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Thursday, November 20, 2014

FUN FUN FUN FEST Day 2 pt 1

FFF Fest Day 2. The Return of the King

Special thanks to Jay Longoria for lending his writing skills and enjoyment of the event to give you this over view of FFF Fest 2014, Day 2!     


So, the word on the street (by which I mean "the Internet") was that the first day of Fun Fun Fun Fest did not exactly get off to a smooth start. Fest-ers experienced huge delays to get in and had to stand in long lines that purportedly stretched from the festival front gate on Riverside Drive to back across the South First Street bridge. If you're familiar with this part of downtown Austin, I don't need to tell you how utterly crazy that sounds. While I'm not sure how that fiasco happened, I can happily attest that FFF's organizers learned from it and made sure that shit like that did not happen on Day 2!




(The view from the corner of South First and Caesar Chavez. Note the lack of insane lines of people.)

     I walked to the Fest from my parking spot downtown and at no time did I encounter a wall of impenetrable human traffic. On top of it all, the weather was great, with the sun shining in a mostly clear sky. As I walked up to the front gate I started to feel pretty stoked for a full day of...well...fun fun fun.






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(The road leading up to the front gate, also blessedly free of human traffic jams.)



Now, I have to preface this by saying this was my very first experience at Fun Fun Fun Fest. For years, I had always meant to come to one, and kept putting it off. But, I finally decided to pull the trigger when I found out that day 2 would be headlined by none other than the great and legendary King Diamond (more on that later!)


  











                                                (Nice day, not too crowded. And, King Diamond's playing later? What more can you ask for?)



I got in at around 1p.m., grabbed a beer, a schedule, and started wandering around while I waited for the first act I wanted to see, Glassjaw. I passed by the wrestling ring where an Impact Pro Wrestling match was just starting. These guys went all out in the classic pro wrestling style, complete with flips off the top rope, suplexes, closelines, and plenty of braggadocio.




















(Wrasslin')
     

Glassjaw (http://glassjaw.merchdirect.com), is a post-hardcore (a.k.a. screamo) band hail from Hoboken, NY and are known for the controlled chaotic sound of their music. I used to like this band about 10 or so years ago and actually had one of their albums, Worship and Tribute.


                            (Glassjaw)
     
They played as tightly live as I remember them sounding on record. I wasn't familiar with any of their other recordings, but I found I recognized quite a few of the songs in their set as coming off that album. Their vocalist, Daryl Palumbo, thrashed and convulsed around the stage, effortlessly going from sweet, melodic intonations to ear shattering screams. Despite his mostly aggressive vocal style, the dude can actually sing. Overall, I can say that Glassjaw were definitely an energetic live band and their interesting--at times technical--song arrangements did not suffer for it. Good show, gentlemen.


Afterwards, I made my way across the grounds over to where the Blue Stage was located to wait for the next show on my "to-see" list: 














































                          (Gary Numan fucking rocking it)

Gary Numan (http://www.numan.co.uk). When I was planning my trip, I was intrigued to learn that Numan, a recognized innovator in electronic/industrial music, was on the bill. I figured, "why not?" This decision turned out to give me the most completely unanticipated yet pleasant surprise of the whole day. Gary Numan kinda fucking rocks!

Listeners who are only familiar with Numan's enduring hit, "Cars", should do themselves a favor and check out some of the rest of his work. Every song he performed shined with an edgy brilliance that drew you in, got your head nodding, and made you raise your hands in the air after it was over. While I had previously only thought of him as a "new wave" artist, it appeared that he'd adopted more of an industrial rock style somewhere along the way. The effect was his songs had a more modern, and harder, edge to them. It was not hard to see why he's considered so influential in this particular genre. I had originally only planned to check out part of his show so that I could trek clear across to the other side of the festival to see Fred Armisen.  It only took a couple of songs into Numan's set to make me change that decision.  No regrets there, really.



  
Speaking of Fred Armisen (http://www.fredarmisen.com) when I finally joined the crowd watching his already-in-progress performance, I found him on stage with a guitar in his hands and a backing band behind him, rolling through a set of selected cover songs. Shortly after I arrived, he was joined onstage by none other than J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. for a rendition of Dinsosaur Jr.'s "Feel the Pain"--which is probably the only song by that band that I remember from back in the day. He was also joined by Tim Kurr of Austin punk pioneers, the Big Boys, and performed said bands' song, "Sound on Sound."
                                                                                                                   













(Fred Armison rocking with J Mascis.)


I wish I could say I felt differently, but I was a little disappointed that Armisen was not doing a stand-up or sketch comedy set of some sort. I heard my thoughts echoing in the conversations of the people around me.  While his musical performance was great and Armisen is obviously a talented musician, a showcase of his skills as a comedic performer was decidedly missed.


 Day 2 Part two to Come!

Written by:
Jay Longoria
edited by: William Tompkins


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