Sunday, November 7, 2010

FunFunFunFest 2010

The reigning "UnFest" of Austin, FunFunFunFest 2010 is the most tame yet fun of all the festivals offered in the city. The festival is purposely kept small due to the boundaries of Waterloo Park (which the festival refers to as "bucolic"; I'd consider it "dusty") and never feels panicky-overcrowded. The stages are short spurts away from each other so that it's possible to see multiple bands playing at the same time.

The organizers really pat themselves on the back, touting, "This is a festival created by people in the music scene, that are in it everyday, and are driven by the DIY attitude and work ethic found in the music they love. Broken out into genres, FFF provides unique experiences in the punk/hardcore, indie rock, hip hop/DJ, and comedy scenes. At FFF, you will see 4 core stages of some of the most progressive music and comedy in the scene today.... At this fest, show goers get more for less. They get to catch artists close up and personal before they explode, they get to see some of their favorite bands of the past reunite, and they get to discover music that they have never even heard that they'll love .... [FFF] is a true urban event in the middle of the Live Music Capitol of the World and most importantly it’s a fest that we in the scene would want to go to, without all of the filler that tends to show up at the corporate music carnivals around the world these days. Point is, our fest promoters don’t ride around in golf carts, they stage dive because they can’t help it. Fun Fun Fun Fest: the fest before the fest...where you go to see what’s about to happen as opposed to what's already been happening — booking the biggest fests biggest influences since 2005."

The stages were grouped according to artist appeal: Blue was dancey/electronic, Orange was the big band/main stage, Black was harder, rougher, and had a metal taste, and Yellow was the zanier stuff, including a comedy and video show.

I didn't make it to the Friday night kickoff party but I heard “Weird Al” Yankovic did a lot of new stuff, and Apples in Stereo are always fun.

Here are some highlights.


Monotrix: Not only did they crowd surf their entire band while playing their instruments, gave way for the best joke of the festival. At the end of their set and in thick foreign accents, they petitioned the crowd, "Do you agree that America is a monster?" Austin, normally a political crowd, was more interested in having fun. Festivals bring in a lot of out-of-towners and the answer was mixed. People kind of shrugged, some yelled, "YES!", others, "NO!" but mostly people just scratched their head. "DO YOU THINK SHE IS A MONSTER?" the lead singer tried to rally us. "That's a very complicated question!" was shouted in return.
Then they jumped off a giant boulder into the crowd.

Delorean, Barcelona based electronic dance quartet really brought it for the kids with glowsticks. I enjoyed their zone-y beats and the fact that the band danced so hard while they played. Wavves gave us their stoney San Diego surf rock and mentioned that they were happy to play during the sunny hours. Devin the Dude commanded that everyone in the crowd immediately start smoking weed and sang "I Just Wanna Fuck You" by Dr. Dre, which he is featured on.

Dirty Projectors crooned "oooh" and "ahhh" and the crowd totally dug it. Meanwhile, GWAR melted faces on the Black Stage, but thankfully not their own, as they are very durable plastic. They actually came out to sign autographs in full getup, sans appropriate underwear + fake feet. Amazeballz.

MGMT closed the blue stage and it was to be expected. They played the hits, the people liked it. Everyone goes home happy. RJD2 closed on the blue stage mixing his own beats with old school funk and soul. People on drugs rejoiced, as well as everyone else. The only major WTF moment of the day was a brief appearance by The New Movement Comedy Group, which were terrible. I was so sad for them. Not funny at all.


Ladies ruled the Sunday stages. The afternoon really started with underground rapper Jean Grae, who was was amazing. She rapped about math problems and her backup singer sang quite a lot of the number π. Tots ridic! Best Coast was fantastic, with their sunny lo-fi sing-along pop, and it was exciting to see California well represented in the crowd.

After that, Deerhunter zoned out the crowd, singing lulling melodies with long instrumental interludes while pop sensation Yelle killed it on the Blue Stage with her glittery spandex pants, dancing all over the place like manic pixie dream girl of the European variety. She will definitely be giving Karen O a run for her money. High on Fire brought equal but separate intensity to the Black Stage. Unfortunately, the Yellow Stage experienced what I saw as the only technical difficulties of the festival, showing video clips from the weirdos of Blackmagic Rollercoaster without sound! Very disappointing.

Devo had to cancel due to a hand wound (a cut to the bone!) but The Descendants and Mastodon finished out the day, along with the DJ A-Trak on the Blue Stage.

Along with the hours of music, the festival showcased lots of food, drink, and party. There were also places to ride a mechanical bull, do trampoline bungee jumping, get a hair cut, and of course, consume and shop. Lastly, the Beard-os (Austin Facial Hair Club) of town offered a kissing booth ($3 or less, more for tongue), honorary memberships bestowed, and a challenge to all persons: DON'T SHAVE!

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