On the second day of Fun Fun Fun Fest, we got up early so we could make Keep Shelly in Athens’ early set at 12:45. That morning, the streets were flooded with UT fans, who had deluged to the Austin downtown area for some big game (of which I will never understand the value). After finally finding a shady Jack in the Box at which to get a bite to eat, we grabbed a friend and headed to Auditorium Shores.
Keep Shelly in Athens was, by and large, the reason I attended Fun Fun Fun Fest on Saturday. This show was their very first ever show in the United States of America. Ever! It was really exciting to be able to show up and represent at the very front of the (albeit small) crowd for an independent chillwave band that had come all the way from austerity-torn Greece to play in America. Unfortunately, while enjoyable, their set was pretty humdrum. The lead vocalist was this cute, tiny little thing that spoke in very broken English and smiled every time I whooped. Her vocals sounded fine and fresh, but apparently most of the songs played were from their forthcoming LP via Planet Mu, so it was rather strange to hear vocals in every song. Among others, they played “Hauntin’ Me” and “Cremona Memories”, to the latter of which they apparently added lyrics after getting a full-time vocalist. The guitarist was fantastic, and the sounds were pleasant, but it just didn’t translate too well to the live venue, partially because the electronics were just mixed too low. All in all, though, I’m really glad I got to see them.
After seeing Keep Shelly in Athens, we fucked around for a little while, among other things, seeing a Saharan band that had been playing since 1979 called Tinariwen and trying and totally failing to enjoy tUnE-YarDs’ set. Really just kinda went for a friend, but, cute as the lead vocalist was, the band was pretty much a joke, in my opinion. I’m glad some legit hipster out there likes them. We made it to the Blue Stage just in time to hear Active Child wrapping up with “Playing House”, which was really awesome to see live.
We were really excited about seeing Dan Deacon. Though we were mostly only familiar with “Spiderman of the Rings”, his debut album, who hasn’t seen the viral video for “Crystal Cat”? His sound and aesthetic are so evocative and colorful that he was easily a shoe-in on our itinerary. He started with a fantastic little splurge of noise-joy, reminiscent of a cross between Fantômas and Gangpol und Mit. Two or three tracks in, though, he started having technical issues and started playing these bullshit crowd-pleaser games that a friend in attendance mentioned that he does at every show, nearly down to the word. That seemed a little trite to me, and it surely didn’t help that he elected to be on level with the crowd, as opposed to on stage, where the short folks like us could see him, so that was little anticlimactic. The final straw, however, came when some probably X’ed out dumbfuck decided to start crowdsurfing all over the place and just had to sail our way. We were not in the mood for antics. We just wanted to see a good show. My kickass girlfriend just let the jackass fall on the ground, but on his way down, he knocked my glasses off. For a split second, I realized that if someone stepped on my glasses, my entire weekend would be over, so I grabbed them up before that happened, grabbed my friend, and got outta there. Thank god nothing happened, or I probably woulda been kicked out for violent assault. Afterwards, Dan started having even more sound problems, so we blew his godawful set. Oh, by the way, in the above embedded Youtube video, you can see the little shit that couldn’t just take his Ritalin and enjoy the show. Seriously, fuck that guy.
After skipping town on the biggest failure of the weekend, we geared up for good spots for M83’s show. Gracing our presence all the way from France, M83 was an act none of us were about to miss. In fact, for some of us, it was the entire reason they got up that day. We made sure we were relatively close and waited for the set to start.
Utilizing mostly work from their new double album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, M83 put on a show charged with energy and triumph. The sound of their new LP is very distinctive, in comparison to older work, in that Anthony uses a different method of vocalization. Gone are the largely whispered vocals in the vein of “Don’t Save Us From the Flames”, being mostly replaced with an 80s-esque shout and the occasional harmonization with his new female vocalist. The guitarist kicked it on stage like it was the only show he would ever play in his lifetime. The drummer battled it out for their nearly hour-long set to excellent effect. Anthony alternated between guitar and synth, crying out the refrains of his new magnum opus the entire time, joined often by the female singer, who too was glued to a keyboard. They played a plethora of songs from Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, but in addition to that, “Teen Angst”, “Kim & Jessie”, and “Skin of the Night”, three that I was very, very happy to hear. All told, M83 was the best set that entire day, and my only complaint was that a couple of tall, rude French bitches stood right in front of us for the majority of the show after we kindly moved to let them get by. Le hmmph.
Though I’m not as big of a fan of “Era Extraña” as I am of “Psychic Chasms”, the tunes from Alan Palomo’s new record certainly translate better to the live realm than do his earlier efforts. It has come to my attention that the debut album was never really meant to be reproduced live, which makes sense to me, due to how carefully crafted it was, what with all the audio mangling and tailoring going on all up in here. With that in mind, however, the few jams we did manage to catch were enjoyable. It was at the very least fun to hear Neon Indian perform, among others, “Deadbeat Summer”, “Psychic Chasms”, and “Polish Girl”.
Alas, though, we dreamt of attending Tera Melos’ Fun Fun Fun Fest Nites performance at Red 7 with Boris and Russian Circles, we were tired and filthy, so we ended the day early and on a good note, preferring to save our energy for the third and final day.
I must mention that if any reader knows the name of Dan Deacon’s first song, I would love to note it, so I can download it later. I cannot find a set list ANYWHERE
(Disclaimer: None of the above photos or video shoots are by my hand.)