Milo Goes To Austin. Devo’s cancellation certainly didn’t seem all that important the second the Descendents climbed onto the stage. When was the last time people in Austin crowd surfed.. much less crowd walked.. from the back of a park to the front of the stage? “Sour Grapes.” “Suburban Home.” “Silly Girl.” “Clean Sheets.” It was all there. It was a sing along. And it was awesome. And when the band returned for an encore with a cover of Devo’s “Uncontrollable Urge,” it seemed all was set more than right with the fest. Thank you Transmission for finding the absolute best last minute replacement headliner ever.
Fun Fun Fun Fest 2010 Live Blog
I’ll openly admit to having been with the Hold Steady since album number one. Having seen them in little bars, big bars, with co-drunks Drive By Truckers, and solo (you are missed, Franz Nicolay) it was hard not to be completely disappointed with their almost-sober album Heaven Is Whenever. But, with a new keyboardist (once again, Franz Nicolay you are missed) and an extra guitarist in tow, the band tried to make amends. The old songs — from “The Swish” to “Stuck Between Stations” — sounded as boozy and trashy as always. The new songs not so much. Fortunately, old songs outnumbered the new songs by a good margin… and when the crowd sung along to “Stay Positive” to close the set, it almost made me forget that entire new album debacle.
Bradford Cox’s Deerhunter have been critical darlings since their 2005 debut Cryptograms. After misfiring with Microcastle, the band stormed back this year with Halcyon Digest. Unfortunately, the beautiful textures of the new songs didn’t quite translate to a dusty field. Rather, the band appeared to be trying to muscle its way through the crowd.. and instead they wound up sounding a bit too much like a derivatively boring arena rock band at times. Nonetheless, when things clicked, they really clicked and showed why they are deserving of all the praise. Let’s just not do this in a field next time.
Holy wow! - why Yelle was sequestered to the small blue stage is beyond us, because that was incredible. Part disco bliss, part sensuous jams, the French chanteuse emerged dressed as some kind of outfit like a feathered bog beast, but soon shed the cloak and quickly upped the rave. Despite the nearly 20 minute delay as they soundchecked to the point of absurdity, and the subsequent much too short set, no one was left un-entranced when Yelle finally did emerge and proceeded to seduce the packed audience while throwing one hell of a party.
Polvo: Indie Rush Metal Rock for the nerds in all dudes. Whatever was going on over at the “Metal” and “Punk” stage didn’t even matter once Polvo started playing. Simply amazing. Heavy and intense but incredibly tight jams from the reunited North Carolina quartet. Even the poem reading Chicago transplant paid rhythmic homage to the boys! So, next year, how about Fun Fun Fun Fest find Chavez and Bottomless Pit and put them on the Orange Stage!?
Suppose it’s great that someone wants to rip off the Breeders, but I’m really not sure why. Best Coast looked, felt, and sounded like the Breeders. Just without the Deal ego… or something. The blogs love ‘em, and I can see why, if you never heard the originals. All said, it’s not that bad.. it’s just not worth this time slot at this festival.
Cults looks like the cast of “Hair” but (thankfully?) clothed. Seriously, so…much…hair! But their music is airy and bright pop, and a nice late addition to the Fun Fun Fun lineup. While “Go Outside” is definitely their best tune, and the New York outfit delivered it quite well as the dust begins to kind of take over here in Waterloo Park, it’s still a bit too early to judge how far Cults will go with the initial buzz they’ve gotten this year. We’re willing to put some money down on them, though.
You never know what you might get with Kaki King. She is capable of unloading some of the most gorgeous and impressive acoustic and steel guitar, but she is also at heart a gal that loves to rock out. This afternoon’s set was certainly more of the later, but also bolstered by her incomparable guitar work and the trio behind her, especially the guy playing some kind of odd electric flute type mechanism which helped turn the set from ambient to heavy rock jams.
The Bronx has a great little secret - they also moonlight as Mariachi El Bronx. Fans of the hardcore punk band have long known about this sort-of side project (Mariachi El Bronx is often one of the opening acts for The Bronx), but at Fun Fun Fun Fest it seems as though the word is out for the general public. The band – decked out in traditional mariachi-meets-punk garb and playing acoustic mariachi instruments – played to a jam packed Yellow Stage area. Unfortunately, too many people means too little volume, especially when the band in question is strumming acoustic guitars and not screaming. That said, Mariachi El Bronx is still one of the shining highlights of Sunday’s early afternoon
Oh boy, the Nortec Collective is definitely the best surprise of the afternoon, though having been hearing about their amazing shows for a while, we shouldn’t have been surprised. Let’s call it iPad Mariachi! Traditional hi-tech? Whatever, it was awesome. The stage looked like a set out of Donald Barthelme’s “Game”, with some kind of mission control center supporting the bad-ass beats. And of course you know when a band whips out the tuba, it’s party time!