This year Austin's Fun Fun Fun Fest moved away from Waterloo Park, the festival's stomping grounds since it began in 2006, and into the large expanse of Auditorium Shores right off Lady Bird Lake. It was a major step for the festival, which keeps growing by leaps and bounds year by year, with the talent pool growing more star-studded and bands coming out of hibernation for reunion sets.
This year was made trickier by the dry air, dirt, and dust permeating the grounds, which sometimes made breathing a fun fun fun task, but didn't damper the mood of the fans and artists who made the Shores their home from Friday to Sunday.
The festival's stages, Yellow, Black, Blue, and Orange were situated farther out than we had been used to in earlier editions of FFFF, but the great weather made walking to the punk and metal-intensive Black stage a bit easier.
This year's drama was Danzig arriving for his set almost an hour late, cutting his two-hour allotted time in half and running up against the city's strict 10 p.m. cut-off. He was to perform a "Danzig Legacy" show, featuring solo hits, Samhain cuts, and Misfits bedrock anthems, but he only eked out two Misfits songs. He did manage to show off his less-interesting solo work, to his credit or discredit, depending on how you feel. The Samhain set was interesting, with Danzig donning a gimp mask.
Check out our blog from Saturday morning to get the skinny. For some reason, Danzig fans are blaming the city and the festival for something that was brought upon by Danzig himself, but you decide for yourself. We only got to hear "Death Comes Ripping" and "Vampira", two of the Misfits songs we dislike the most. Sad Crimson Ghost face.
Elsewhere, actor Ryan Gosling was seen around the park shooting scenes for the film Lawless with director Terence Malick, to the apparent delight of both sexes. We couldn't get close enough to smell, hug, or touch him, sadly.
On Sunday afternoon, 2011's poster boys for bad behavior Odd Future landed on FFFF with their skateboards in tow for the closing set on the Blue stage. We saw them skating around the park, taking turns riding a mechanical bull, and generally being young and obnoxious. We may have seen them barking at fans near Henry Rollins' Yellow stage set too.
For their set that had the photo pit closed, lest anyone were to get kicked, punched, or drenched. The accused Left Brain was walking around the grounds in a Josh Hamilton jersey all weekend.
Here's our favorite ten artists of the weekend. Sadly we only had two men on the ground at this festival, Rocks Off and photographer Marc Brubaker, so it was tough to see everything. Shouting out to The OBN III's, Zero Boys, Hum, Kid Dynamite, Mind Spiders, and Davila 666 for slots we wished we could have parked longer at.
This was our most surprising find on the weekend, as we got on board the deserved hype train for Tinariwen, the Tuareg group currently bewitching critics and fans alike. Their traditional head coverings and garb came in all too handy for the dust bowl at the park.
B L A C K I E
See our Houston-centric review from earlier today. Simply stunning, gratifying, and horrifying.
The seminal UK goth-punkers played all of their debut Damned Damned Damned plus a few other chestnuts, closing with "Smash It Up," dedicated to the Occupy movement. There was also plenty of Danzig-bashing which became the norm from Friday night on. Funny enough, the main Damned dudes, Captain Sensible and Dave Vanian are about the same age as Glenn Danzig and had no problem playing their show.
Spoon's Saturday night closing set was one of the most professional and clean-sounding of the weekend, with a simple stage show and a fan-pleasing 19-song set that included some keepers from 2005's Gimme Fiction. They also threw in enough dance-ready cuts for the drunks and stoners to noodle to.
Our right leg betrayed us during M83's dusk-time Saturday set. Our leg started twitching during "Kim And Jessie" and then refused to stop. And no, it wasn't all the Red Bull we drank. We hear that Friday night's Warehouse Live was a visual stunner too.
Hearing Fat Tony convert an Austin crowd was fun as hell, plus hearing that actor Ryan Gosling and comedian Reggie Watts were giving him props at his Friday night Mohawk show was even better. We owe Tony a hug and a beer.
Continuing the Middle Eastern vibes of Tinariwen came Omar Souleyman, who wowed the dance and hip-hop flavored Blue Stage at the festival.
Heartless BastardsThe Bastards previewed new music from their upcoming follow-up to 2008's The Mountain to great acclaim. We will try not to mention to Chris Gray that he missed the new jams. If you are reading this, Mr. Gray, we apologize.
Like a great cup of coffee and one of those Worx energy shots, Doomriders woke us up out of our early afternoon bleariness. Now if FFFF can get Old Man Gloom to play next year.
Metalhead comedy behemoth Brian Posehn opened for Slayer's unholy Sunday night set, which was stupid-perfect. The four-piece metal heroes opened with "World Painted Blood" and didn't let go for almost two hours of mayhem. We saw people with babies and preggo bellies clamoring for Slayer. Who says you can't start them young. The rumor of them throwing French Onion soup on the crowd proved false, but we did hit up the grocery store afterwards to chow down on some ourselves.
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Not only did you screw your devoted fans out of a what could have been a great, mighty hits set, you made the Rocks Off team have to wake up early on Saturday morning to post a blog on your dumbass. Do you know how much it sucks to wake up early in Austin during a festival weekend? Do you? Also, who just needs French Onion soup to restore themselves for a concert? It's a fatty-fat treat for fat men who have personality disorders, and Rocks Off should know.
But why an honorable mention? Well, the video we shot of the aftermath of your show has been very popular on the Interwebs, so your shittiness has been a shot in our arm.