Fun Fun Fun Fest is a festival weekend like no other. I arrived around 4:30pm on Friday to find comedian Patton Oswalt doing a standup routine inside a sweaty and claustrophobic tent. Outside of the tent was the orange stage which had Johnny Marr doing How Soon Is Now amongst other hits from the group which he played guitar, The Smiths. The sound was clearly bleeding into the tent as Oswalt joked how this situation is probably Wes Anderson’s wet dream. Surreal, indeed. I skipped the Friday night closing performance by Snoop Dogg to catch Sarah Silverman, Doug Benson, and Kyle Dunnigan perform a night set at The State Theater in downtown Austin. Kyle Dunnigan almost stole the show, Benson was stellar, and Silverman ended the show with a new song about “the difference between a diva and a cunt.” to uproarious laughter. It was an intimate performance where no camera’s were allowed and the audience rounded out to about 250 fans.
My Saturday started with Dick Lucas leading the legendary anarcho-punk outfit, Subhumans as they played their classic From the Cradle to the Grave. “He plays with the energy of a 25 year old.” That’s a phrase I kept reciting throughout the festival. It seems appropriate because next up on the black stage was Body Count. I got to meet Ice-T right before the performance as he was doing a press shoot which made my day. He was both cool and cold as ice, living up to his gangster mystique. Body Count raged with ferocity through a set consisting of both newer jams and older classics. Just incase anyone thought playing an officer of the law on television made Ice-T sympathize with the men in blue, it has not. Ice noted how the Cop Killer controversy started in Austin before saying that all cops could “eat a bowl of dicks”. The audience cheered and chuckled. Ice-T’s wife Coco, infamous for her gigantic posterior and hour glass figure attracted much attention both from males and females alike as she smiled, watching Body Count thrash out. I skipped Judge in anticipation for an Ice-T solo set and pop-punk mainstays, the Descendents, both of whom played at the same time. I started off at the blue stage for Ice-T before jogging to the black stage for singer Milo and his Descendents. As I heard Ice-T bust into New Jack Hustler, I sprinted back to the blue stage, singing his lyrics in a whirlwind as onlookers gave me puzzled looks. I have been a dedicated Ice-T fan for 22 long years, ever since my mom bought me his Freedom of Speech album before hearing the profanity laced lyrics and marching right back into the local music store for a refund. I jumped up and down with glee as Ice-T did OG:Original Gangster, 6 in the Morning and a slew of golden era classics. Once again, I then ran back to the black stage, using my access to get onstage as the Descendents went into the latter part of their set. It was a great moment to be within an arms reach of grinning guirarist, Stephen Eggerton. The band was having so much fun; the set was like one big family reunion where everyone knew the lyrics and sang them with a sense of ownership. At one point, I watched as a blind man with a white stick did a stage dive, followed by a guy in a wheel chair who was crowd surfing while the audience held him up. Awesome is the only way I can describe the Descendents set and the backdrop of audience vitality.
That night I caught Cro-Mags do a set in the back of HolyMountain, a local Austin club. I was called a hipster douche bag by an obese bearded fellow and accidentally punched in the ear by a wild mosher as the Mags did a set that was almost exclusively songs from hardcore favorite, Age of Quarrel, mixed with a few Bad Brains covers such as Fearless Vampire Killers. John Joseph at 51 years of age, is in fantastic physical condition and has the energy of a hungry wolf pack. The Krshna Conscious singer mentioned how he would be back in Austin soon to run an annual triathlon.
All pictures by Lizzbeth Tamburri.
I was greeted Sunday by Kathleen Hanna’s The Julie Ruin. What was once Kathleen Hanna’s solo electronic project is now a fully blossomed band. I watched a few songs and then wandered over to the squared circle for Austin’s own local wrestling promotion, Anarchy Championship Wrestling. These guys are no Bret Hart’s or “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s but what they are is quality yet campy entertainment, and after all, isn’t that what professional wrestling is all about. They curse each other and hurl bodies towards the audience. At one point, during the Cro Mags black stage performance, two of the wrestlers start moshing in the ring. These guys and gals are a staple in Austin, appearing once a month at music venue, The Mohawk and annually at the Fest where onlookers are either puzzled, amused, or excited to see the pugilists throwing each other around with hip tosses and drop kicks. After the wrestling, I watched Killer Mike and the sound guys fumble around the skate ramp for what was either supposed to be Mike rapping and or dj’ing. It was rather confusing. He spit some accapellas for the crowd before descending upon them, announcing that it was time to smoke weed with his fans. Nobody seemed too aggravated.
I watched Deltron 3030 on the blue stage which was packed with performers including an orchestra, Del The Funkee Homosapien, Dan The Automator, and their dj, Kid Koala. The set had a jovial circus vibe going on as Del kept his calm, busting flows over the madness. Next up was The Locust, a band that has been performing extreme music since before half of the audience was born. The set was short and spastic, loud and fast. I wouldn’t expect any less. It was great to finally see them.
I skipped Good Life Café hip hop veterans, Juraasic Five to catch the master’s of metal, Slayer. Although Dave Lombardo has moved on and Jeff Hanneman has passed away, these guys still have high voltage power and riffs that could penetrate steel walls. They played some newer songs and classics from Seasons In The Abyss such as “Dead Skin Mask” and “Hallowed Point” before closing out the night with earth shattering anthems, “Angel of Death” and “Reign In Blood.”
Fun Fun Fun Fest represents the diversity of Austin’s wide ranging artistic pallet. Whether you are a die hard metal head, a connoisseur of comedy, or a fair weathered fan of trending indie rock, you will not be bored at this fest. The promoters work hard putting this buffet of sounds together that caters to people from all walks of life. Every year thousands of fans await the yearly lineup and I can tell you this, I am one of them. I can’t even guess who will headline next year but here’s to hoping its R Kelly.
-David Saint Timbercrest
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