Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013 Day 2: Deerhunter Inspired by Television, Ice-T Goes Hard + More – Exclusive Photos
If you think about it, a music festival with a name like Fun Fun Fun Fest has a lot to live up to. Technically speaking, its features and performances ought to be triple the normal amount of fun.
Yet one thing in particular about day 2 (Nov. 9) was not fun at all: The Yellow stage – more of a tent-hovel reserved for comedic acts – was utterly inaccessible at any given time. To afford enough time to get in and find a spot to check out top-tier talent like Craig Robinson and Tenacious D, one would’ve had to sacrifice choice performances from Chelsea Light Moving (creative outlet for Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore), Geographer and possibly even some of Television. The spillover of bodies from that too-tiny tent prevented fans from hearing the doubtlessly hilarious routines happening inside.
Overall, though, the day was fantastic. Only a few things were merely fun (L.A. lady-rock outfit Bleached, East Coast rap group Underachievers, Japanese noise-rock duo Melt Banana). More fell into the middle rating of fun fun (Chelsea Light Moving, the ever-touted Television, rapturously rambunctious rapper, M.I.A.). And a handful of acts struck triple-F gold.
Here’s who best upheld the FFF standard:
Best crowd interaction – Geographer: The San Francisco-based trio’s frontman, Michael Deni, wasted no time making sure the crowd was in it to win it during their late-afternoon set. As the bouncy opening cut, ‘Simple Life,’ began, Deni climbed down onto the photo pit speakers to inspire the audience: “Are you ready to have a show? Not just be at a show — have a show?” he asked, drawing resounding cheers.
His strategy was uncomplicated: invest some interest in your fans, and they’ll gladly return the favor. It worked like a charm to kick-start a carefree dance party during the peppy ‘Lover’s Game.’ Deni then sealed the deal by introducing the heavy click-clack-beat-meets-smooth-electric-cello mix of ‘Kites’ with a dedication to Austin as “a second home.” Yeah, it’s a likely story to tell, but when the crowd caught Deni as he took a stage dive and quick crowd-surf, it was clear he wasn’t doing it wrong.
Best impromptu tribute – Deerhunter: Funnily enough, this came during the Atlanta-based quintet’s soundcheck. Frontman Bradford Cox’s mutterings to the sound technician revealed that he, for whatever reason, had borrowed some equipment from Tom Verlaine of Television, whose stirring performance came directly before.
“I always want Tom Verlaine’s amp on my rider,” said Cox with a sly grin. He then started playing the main riff to Television’s ‘Marquee Moon,’ which prompted a couple minutes of improvised jamming. That led to Cox pointing out what “a great honor” it was to play on the same stage as the seminal New York City band. Maybe Cox & Co. were stimulated by the ultra-warm sound of the borrowed amp, or perhaps that spontaneous pseudo-cover intro got them giddy, but this night’s renditions of ‘Desire Lines,’ ‘Blue Agent’ and the set-closing ‘Monomania’ were particularly spellbinding.
Best one-two-punch – Ice-T: Apparently FFF believes that Ice-T is best served at double-strength. The classic rapper shone brightest of all on Day 2 by performing twice: first on the Black Stage with his ‘90s-era thrash metal band, Body Count, and later to close out the Blue Stage as his original rap persona.
Contrary to buzzing perceptions that Body Count might come off silly, the group performed an unbridled hardcore energy that rivaled anything else featured on that stage before them. Ice-T didn’t exactly rap or sing — it was more like chanting — but his delivery was powerfully convincing as he roared out classics like ‘Body Motherf—ing Count’ and told any cops in the crowd to “suck a hot bowl of dicks.”
His evening-ending show served as a glorious old-school hip-hop blowout. He paid tribute to Curtis Mayfield with the 1988 single ‘I’m Your Pusher,’ then invoked a widespread rap-along with another cut from that era, ‘High Roller.’ The most entertaining moment, though, was when he made fun of his own detective role on ‘Law & Order’ before ‘Girls L.B.G.N.A.F.’: “I see a lot of young ladies here in the front — how old are you?” he asked one fan. “16?! This might be a job for SVU.”
So when all was said and done, who even needs a comedy stage when get a double-dose of Ice-T? On-point, hilarious and hard-as-f—, all rolled into one.
Check Out Exclusive Photos from Day 2 of Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013