sets were as awesome as ever by a new friend I met that night. (Every pal I made over the weekend = proof that nothing brings people together like pizza and outdoor patios.)

When Summer Babes filled the stage, I was more than ready to cut loose, and they made it happen. Named after a Pavement tune, the five-piece rock-pop group produce songs that’ll catapult you into a warm, cloudless state of mind. The 2 Bit totally lit up thanks to their boppy jams, high spirits, and white clothing, making the band stand out as the most jovial one I’ve seen grace that stage before. If only for one evening, the audio sunrays they scattered across the audience effaced the horrific fact of the venue’s upcoming closure.

Slam-dunking the night into victory was a flawlessly fun set by Dreamsalon. All around us, the air itself was drunk by this point. The trio unwound garage-rock tunes like “Lick” and “Twenty More Days” to the salivation and cheers of a very loud crowd. You know how handmade pizza crust is tossed high overhead, spinning like mad, during preparation? That kind of WTF-frenzy is how the guys seemed to deliver their songs.

As I teetered outside afterwards, the night smelled equally of pepperoni, sweat, and Salmon Bay, and I shook a fist at the sky in both gratitude and disbelief that the three-day festival was just warming up.