My Fun Fun Fun Recap

Photo by Chad Wadsworth of Pitchfork

I haven’t had an extraordinary amount of time this week to delve into this past weekend, so this post is a little late. I suppose I wanted to let everything settle down and let the experience marinate. And after several days of contemplation, I’ve come to the conclusion that my initial thoughts were correct – this was the best Fun Fun Fun yet, and probably the best weekend of my year. Well done, Transmission. Well done.

I admit I was initially very nervous about the festival’s move to Auditorium Shores; was my favorite little 3-day adventure turning into a mini-ACL? Well after this weekend I understood that it kind of was….but the keyword is “mini.” The location may have changed, the crowds may have gotten slightly bigger (in a bigger park, it really didn’t feel like it, though), but the devil-may-care vibe is still there. Great food, great music, same ideal stage setups. They still haven’t fixed the beer situation, though. Just Heineken and Tecate? I think next year I’ll spring for PIP so I don’t have to pay $6 for that crap. Basically, it was a Fun Fun Fun experience just like Waterloo, pros and cons included, though it felt more smoothly run this time around. You still had the dust problems, the expensive drinks issues, occasional sound debacles….you know, festival stuff. But as far as weekend fests go, Fun Fun Fun still cannot be beat.

Friday’s crowd was sparse most of the day – After Best Fwends, who were the usual boredom, I ventured over to the Black stage for Mind Spiders and then hit up Car Stereo Wars at the Blue stage. Both were fun starts to the day. Next up was Cloud Nothings, who played a substantial amount of new tunes – the new stuff is darker and angsty… they weren’t that great. Biggest disappointment of the weekend. We’ll see how the new album is, but I’m not holding my breath or anything. We wandered back over to Black for D Generation, who were fantastic, before venturing to Orange for Friday’s highlight: The Thermals. I swear, these guys just get better and better every time I see them. Always an uplifting show, and the small pit was kicking up dust like a herd of maniacs. We all sang along to every word. We hung around for Black Joe Lewis for a bit before heading over to Blue to catch a bit of Big Freedia and Spank Rock. From this point, I semi-wish I would have stayed at Blue to catch Public Enemy, who were apparently phenomenal. Instead we watched the end of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, who played a bunch of old tunes and sounded perfect. Passion Pit, who I’ve seen four times now, were expectedly great; the view of Austin downtown behind them was breathtaking. The vocalist’s pipes seemed a bit shot, though – I preferred their previous show at Stubb’s. Passion Pit had the biggest crowd of the three headliners that night, though the next day everyone was talking about Danzig’s tardiness and subsequent attempt at inciting a riot. You can read all about it elsewhere; I hate Danzig, I wasn’t there, and it thankfully wasn’t part of my FFF experience.

Saturday: The best day of the fest, bar none. Maybe my best Fun Fun Fun day ever. Every band I saw exceeded expectations. Purity Ring, T Bird and the Breaks, The Joy Formidable, Tune-Yards, Ra Ra Riot….all amazing. I was overwhelmed by how great everyone was. And then M83 made my weekend, as I knew they would. Even a short sound issue during the first song couldn’t keep the sheer cinematic onslaught of Anthony Gonzalez’s music from overpowering me. And afterwards, he signed a poster for me! That old bucket list is getting shorter and shorter. The crowds were pretty rowdy during Childish Gambino and Neon Indian, but they turned obnoxious during Major Lazer, so we moved to the back where people were doing more dancing than shoving. The crowd was massive compared to the day before.

Sunday we all decided to take it pretty easy. We showed up late and caught a bit of NoBunny before the boogie-worthy MNDR. We stuck around through Austra, who are just…not my thing. But Baths is. I absolutely love that guy. One of the best producers out there right now. We shimmied on over to Architecture in Helsinki for a bit, and then I parted ways with friends who wanted to grab a good spot for Diplo. I met up with them later, but I wasn’t missing Hum, who were LOUD and AWESOME. Afterwards, I walked over to catch Diplo and shake my ass. He’s got to be the best DJ in the world right now. Perfect transitions, great beats, he was really riling the crowd up. A great ending to an amazing festival.

I would like to say that I attended all the afterparties and raged just as hard, but my dogs were barking, as they say. None of the Nites lineups were enticing enough to endure. Perhaps I’m getting too old for this charade. Maybe next year.

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