Saturday's FFFF was a dusty affair, with merch tables making money off bandannas and other face coverings hand over fist. Where did that phrase come from, by the way? What do hands and fists have to do with making money, aside from petty crime?
SLIDESHOWS: The Girls of Fun Fun Fun Fest
Anyhow, the big draws on the second day of this FFFF were Girl Talk, the Refused bringing their reunion set to Texas, and the double-barreled swag-rap attack of Danny Brown and A$AP Rocky.
I was excited to see Public Image Ltd. and Paul Banks, but disappointed by both sets. PiL -- who played Houston's Scout Bar on Friday -- were more Public Karaoke than anything else, though I enjoyed the vigor of John Lydon's band. As for erstwhile Interpol singer Paul Banks, I was bored to tears with his solo work, though his voice is still endearing. Come back Interpol, you are missed. CRAIG HLAVATY
I have seen a lot of bands trying to do what the Swedish punks in Refused, who broke up in 1998, accomplished in their relatively short first time around. Saturday night the reunited band took all those pretenders to task, in the politest way possible. Lead singer Dennis Lyxzén told all the old stories and looked back on the band's anarchistic past with a smirk, mentioning a Houston stop in 1996 with Snapcase. The band goes back into hibernation in 2013. CRAIG HLAVATY
YOUTH OF TODAY The most entertaining show, at least crowd-wise, was Youth of Today at the Black Stage. The seminal hardcore band mixed music with platitudes, with singer Ray Cappo encouraging the crowd to believe in themselves, be true to the world, etc, before breaking into his trademark growl. The crowd was a good mix of pot smokers and straightedgers, including one kid who couldn't have been more than 20 wearing both a letter jacket (in 90-degree heat) and a T-shirt declaring himself Straight Edge. I also saw a girl with giant letter tattoos on her shins that read VEGAN POWER.
About halfway through the show a guy outside the gates of the festival took a running jump and clambored over the 10-foot fence, flying into the crowd right in the middle of the mosh pit. Through the chain link and mesh fence I could see two fat security guards mulling around trying to figure out what to do. I was rooting for the scofflaw because I have a soft spot for anarchy and because I was impressed by his high-jump skills, but a security guard found him and escorted him out.
A few songs later I looked towards a gap in the fence and saw a grizzled old man with tattooed hand holding the youngest, most adorable puppy I've seen in a long while. The pup was poking its nose though the fence while the guy leaned against it, watching Youth of Today from outside the festival. It kind of made my day. BRITTANIE SHEY
I've been pretty vocal about how much I like Kreayshawn's ironically bad rap ,but she didn't really deliver onstage. Her songs are catchy and her videos are like psychedelic versions of a Katy Perry shoot, but her live act was just dull. She didn't seem to connect with the audience at all. Maybe she's not ironically bad. Maybe she's just not good. It kind of sucks, because I enjoy seeing people shake up a genre, and that includes a foul-mouth Jewish white girl rapping about bitches and designer handbags. BRITTANIE SHEY
Girl, you are bad, and you should feel bad. I was excited to finally see you after all these years of you avoiding me. So I emailed your people and they set up an quick interview/ photo shoot. I was so happy. I waited for you, but you stood me up. Oh well, shit happens. But then I caught your show and my heart broke even more. Voice? Whiny and forced. Look? Vintage and hungry, and not in a good way. Performance? Lacking. You play Houston tonight (Warehouse Live). Glad I won't be there. (Unless you want me to! Call me!) MARCO TORRES
GANGSTA RAP MASSAGES
Top Dawg Entertainment's most promising young rapper not named Kendrick Lamar hit FFFF's Blue Stage at the hottest and dustiest part of the day, but Schoolboy Q would not let less than ideal conditions deter him from delivering his West Coast sound to his ATX fans. He did what any other kid from the hood does on a hot day... he took off his shirt and turned up the music.
Of course he dropped in his biggest hit "Hands On the Wheel" to cheers and a rapalong, but the best part of the set was during "Blessed." The chorus of that song is laden with the word "nigga," and SBQ noticed the white people in the crowd (most of the crowd) refraining from the term. "Fuck that, I'm giving all y'all muthafuckas a pass today!" he said. "Sing my shit right!"
All I could do was laugh as I was doing some gangsta shit of my own in the press tent -- I was getting a deep-tissue massage. Yeah, I'm fucking hardcore like that. MARCO TORRES
WHITE PEOPLE DANCING
One of these days I'm going to film this music-festival ritual and put it on the YouTube. I'm sure it will go viral and make me a millionaire, and be turned into a movie starring Michael Cera as an awkward emotional teenager who is desperate to win the heart of the prettiest girl in school.
After catching A$AP Rocky and Refused, I sat myself down at the top of the hill overlooking Girl Talk's impressive light show and mash-up free-for-all. As the crowd made their way towards the exit during his set, a seemingly endless parade of funny arm flailing, inspired hip-thrusting, and super-off-beat hand-clapping made its way into my field of vision. Comedy gold. Don't steal my idea, fuckers! MARCO TORRES
DEATHFIX Deathfix is a project from Brendan Canty, of the dormant Fugazi and Rites of Spring, with help from producer-keyboardist Rich Morel. Their early afternoon Orange Stage set scratched an itch we didn't know we had. If you were going because of the Fugazi and Rites pedigree, you were rewarded with buttery chords and well-spaced beds of noise. CRAIG HLAVATY
COMEDY AND NEAR-COMEDY
I spent most of Saturday at the Black Stage. The singer for Seaweed tried to soothe crowds pre-show with a comedy routine, which was really just him rambling onstage. It was funny only in the fact that he was failing miserably. "I just saw David Cross so I figured fuck it," he said Speaking of, I tried to squeeze into the Yellow Tent for David Cross's show but probably half of the Fun Fun Fun Fest crowd has the same idea. The audience was so deep you could't even hear him. BRITTANIE SHEY
DAUGHN GIBSON The towering and sonorous Gibson plays in Houston Sunday night for free, at, Walters with Grandfather Child, and you should definitely see him. Accompanied by a keyboardist and a collection of down-tuned beats, Gibson sneered and moaned gothic ballads about small-town drama and lurching romantic moments a la Nick Cave and Johnny Cash . CRAIG HLAVATY
PUBLIC IMAGE LTD.
PiL was awfully fun too. John Lydon is ever the diva. A friend had gone to see him at Scout Bar Friday night and asked him for an autograph, to which he replied, "Don't be silly." But there he was Saturday afternoon at FFFFest, sitting in the Waterloo Records tent signing autographs for a line a mile long.
For the PiL show, the viewing platforms for press and VIP ticket holders was cordoned off, along with something like a 20-foot radius all around the backstage area. But from the front of the stage Lydon was decidedly perky and his usual cantankerous self, asking the crowd "You're still here?" after the first number, "This Is Not a Love Song."
I am really only familiar with PiL's early music, so I'm not sure what other people were expecting, but the arrangements last night were decidedly dance-y. Not that that's a bad thing. Actually it worked quite well with Lydon's pissed-off post-punk lyrics, especially on the aforementioned "Love Song" and "Bags." I, for one, was dancing my ass off. It seemed like a good segue into the evening's closer, Girl Talk. BRITTANIE SHEY
STRFKR The panda bear blowing/fighting with a stripping (fake) cop onstage was a nice bonus to STRFKR's heavily packed set. Shades of New Order and Yeasayer could be heard, and the electro-indie outfit's new cuts were extremely satisfying. CRAIG HLAVATY
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Bands from Saturday I liked, in brief: Braid, Nomeansno, Refused. BRITTANIE SHEY