Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013 Day 3: Jurassic 5 Bring Bangin’ Blowout, MGMT Keep It Weird + More – Exclusive Photos
It’s fairly easy to think of your favorite music festival and begin throwing out the phrase “Only at (insert fest name here) …”
Yet with so many elements of major multi-day fests becoming increasingly homogenized -- whether it be repetitive art pieces (gnarly metal sculptures), food (Please, NO. MORE. SPICY PIE.) or the band rosters themselves -- there is typically some event elsewhere that comparess.
Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest, however, may be the exception. Take a few examples from Day 3 (Nov. 10) of the event’s eighth edition, held for the third consecutive year before a skyline backdrop at Auditorium Shores.
Truly, only at FFF can one check out a staggering variety of music, take an afternoon ride on the skate and BMX ramps (and attempt to see Killer Mike perform atop one, if only his ghetto-rigged sound system had cooperated) and mob the main stage after a solid performance from the Julie Ruin to try and catch goodies launched from the Taco Cannon. (yes, it launches free tacos and T-shirts) while bouncing around to the ‘Mortal Kombat’ theme song.
And thanks to the wholly unique feature of four more or less genre-specific stages, FFF is pretty much the only place you could catch bits of the Men, Washed Out, Sarah Silverman, Deltron 3030, MGMT, Gojira, Slayer and Jurassic 5 within the span five hours. It was all part of the (extremely successful) plan to, as they say here in the Live Music Capital of the World, “Keep Austin Weird.”
That said, enduring the throngs and standing up for hours and hours to sample the entire smorgasbord can become exhausting. Here’s who made it all worthwhile on Day 3:
Best energy booster – Dessa: If you were searching for an early afternoon pick-me-up, the talents of Minneapolis-based hip-hop crew Doomtree’s only female member should’ve done the trick. With her main gang, Dessa is focused on fierce raps, which was handles here by serving up potent cuts like ‘The Crow’ and ‘The Man I Knew.’
The latter -- a sample from her recently released solo album, ‘Parts of Speech’ -- saw the MC leap into the crowd and amp up fans by running up and rhyming in their faces. Most notable, though, were the dominant, soulful singing tracks, which, with the help of a superb live band and female harmony vocalists, imbued her set with an uplifting spirit perfect for the final day’s kick-off.
Best at keeping it the weirdest – MGMT: It’s a fair gripe that most MGMT shows in recent years have come across lackluster. Songwriters and principal singers Andrew VanWyngarden and Benjamin Goldwasser looked apathetic on stage, as if they couldn’t bear the thought that most everyone probably just wanted to hear ‘Electric Feel’ and ‘Kids.’
But following the release of a magnificently psychedelic self-titled record in September, the duo -- filled out with an additional four members onstage -- delivered a FFF performance that lived up to its recent no-holds-barred experimentation. The musicians looked vivacious and happy as they worked through the wistful meanderings of ‘The Youth,’ ‘Weekend Wars’ and ‘Congratulations,’ and when they busted out those radio-friendly hits near the end, they managed to play with a certain degree of spunk -- aided by some tastefully trippy visuals -- that indicated a newfound comfort in their own skins.
Best fest-ending hip-hop party (possibly ever) – Jurassic 5: Slayer fans will disagree with this assertion -- let’s face it, unless you’re Ice-T, thrash metal and hip-hop likely seem born of two completely different wombs -- but the recently reunited hip-hop outfit had all the highest-grade ingredients for the most memorable FFF blowout.
Touring all year long -- starting with the first gig in seven years with all original members at Coachella in April -- has clearly paid off: The raps of Chali 2na, Zaakir, Akil and Mark 7even were as tack-sharp as the choreographed moves they nailed with more finesse than trained pop stars 20 years their junior.
Then, amid their slew of bounce-worthy jams, DJs Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark staged an instrumental break using custom handheld MPCs and a scratch turntable as large as a kitchen table. Safe to say that no amount of riffage or flames from Slayer could’ve incited a crowd reaction as jubilant as that expert mix session executed on a 5-foot-diameter wheel of steel.
What's more, this was the group's final scheduled date, and they've revealed no intentions of staying together or releasing new material. Thus, FFF attendees may have witnessed the last show from one of the greatest groups in hip-hop history.
Check Out More Exclusive Photos from Day 3 of Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013