@ZackTeibloom Something about Fun Fun Fun Fest 6 feels like this will be a defining year. The year FFF “makes the leap” from Austin’s little festival that could, to the national festival that does. With swag. They’re poised to make the leap with the move from cozy Waterloo Park to the expansive Auditorium Shores. With the expansion to a full three plus days. The incredible leap in talent pool. Fun Fun Fun Nites. The taco button*. Fun Fun Fun Festival is re-writing the book on how you grow an entity without selling out. They’re making all the right moves and doing it with a distinct style.
Friday at Fun Fun Fun in 2010 was a relatively tame affair. The fest was just getting underway with a Queen cover band as 9-5 workers raced out of the office. Todd Barry followed to a nearly non-existant crowd which slowly built through Chris Hardwick and culminated with a solid, if not all that big, showing for Weird Al. Compare that to this year. Fun Fun Fun blasts out of the gate with four stages in full swing in the noon hour and culminates with a three-way conflict that ACL wishes they had in their empty pits of despair they called main stage afternoon sets in 2011. You’ll have to choose from Passion Pit, Public Enemy and Danzig Legacy after your afternoon slowed with the multi-talented whirlwind that is Reggie Watts’ or the wildly under-appreciated Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah. Say yeah, indeed. Bigger isn’t always better, but it sure feels like it will be when in the hands of Fun Fun Fun’s tireless crew. Oh, and don’t think your night is anywhere near over after you leave the grounds. FFF6 will be taking over Austin this weekend.
I’m not big into “branding.” I couldn’t care less if I have to watch my favorite band on the Bud Light stage. Who gives a fuck if there are ads for kids movies on the side of my water that’s in the form of a juice box. It doesn’t bother me at all, but there is something so damn lovable about FFF’s dedication to being local and authentic and truly, deeply Austin. It’s more than having local food vendors and not having massive corporate sponsorship. It’s an attitude. A “let’s get fucking whiskey drunk and go ape shit at Slayer” attitude that no other festival would dare put out there. And they revel in it. The things they post on social media would make “Social Media Experts” from major companies or festivals’ heads explode. From their cryptic line-up release on YouTube with arty sailing symbols, to their unveiling of artists through Turntable Fm,** to their ingenious hype plan, Fun Fun Fun fest is on point. I can’t get enough of the #fffpractice hash tag they keep hyping hilariously.
Here’s 6 of my favorites:
- Watching Spinal Tap and hoping Slayer gets lost at @funfunfunfest and plays on the Black Stage with the rest of their brothren. #fffpractice -@toodarnloud
- Handing out Lone Star tallboys to trick or treaters in my Leatherface mask and @funfunfunfest tee, shouting SLAYER & GOLF WANG #fffpractice -@imperialguy
- Chugging red bulls like a beast and using nickels to pay for them. #FFFPractice -@annarverold
- just got up to punch myself in the face. going back to bed now. #fffpractice -@jsonmyfeet23
- Vomiting tacos to acquire a taste. #fffpractice -@masonbroday
- Practice makes perfect RT @Carlsam: @funfunfunfest posted a note to remind roommates to make sure I pass out face down. #fffpractice
The biggest wildcard to FFF making the leap is the venue change. Unlike ACL, Fun Fun Fun never felt overly crowded despite the small intimate setting of Waterloo Park. Still, moving to a bigger venue feels like the right move. Will the fest feel too big and spread out in Auditorium Shores or will it just be more room to get weird. You have to trust that it will be the latter. FFF hasn’t just expanded at the festival. They’ve now expanded to all over Austin with FFF Nites, like a mini SX, but with none of the pretension. Aftershows are now all inclusive for those with a wristband and they start up tonight (Thursday). You can catch Cowboy and Indian (with Landry from Friday Night Lights) on Thursday, a Spoon after show Friday night and Neon Indian and Passion Pit DJ sets, Budos Band, Kool Keith, Dom and Royal Bangs all for free the rest of the weekend. What a game changer!
Personally, I’m a mostly Orange stage (rock) guy. I can’t resist Saturday’s jaw dropping 7 hour stretch of The Joy Formidable-Tune-Yards-Ra Ra Riot-M83-Girls-Lykke Li-Spoon smorgasbord. I’ll only leave to get a glimpse of Childish Gambino and Neon Indian, but it’ll be hard to drag me away if I have a plum spot. Having said that, I’ll wanna catch Fat Tony, Big Freedia and Public Enemy on Blue, catch some comedy on Yellow whenever nothing sounds to my liking, and maybe let myself get sucked into the pit for some black stage shows. We’ll see. I’ve been going off Eric Pulsifer’s FFF spotify list, and he’s more than just my photographer this weekend, he’s also my “guy who’s done more research and who I’ll let dictate a lot of my show going, so here’s 5 suggestions from him.
Eric made a “14 bands your music snob friends will be seeing this weekend” article that you can read in full.
Here’s 5 to whet your apetite:
Yeah, he’s not exactly under the radar any more (you can still get extra street cred if you pronounce “M83” in French), but how can you not excited about seeing songs from the lovely double album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming live? Since it first worked its way into my brain, I’ve been convinced that “Midnight City” is going to be 2011’s “Kids” — you know, the song that starts out brilliant and ends up being picked up by your music-ignorant bros and played ad nauseam to the point of disgust. (Please prove me wrong here, world. If you don’t know who or what M83 is, don’t go see him. Don’t listen to his records. Don’t make his songs your ringtone. Don’t ruin the magic for me. You know he’s French, right? How about Passion Pit, huh? OMG! Did you know he made those first songs for his girlfriend?)
Though they only have three recorded songs to their name, they’re three damn fine songs. This chopped and screwed electro pop, which somehow isn’t a disaster. Get to the Blue Stage bright and early Saturday morning to catch these up-and-comers right after…
Active Child was a last-minute addition to the lineup and ended up getting the first slot of the day Saturday morning, which should mean a sparse crowd. Good for us. I’ll be the tall guy up front rocking out way too hard to “Wilderness” at 12:55 p.m.
Yes, this is Donald Glover of Community fame. Your literate middle-aged friends call it the best show on TV, so they’ll be sure to catch Don G. as his rap alter ego Childish Gambino or as himself doing stand-up on the Yellow Stage. He’s a funny dude, and, it turns out, a good rapper. Watch the un-funny but awesome video for “Bonfire.”
tUnE-yArDs’ beautiful, experimental debut, BiRd-BrAiNs, is a weird and wonderful mix of folk, loops and blasting beats. With a powerful voice and a beat-up ukelele, Merril Garbus’ eerie lo-fi tunes translated well to the live stage at South by Southwest this year. It will be interesting to see how the more polished W H O K I L L plays out during the solid Saturday afternoon-evening block at the Orange Stage.
**Remember when Turntable FM was a thing? Good lord, that came and went fast.