The third and final day of the three day music festival Fun Fun Fun Fest began with Asobi Seksu’s set at the Orange Stage at 2-something in the afternoon. Hailing from NYC and featuring some pretty heavy Japanese influences, Asobi Seksu was a chance for me to get a good shot at hopefully seeing a good shoegaze show, as previous efforts had failed. There was that one time I saw The Twilight Sad after their terrible new album came out, so that didn’t count. Asobi Seksu (Japanese for “playful sex”) delivered nicely, featuring work from their newer effort Hush, plenty of offerings from their second album Citrus, and I imagine a healthy dose of tunes from their self-titled debut. I was pleasantly surprised by how many of the songs they played were familiar to me, and I also appreciated the fact that all of the instruments and vocals were mixed high and evenly. The band performed with plenty of energy, crammed as many outings into their short slot as possible, and gave me a renewed hunger and thirst for my quest to find and experience more good shoegaze shows. Though the reverb, delay, and wall of sound came through quite nicely for this iconic show, my only complaint is that fuzzbox just doesn’t seem to sound good live at all. That said, during the closer-cum-noise experiment, Yuki Chikudate put her mic down and took to the drum set, banging out a mindblowingly complex, bombastic climax. It kicked ass, but alas, Asobi Seksu’s bouncy, but dreamy set ended all to soon, and my girlfriend and I decided to skip out on Mates of State and use our stolen time to take a walk downtown for some good black and white shots with her vintage camera. Oh, and pardon the audio in the fan-made Youtube embed. Asobi Seksu shook it up that much.
Shortly after returning to the venue, we got some fantastic food courtesy of the Aquarelle booth, which was a great opportunity considering the prices at the actual French restaurant are sky high. God, was it heavenly too, but I’m definitely no gourmand. We staked out the Blue Stage with more than enough time to settle into a good spot to see Baths’ set, trying to not be allured by the final fifteen minutes of Austra’s nearby show. Austra’s entire aesthetic is kind of a turn off for me. It’s kind of a graduation from the classic “I am woman. Hear me roar.” musical movement into the more modernized “I am woman. Watch me be really weird.” musical scene. I think Austra is a witch house band, so that should be enough for you. The synth player was a bit of a siren, though, and their concluding song was pretty damn ghostly, so if any of you peeps happen to know the name of it, I just may give Austra a second go around.
The contents of the above video include more than just Baths’ performance, but whatever kind soul shot it stuck footage of him at the beginning, so thank you, kind soul. As you can see, the fellow was really getting into it. He played to a variety of different angles, mood, and tempos, all of which he played to whooping applause and knee jerk dancing. I had never seen a photo of Baths before, and I genuinely thought he was a black guy, based on the soulful depth of his vocal performance in his studio recordings. No, he has a cracker ass, and I just discovered that he’s only 21! Man, I feel like a flunky! He had a very warm stage presence, sweetly and shyly interacting with the audience between each song, sometimes instigating nostalgic games to play to the tune of his jams, other times embarrassing himself with his long-winded introductions to his favorite songs that he chose to perform for us. I have a sneaking suspicion that live electronic music shows are often little more than glorified manipulation of playback, but artists like Com Truise, Fuck Buttons, and now Baths have surely proven me wrong. This fellow turned his recordings into a veritable glitch-hop mixtape that would make any proponent of turntablism tear up, and he even danced in his own quirky way while feverishly pressing switches and twiddling knobs all throughout. The only song he played that I can name is “Maximalist”, which was a treat to see live, and his set overall was a very pleasant experience.
High on Baths’ laid back set, we once again decided to opt to skip out on someone. This time, we passed on Architecture in Helsinki, partly so we could get one last lap around the grounds in, and also because pretty much everything they’ve released since their debut has been shit. Once nightfall came, we parted ways, my girlfriend heading to see Boris, and me sticking around at the Blue Stage for Flying Lotus’ show.
As luck would have it, locating some footage of Flying Lotus performing “Massage Situation” was a walk in the park. What you see is the apex of the set, which was quite long, by the way, and we had to suffer through some Del the Funky Homosapien before Flylo even took the stage. Ugh. Flying Lotus cranked out some good jams, but after a while, they all started sounding the same. In addition to that, I didn’t have a good spot, due to the sheer numbers in attendance that speak to his level of popularity. Based on interviews I’ve watched and read, I’ve deduced that either the guy wants to create an aura of mystery about himself, he’s unequivocally shy, or he just has little to no personality. Whichever rings true, his stage presence was nonexistent, which could very well have been an albeit odd form of stage presence, granted. All he could seem to get out between sloppy beats was either the word “Austin” or “Flylo”, paired with some curse word over and over and over. It was good to catch the highlights of his set, but it was even better to call it a night early.
We wrapped up our fun fun fun filled weekend by stopping by the merch tent one last time (at which we had previously gone halfsies on a Dan Deacon shirt) and getting out of Dodge. I was tired and dirty, and I may have had my fill of the ever-growing and ever-corporatizing independent music festival, but I also have since felt enlightened, and my lust for life has been renewed. Here’s to good times, and here’s to Fun Fun Fun Fest 2011!
(Disclaimer: Let it be known that none of the above shots or shoot belong to me. They were borrowed, and all credit goes to the respective intrepid souls that captured said images and video.)