The 9th annual Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas did its name absolute justice this year. This festival truly covers all of its bases. From its vast array of genres to all of the extra entertainment provided for festivalgoers, there is truly something for everyone at FFF Fest. The festival gods also bestowed upon us the best weather imaginable. With temperatures in the high 60’s to low 70’s all weekend, the joy in our Texan hearts could not be contained (it is a rarity to encounter such cool weather in Texas for the entire 3 days in a row). With so many great headliners, such as Judas Priest, Alt-J, Modest Mouse, Neutral Milk Hotel, Wiz Khalifa, 2Chainz and many more, it would be hard to not have fun at Fun Fun Fun.
Friday kicked off with a blend of punk, hip-hop, indie synth pop, electro-pop and classic rock. Radkey rocked out the Black Stage with their hard-hitting punk rock style. The three brothers, ranging in age from 17 to 21, bring so much energy and talent it’s hard to believe they are barely even old enough to party like the rock stars they are! Tune in the our interview below to learn about how the brothers came to where they are today:
Later, we switched gears for the down and dirty party that was Run The Jewels. These guys excel in the art of audience participation and had everybody chanting absolute nonsense throughout their show and it was hysterical! It may have been broad daylight outside but it easily could have been mistaken for that “it’s almost 2 am and what club is this?” vibe.
Los Angeles natives, Wildcat! Wildcat!, particularly blew us away with their show. At the Yellow Stage, we found a lot of comedians and entertainment but Wildcat! Wildcat! really brought the beats and had everyone dancing. With only keyboards, percussion and a bass, the full and energetic sound that these guys create is extremely refreshing and eclectic. We had the opportunity to speak with Michael Wilson from the band, check out the interview below:
We took a little time to kick back and relax with the calming soundscapes of City and Colour. Shortly after it was time to put our dancing shoes back on and check out French electro-pop artist Yelle. This precious lady has such a bubbly personality and sound; you hardly even notice that you probably don’t know what she’s saying (unless you speak French of course).
Then came the most anticipated acts of the first night: 2Chainz, Atmosphere, Alt-J and the one and only, Judas Priest! 2Chainz was the perfect level of madness and the bass could be heard no matter where you were. Atmosphere is one of the most incredible and well-rounded hip-hop artists. They have a sound all their own and an even better message for their audience. Right after Atmosphere, a major decision of the night was to be made: to hold down a spot for the new innovative sound of Alt-J or to rock out with some of the gods of rock at Judas Pries. It was an unbreakable tie, for many. The constant flow between those two stages never stopped. Alt-J blew the audience away with their eclectic music. For a band that only just released their second album in 2014, they drew a massive crowd. It is hard to compare or describe the atmosphere of an Alt-J show because their sound is so one-of-a-kind and the harmony in their voices is utterly mesmerizing. If you were able to break from your Alt-J trance, then it was definitely a must to catch Judas Priest! These guys definitely still have it. The head banging ensued and the little demons in us all were unleashed. Judas Priest made sure no one left that night without a solid ringing in their ears and a sore neck, and it was exactly what we expected and needed.
Day 2 was another great fusion of genres. We kicked our day off with Gary Numan. Gary’s sound has changed drastically from what most would probably remember him for in his 1979 hit Cars. His music has gone back to his more industrial electronic rock roots. He has evolved well with the times and festivalgoers flocked to his set. Saturday Night Live and Portlandia’s very own Fred Armisen showed us his musical side and still had us all cracking up at the Yellow Stage.
The Black Lips always excites their audience with their crazy on stage antics that impeccably suits their edgy psych rock. Hailing from Australia, The Presets brought their dancing shoes to Austin. Unlike any usual EDM show, they sing and produce; they put on a euphoric show. Other must-sees on day 2 were The New Pornographers, First Aid Kit and Z-Trip. The highly anticipated set by Nas did not disappoint. Throwing down his classics such as If I Ruled the World (Imagine That) as well as his recent hits like New York State of Mind, any true Nas fan’s night was complete at this point. For many that still had a little more dancing to get out, it was time to migrate to Girl Talk while the rest ventured to Modest Mouse. When you have as many hits as Modest Mouse, it’s hard to even anticipate which songs they will grace us with. This particular set was comprised of some of our favorites, such as The World at Large, Dashboard, Satin in a Coffin, of course, Float On, and they closed out their encore with The Good Times Are Killing Me. At this point in the evening, this was a fairly accurate assessment of how many of us felt after Modest Mouse. Their Fun Fun Fun set was flawless. So flawless, that even the universe showed its appreciation with a massive meteor that flashed through the sky during the middle of their set!
When you’re having so much fun, day 3 always seams to hit you like a ton of bricks. While your body is starting to cave, we still can’t seem to get enough of this festival. With one of the earliest sets of the day, Austin’s very own The Digital Wild put on an incredible show. Their indie-electronic sound is very unique. Lyrically, they have very relatable messages to their audience and they have every element of a great performance: they can sing, rap, dance and have tremendous stage presence.
Cashmere Cat took the Blue Stage and hypnotized the audience with his indie-electronic style productions. Shortly after, Foxygen brought some of the most manic and contagious energy yet to the festival. For a band with such relaxing hits such as San Francisco and How Can You Really, the crowd went absolutely wild for Foxygen.
Other notable acts this afternoon and into the early evening were The Dum Dum Girls, Ryan Hemsworth and Flying Lotus. Flying Lotus shows are so multi-faceted that anyone would have fun at one. He produces electronic music as well as rap to hip-hop beats. The final acts of the last day were completely spot on for a festival called Fun Fun Fun.
Wiz Khalifa and Neutral Milk Hotel were the perfect way to end a weekend full of wonderful music. Wiz brought the party in full speed. He showcased all his recent hits such as Black and Yellow, We Dem Boyz, his mash-up with Snoop Dogg Young, Wild & Free and closing out with Ass Drop; he clearly reminded us of how he is topping all the charts lately. Last but certainly not least was Neutral Milk Hotel. The late band formed in the late 80’s went dormant for a long time but has very recently decided to grace their die-hard fans with numerous shows and festival sets, featuring their first and most well-known album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. The most beautiful aspects of a Neutral Milk Hotel set is that they truly make the show about absolutely nothing other than the music. Their style of dress is plain, there are no special lighting effects (only enough to illuminate the stage and the band members) and they specifically request that there be no phones in the air in the audience or photography capturing their set. Without all of these distractions, the audience is fully engaged in their show. There were many wet eyes in the audience that were sheer tears of joy. They are all masters of their instruments and are a true testament to artistry derived straight from the soul.
Aside from the music, this festival makes sure that all of the attendees are constantly entertained. There is a wrestling ring featuring the best of the best amateur sportsmen. The outrageous laughter could be heard from the Yellow Tent at all times of the day. It featured the hilarious minds of comedians such as Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch and Kumail Nanjiani, Fred Armisen, and John Waters. There were even Air Sex Championship matches! Not to mention, the food! Austin is well-known for its awesome food trucks and, festivals are always a treat because you can find some of the best ones all in one place. We munched down on Mediterranean style Kebabalicious, Salt Lick BBQ, the Korean-Mexican fusion of Chilantro and satisfied our sweet tooth with Tiff’s Treats. The Volcom skate team also sponsored a Super Collider skate ramp and shredded all three days.
This festival is one of the highest energy, multi-faceted and multi-genre festivals in Texas and the entire south. There is entertainment for all ages and whether you consider your group of friends to lean more towards the indie element, metal-heads, hip-hop to the core or a little bit of them all, no one leaves this festival without the itching desire for next year. Let the countdown to FFF 10 begin!
[Cover Photo Credit: Ashley Garmon, Fun Fun Fun Fest]
Written by FestPop Staff Writer
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