If there's anything we should take away from the 2015 festival season, it's that maybe music blogs should keep a few weather nerds on staff. There have to be at least a few folks that love both meteorology and music, and they sure would be handy when trying to figure out what to expect as we prepare for our multi-day outdoor musical experiences.
After FPSF had to move because of high waters, the first-world nightmare that was Tomorrowworld, the complete cancellation of Something Wicked and day three of Voodoo Fest being called off, you can't really blame anyone headed to Fun Fun Fun Fest who may be worrying just a bit too much about the weather in Austin this weekend. As of this writing, the weather doesn't seem like much to worry about, although it's almost certainly going to rain at some point between Friday night and Saturday day. Not ideal, as the temperatures are going to drop into the mid-60s during the day, but still probably better than watching Danzig feebly try to start a riot.
And besides, by the time the rain does roll in, if it does what is predicted, the actual biggest question of the festival will have been long answered: will the Friday ticket line be the disaster that it was last year?
Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm a bit of a hypocrite for bringing this up, as my experience last year dealing with the line wasn't particularly awful, what with being a credentialed part of the media and all (#humblebrag), but that doesn't mean I didn't feel bad for all those people stuck in line for hours last year. It was a bad situation for all parties involved, and if you're one of those who have sworn off the festival I would not blame you.
But you've gotta think that there's no way they'd having people standing in line to get in for hours again, right? They've had a year, and we can only assume that they've worked out whatever the issues were at the time. Unless, of course, it rains early and...well...I leave it to you to imagine the scenario that snowballs into disaster. Me? I'm bringing a hoodie and hoping for the best.
With all the (potential) doom and gloom out of the way, let's talk the 2015 lineup. As always, the FFF Fest organizers have put together a collection of music, comedy and more that looks to have a little something for everyone, from legends to bands so independent you can't even find them on Spotify. Here is just a small sampling of bands that you should make time for this weekend:
Obviously this is here because my pro-emo bias is showing, but American Football are great at what they do, and if you're looking to get all touch with your emotions, this a damn fine way to do it.
Antemasque killed it when they played Fitz last year, putting on one of my favorite performances of the year. The lineup has changed slightly, with Blink 182's-Travis Barker playing drums for the group, and to have a drummer that talented playing with some real musicians (I say this as someone who, not surprisingly, loves Blink) for a change should be something special.
No matter what festival you go to, no matter who is playing at the same time as the Queen Diva, you go see Big Freedia. It's simple. Nothing against Chain of Strength, The Growlers or Andrew WK, but a Big Freedia show is something you simply must experience as often as you can. That's just how it is.
You know the thing where an old-school wrestler gets in the ring and then shocks the crowd by still being able to move and everyone starts chanting, “You've still got it!”? Cheap Trick still have it, so unless you absolutely must hear “No Flex Zone” or you'll die, make your way over to the Orange stage to see them.
This is their only reunion date of 2015, and no one really knows anything about the lineup or who will be singing, and for some reason I find that really intriguing.
The best comedy you'll find outside of the Yellow stage this year, and quite possibly funnier than a lot of what you'll hear there too. Besides, do you really want to see Jane's Addiction again? Really?
You're lucky you have a chance to see one of the legends of shoegazing, so don't miss it. If you've never listened to Nowhere or Going Blank Again, do that on the drive to Austin. You'll thank me.
The Secret Group
Support your Houston comedy crew, including Andrew Youngblood, Chase Durousseau and Gabe Bravo. No joke, Gabe Bravo was one of the best things I saw at Fun Fun Fun Fest 2014.
I'll confess I don't know much about Slow Magic -– apparently he wears a mask? — but I know that when I listen to his tracks they feel like the perfect thing to listen to on a Friday afternoon when the sun is out. Hopefully the weather will do us a solid.
S U R V I V E
Broadly speaking, I love the way that FFF Fest puts together its schedules. They can look top-heavy, but once you start digging into them you can discover some gems you wouldn't have come across otherwise. I don't really know how to describe S U R V I V E, but they're kind of creepy and kind of dance-y and maybe a little bit retro, but not really. They're in that weird “first band at a festival” slot on Saturday, but give them a listen.
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Cory Garcia is a Contributing Editor for the Houston Press. He once won an award for his writing, but he doesn't like to brag about it. If you're reading this sentence, odds are good it's because he wrote a concert review you don't like or he wanted to talk pro wrestling.