Fun Raised to the Power of Three*

Though the redundantly-named Fun Fun Fun Fest is only in its third year, relative infancy for a music festival with such an ambitious lineup, Waterloo Park and Transmission Entertainment seem well up to the Fest’s thrown glove name. Invoking a Dead Milkmen reunion, indie buzzbands galore, and an electronic and dj lineup that had dance-loving kids grooving, the park was packed with skinny jeans and mohawks alike braving the dust and sun for four stages of fun.

The Local Music is Sexy pre-show at the Mohawk Friday night started the weekend right with Brothers and Sisters doing their alt-country 60s-vibe of feel-good tunes. Foot Patrol made foot fetishes fun, ending with a killer Prince cover that got the entire crowd dancing and singing along, and secret guest Dengue Fever kept the party going until after 2am with Cambodian pop-infused psychedelic indie that was positively infectious.

Personal highlights from Saturday:

 Octopus Project

Octopus Project, who drew a crowd of loyal hometown fans. They rocked out with dancing puppets? muppets? dream-totems? behind them, Yvonne somehow remaining perfectly composed despite the heat and sun that directly blasted the stage. As they tentatively try their hand with more vocals, it somehow still works with their very electronic sound, moving them forward while maintaining the feel that fans love.

Deerhoof 

Deerhoof! From the very beginning, when they emerged on stage in lion and tiger heads, you knew there was something strange and intriguing ahead. What you may not have expected, however, was the ferocious and awesome drumming, which drove every song forward and energized onlookers. Reaching from all of their albums, the diverse set and endearing thank-you from the band charmed the dusty crowd.

 Dan Deacon

We only caught the end of Dan Deacon, as Deerhoof gripped our interest and wouldn’t let go, but what we saw was a crazy dance party. Deacon, playing in front of the stage, directed the crowd into a meandering chain of raised arms, and then had kids run through the tunnel that formed. Playful and fun.

 Z-Trip

Z-Trip then came on stage and killed with consummate dj skillz. Mashing Johnny Cash with Rage Against the Machine and many more, he kept the crowd jumping. Our only problem was with his insistence on constantly inciting the audience – the music needed no vocal encouragement for people to dance, they were already going.

Sunday highlights:

Til We’re Blue or Destroy had nine people on stage, but were having about 20 people’s share of the fun. Unintelligible lyrics, tamborines galore, and loud as heck; if you can catch them sometime in the future, they’re worth it.

 Annuals

We hadn’t heard much from the Annuals before, but at a recommendation from Mr. Curiosity of local music blog Covert Curiosity we stuck around, and were glad we did! They were fun, with some lovely harmonies.

 Islands

Islands is all catchy hooks and quirky indie, and didn’t disappoint with their late afternoon set.

 Black Angels

We may be biased, but local psychedelic rockers the Black Angels pretty much rocked our socks off. With fierce drums, gritty, relentless guitar, and wailing vocals, these guys produced a mind-overwhelming sound that felt like the soundtrack to a war. The dusty sunset was the perfect backdrop after the heat of the day, and we were in no way ready for their set to end.

Venturing around for sustenance and alcohol, we missed St. Vincent, which is a little crushing considering the rave reviews we heard of her set. We did make it back for Minus the Bear, who actually did not impress; they seemed very one-note, almost like they were phoning in the performance.

 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

The night ended with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, who were awesome. This cemented their live music cred in Austin as solid indie rockers, and we and the entire crowd, giddy with a weekend full of awesome music and dust, danced around like idiots to their feel-good and alcohol-influenced set.

Girl In a Coma 

We finished off the night at the Mohawk’s afterparty with Girl in a Coma, a rock band signed by Joan Jett. And these girls did rock hard, keeping the packed indoor room thrashing about long after the midnight hour.

*A bit belated, sorry. Thought it had already been posted.

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