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Here comes Maltoberfest 8: Menace II Sobriety

That Brass Monkey

Olympia's favorite local street band Artesian Rumble Arkestra heads into the wahnsinn Saturday night. Photo courtesy of Facebook

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"For an event that pretty much takes the worst elements you could possibly combine together," says Craig Egan, "we've had surprisingly little amount of trouble."

Egan is speaking about his annual take on Oktoberfest, called Maltoberfest. It doesn't take much detective work to figure out that Maltoberfest celebrates that most dubious of concoctions: malt liquor. Now in its eighth year - and with the ridiculous subtitle of "Maltoberfest 8: Menace II Sobriety" - the event brings together all of Tacoma's rabble-rousers for a night of punk, hip-hop, German nonsense and many dozens of forties of Old English, Mickey's, and Steel Reserve.

"We started it seven years ago," says Egan. "I had a private party that was a fortified wine tasting. It was a very elegant affair, with Mad Dog and Thunderbird. After the success of that, we decided we were going to do a beer version, and so we were trying to figure out beer equivalent, and malt liquor came up. The idea then became to do it like Oktoberfest and make it a celebration of malt liquor, and then the name just came. Once that happened it all clicked into place, and it was hilarious. Every time I got on the computer and Photoshopped a picture of Snoop Dogg and some frauleins together, it just got funnier and funnier, so we kept it going."

What was already an impressively successful event has only grown bigger and more outrageous as time has gone on. In its third year, the event became public and made the Java Jive its home. Along with the selection of malt liquors at the event - with the option to make yours a brass monkey - various sausages and pretzels are not uncommon to be found at Maltoberfest.

What strikes me about Maltoberfest, and in reference to what Egan alluded to, is how controlled everything seems for an event that encourages you to drink something as volatile as malt liquor. In my experience, I really need to watch myself whenever I drink some O.E. It certainly doesn't help that Maltoberfest is a yearly event, which allows me to spend the rest of the year in sweet security, oblivious of just how much I can't handle malt liquor. If you're smart, you'd be training up to the event, notch-by-notch increasing your tolerance of Mickey's and Steel Reserve, like a man getting ready to run a marathon.

Because this is not a sprint, let me tell you, despite the high-spirited acts on hand to get you uber-psyched. Returning as the only band to play every Maltoberfest is raucous hip-hop group 508 Disturbance, along with safety-rockers Warning: Danger!, folk-reggae-punk genre-hoppers the Fun Police, hardcore punk group Ten Pole Drunk, polka and hip-hop records from DJ Melodica, and the utterly delightful marching band punk of Artesian Rumble Arkestra.

"We've ordered thirty cases of forties," taunts Egan, "which I think roughly adds up to 14,400 ounces of malt liquor. ... Fifteen dollars gets you into the show, gets you all the food you want to eat, and gets you three drink tokens. If you come in either German or hip-hop-related costume, you get five drink tokens. So, you should be able to cover yourself for the whole night for fifteen bucks."

Keep this between us, but Egan tells me that one of the secrets of Maltoberfest is that they will fill up any cup you give them. So, if you want to bring your own cheesy beer stein, that might not be the worst way to go.

Just, please: don't get drunk and fight each other. And those sausages and pretzels? They stand between you and malt liquor madness.

MALTOBERFEST 8: MENACE II SOBRIETY, w/ Warning: Danger!, 508 Disturbance, Ten Pole Drunk, the Fun Police, Artesian Rumble Arkestra and DJ Melodica, 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19, Bob's Java Jive, 2102 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, $15, 253.475.9843

See Also

Scenes from last year's Maltoberfest

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