The Good, The Bad and the Dirty:
opening day, Nov. 4, 2011
by Michael Passman
Fun Fun Fest (FFFF) is like the early Lollapalooza. It’s big, and there’s all sorts of weirdness
going on. Lollapalooza captured mainly
alternative college rock. Now, almost
every genre of music is alternative!
FFFF mixes puts everyone from techno to hip hop to punk, death metal,
comedy, and back again into four stages that run from noon to 10. The organizers have had so much fun the past
five years with acts like The Cynics, The Gories, Dead Milkmen, Weird Al, and
other assortments of happy mayhem that they couldn’t leave well enough alone,
so they moved to a bigger outdoor area and added an extra day this year just in
case you couldn’t get enough in two days of tacos and beer.
Friday afternoon, people descended upon Austin’s Auditorium Shores, gathered
together, and witnessed great afternoon shows.
Everywhere one’s ears pointed, one heard music. Americana rockers The Heartless Bastards gave
a great performance in the afternoon sun to a large crowd for a Friday
Afternoon. (Go here to see our report from Day 2.)
PIC: Heartless Bastards, 11/4/11, Orange Stage
slight trip over to The Blue Stage caught me with YACHT doing a pretty
impressive cover of The B-52’s Mesopotamia.
It was a nice little treat, but a good illustration of what one finds at
alt. rock darlings The Thermals followed up and gave a performance that
encapsulated Austin’s Live Music Capitol of The World Title with the looming
high rises and the late afternoon sun behind them.
PIC: The Thermals, 11/4/11, Orange Stage
let’s face it: Rock ‘n’ roll is not only a dirty sound, but a dirty
business. It was only fitting that the
first two days of FFFF take place in a dust storm. I switched from the more open, breezy sounds
and the skyline view of The Orange Stage to head over and check out the
raunchier sounds of The Black Stage, which was all the way across the
park. The Black Stage? You get the picture. This is what I encountered:
PIC: Security in dust, 11/4/11 the Black
raunchy, low fi garage rock of Ty Segall, Followed by the similar but heavier
psych leanings of The Oh Sees were loud enough to pierce through the ever
growing dust rising up from the pit and going in every direction. The Oh Sees front man John Dwyer gave an
always amazing performance with his green Burns 12 string sitting just below
Pics: John Dwyer
sunset came later on the orange stage with the soft light fading while the
stage lights slowly came up During Okkervill River’s uptempo folk/rock. It seemed like they took the honor of opening
the evening and FFFF itself for the growing number of people just entering the
Pics: Okkervill River
wandered then back to The Black Stage to catch Seattle punk legends Murder City
Devils, who never disappoint both in quality and volume. They had a fabulous, loud, raucous, and crowd
pleasing set. It was especially
surprising to see vocalist Spencer Moody have such a powerful presence as a punk
frontman given his ginger beard and lumberjack wardrobe. They were really, really tight. The whole band seemed more in sync with each
other than most bands I’ve seen.
PIC: Murder City Devils
evening was to end with Passion Pit, Danzig Legacy, and Public Enemy on three
of the four stages. Neither Danzig nor
Public Enemy allowed photos. Public
Enemy started off a little shaky, but got better as the evening
progressed. It was a good thing they
did. Many people wandered over to see
them from the pathetic performance and now legendary drama of Danzig and found
out what punk was all about. In case
you’re wondering, Danzig’s prima donna antics from the onion soup to the
heaters to the deathbug whining can be read in many other places by now. I’m not giving him any more mention, or
sound at Auditorium Shores ends at 10pm sharp, but the night was young. I caught a stellar performance from Austin
natives Spoon at Club 501, where they performed a nice chunk of their more
rocking, older material.
hard to catch Spoon at a small venue anymore, so the moody lighting and feel of
the place made the performance special,
and the band felt it.
was midnight. I headed over to The
Beauty Bar to catch the legendary Mister Rhythm himself, André Williams. He took the stage with his touring act and a
few burlesque dancers. When we heard
“Hey Mother Fuckers!” and shouted it back, we knew we were in for a treat.
and his band were tight, fierce, and dripping with hot soul stinking
nastiness. After all, that IS André Williams! It was a much younger crowd than usual for
him, but as expected, he made converts right and left. It was a sight to see and hear the whole
crowd, mostly of twenty something girls singing the chorus “Pussy stank, but so
does marijuana!” like the knew it!
Pic: Andre 2