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So, a couple of weeks ago, at the Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, thousands were treated to some blistering performances that were every bit as extreme as had been promised. With metal, electronic dance, hip-hop and alternative comedy acts making up a large portion of the weekend long bill, extreme is the only way to properly describe the sets that took place on four different stages over the course of three days. Check out my article from that week’s Dallas Observer, and check out a few more thoughts below…

 
 

The first set I took in at FFF Fest; Big Freedia got everyone's rump shaking. Hard.

 

Russian Circles - Before that Friday night, I simply wasn’t aware of this well-regarded band that excels in post-rock style metal. Without singing a word, this group pummeled the stage into smithereens as they featured tunes from they rhythmic, groove-heavy and bombastic recently released album, Empros. Easily the biggest surprise for me over that weekend, this Chicago-based trio had me feeling horrible about my modern musical IQ, since this was the first I was ever hearing from them. They ruled.

 
 

The Murder City Devils were great, but the Russian Circles set that ended just before this one stole some of their thunder.

 

Public Enemy - They did what they do and have done for so long. They owned the stage. They weren’t flakes, they weren’t divas and they hit the stage pretty much on time and tore through the classics such as “911 is a Joke” and “Fight the Power.” It was just one of those sets where you were just happy to know that you were witnessing a legendary group show why they so legendary.

 
 

Yet another crappy picture from me. This is Donald Glover inside of a jam-packed Comedy tent.

 

Donald Glover - The guy from one of the best, and least watched, comedies on TV, Community, offered a hilarious and taboo-filled 30 minutes that had the hundreds of people watching on cracking up at everything form his impression of Michael Cera doing a Shaft impression to his thoughts on how homeless people freak him out and intrigue him, all at once. He performed his hip-hop set later as rapper Childish Gambino, but we didn’t catch that.

The Joy Formidable - The band that I was personally looking forward to catching the most, the Welsh trio, led by Ritzy Bryan, didn’t disappoint in the least. Playing a 40 minute set consisting of tunes from their breakthrough album, The Big Roar, Bryan commanded the stage with a fiery and almost angry presence. It’s no wonder why this band got picked to open a few shows for The Foo Fighters.

The festival's MVP, Ritzy Bryan from The Joy Formidable. She dominated.

Austin Daily Press Food Truck - The team that almost took home the prize in Season One of The Great American Food Truck Race, brought home the prize for the best Caprese Sandwish I’ve ever had. I typically need a great deal of meat on my sammys, but this pressed offering, featuring gooey mozzarella and basil blew me away.

Hometown heroes, Okkervill River shook up the late afternoon crowd.

There were tons of great sets, great food and great people watching. There’s just no question that this is every bit the go-to festival as its bigger brother, Austin City Limits.

It's tough to beat the skyline of downtown Austin as a fitting festival backdrop.



I was all up in the grill of Austin’s Auditorium Shores this past weekend enjoying the extreme and often hardcore offerings of this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest. Headlined by the likes of Public Enemy, a diva-esque and dissappoointing Danzig, Spoon, Slayer and Passion Pit, the festival was a blast. One of my favorite sets from the weekend was the Friday night performance from Seattle’s Murder City Devils. Above, there’s a video of a pretty awkward interview with the band. I’m not familiar with ATX Music Mag, but it sounds decent enough. Perhaps I shouldn’t judge it based upon this interview alone. Below is a clip from the performance that really busted the stage to pieces. The clip itself has horrible audio, but it was taken from a camera that basically held itself about two inches above my head, as I was in the pit area taking phots just in front of this specific cameraman. Plus, you at least get an idea for the type of fire these guys threw at the audience, even if the audio isn’t great. Later in the week, I’ll have a few thoughts on the performances and items from the weekend that really left an impression.

 

Look. We talked about this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin already. We talked about how the line-up is as quirky and killer as any other festival of it’s kind. Eschewing much of the mainstream acts that understandble help fill up the ACL’s and Bonnarroos of the world, FFF Fest relies on an intoxicating mix of indie, metal, hip-hop, comedy and electronic music to bring in masses that might be a tad more discerning.

Well, if getting to see Public Enemy, Passion Pit, Slayer, the Joy Formidable, Reggie Watts, a reunited Hum, or Neon Indian wasn’t incentive enough, the after parties slated for the fest in various venues will be absolutely free for FFF ticket-holders!

Honestly, it doesnt even make sense. Not from a standard commercial sense, at least. I’m sure the people who need to make the money are making it, but us consumers are so used to getting screwed on ticket prices, service fees, parking costs and astronomical beer prices that it’s jsut hard to imagien so many shows will be included in the price we already paid.

Oh. You want to know who you’ll get to see for free? A ton of bands that aren’t actually playing at the fest, that’s who. Also eschewing teh typical, big festival model of hosting after-shows with bands already on the bill, FFF is bringing in the likes of the Felie Brothers, Dead Confederate, Old Man Malarkey, The Thermals, Kool Keith, Ty Seagall, Mates of State and Thee Oh Sees. These are bands that would headline their own club dates just about anywhere in the country, and they’re just being added onto your list of bands to see. For no extra charge. Just mosey into venues like Beerland, The parish, Club DeVille, and The Mohawk, among others, and get your after-hours groove on.

Not much needs to be said. Take a look at the poster which shows a seriously insane line-up. Over the course of the past few years, the Fun Fun Fun Fest has grown into a serious contender for one of the more entertaining festivals in not only Austin, but in the country. Transmission Entertainment seems to take festival booking to a fun, wild new level with each year.

As you might imagine, given our propensity to enjoy music festivals in the ATX, we’re planning on covering this one pretty heavily, so buckle up, it’s going to get all kinds of festivalicious up in here over the next couple of months….