Alright, so to put day two of FFF Fest into perspective, I have to talk about the Nites show I went to late on day one at Red 7. I was planning on making it in time to see Fat White Family, Twin Peaks, and King Tuff, but ended up missing Fat White Family. The doorman drew an “X” on each of my hands with a black marker, signifying I wasn’t allowed to drink. I made my way through the smoker’s lounge and no more than three steps in, someone spills a Lone Star on my shoes, making me all the more envious. The small club was absolutely packed, no room to move or breathe. Everyone who could drink was drinking, 3 out of every 4 people were smoking a cigarette, 1 out of 4 a blunt (some of them got kicked out). It was a totally different environment from the main festival, and this meant things good and not so good.
Twin Peaks’ and King Tuff’s sets were fantastic, and there was high energy from the performers and the crowd. Of the first two days, King Tuff’s set at Red 7 was probably the best I saw, and it was great to see a show where the crowd was really into it, jumping around, singing along drunkenly. “Beautiful Thing” was a standout moment of the whole weekend. However, after pushing myself a bit too hard at the festival, going to Red 7 was akin to being kicked in the balls right after giving birth. After King Tuff’s set, my friend and I left and headed back to the car, and I already felt a bit nauseous and had a splitting headache. On the way, we saw a group of girls steal money from a passed out homeless man’s beggar’s cup.
Anyways, we made it back to the festival and kicked the day off with seeing Twin Peaks and King Tuff again. For the most part, the setlists for their Nites shows and their Day 2 shows were very similar, and their energy was comparable (Twin Peaks slightly outdid themselves, King Tuff were a bit more mellow, but still pretty hype). However, the crowds at Red 7 were definitely more energetic. That’s not to say they were dead at Fest, the crowd’s attitude seemed to have shifted from drunk people super hyped to go out of their way to see these acts, to more casual fans just killing time, chilling and having fun. They got a bit rowdy at times though, which was nice.
I will say this: I got sick from King Tuff’s show at Red 7. Over the course of his fest set, I started to feel much better. What a god. After his set, King Tuff (and his main men, Gary and Magic Jake) signed my copy of his self-titled album.
After getting my record signed, I headed over to the blue stage to see Gary Numan. His set consisted heavily of his post-The Pleasure Principle industrial material (though he did play a few classic older tracks, including “Cars”) and was definitely the most sonically violent and physically punishing show I saw. I was feeling a lot better after the King Tuff show, so I got pretty close to the stage, which was probably a mistake. The bass shook my entire body, and I ended up throwing up again. If that’s not the sign of a great show, I don’t know what is. Gary was ridiculously charismatic and put on a fantastic performance worthy of a genius half his age.
After that, I went to go see Iceage at the black stage. I had a feeling this was going to be a bizarre show going in and I was correct. Iceage is an excellent band, and as far as putting forth an accurate representation of themselves at the fest, no one did better. What’s bizarre is the kind of band Iceage are and that they were playing an outside show for a large Austin crowd in the middle of the day. Iceage isn’t a party band, Iceage is depressive art punk, which generally goes over well at not outdoor music festivals. Some people definitely got into it (especially “The Lord’s Favorite”), but overall, there seemed to be a sense of confusion. Elias’ unique brand of charisma (expressive, and yet simultaneously introverted) entranced the front, while the effects seemed to weaken as you went further back. They said very little between songs, but their performances were on point. Regardless of whether certain people were engaged or not, I found Elias to be the most interesting person to watch day two.
Then, I checked out some ACW Wrestling at the wrestling ring. The participants seemed to be having a no-holds-barred match. They used box cutters.
The crowd got involved. I heard a small child comment that he was surprised that the participants weren’t dead.
After that, I got my copy of Dinosaur Jr.’s You’re Living All Over Me signed by J Mascis. I was lucky because he was originally scheduled to sign at 5, but it turns out he had to leave BEFORE 5. I was one of the last people to catch him before he left. Then, I went to the JuiceLand vendor and got myself a Fun Punch.
I checked out some other vendors too.
Next, Black Lips at the black stage. Known for their great live shows, they were excellent at engaging the huge crowd with banter, throwing stuff into the crowd, and playing an Arabia Mountain and Underneath the Rainbow heavy set, with songs like “Family Tree” and “Modern Art” being highlights.
(Notice Joe’s “The Spits” shirt. That’s style.)
After the set, I got my copy of Let It Bloom signed by the band. Jack signed it “I WISH I’D PLAYED ON THIS RECORD – JACK”.
For the last set of my day, I saw the New Pornographers at the orange stage. Featuring songs penned by A.C. Newman, Neko Case, and Dan Bejar, with a varied setlist spanning their discography, but leaning towards their most recent record, Brill Bruisers, they turned in tight, catchy tune after tight, catchy tune. It was a very pleasant way to end the day, the atmosphere was relaxed, people were sitting and lying on the ground, just enjoying the music. It was difficult to get photos, but I got this picture of A.C. doing his A.C. thing.
I went to Nas’ show at the blue stage for a few minute in hopes of getting a decent picture, to no avail. The area was packed and I am a vertically tiny man. He sounded good, and part of me wanted to stay for his set, as well as Modest Mouse’s (and the Nites show at Holy Mountain featuring together PANGEA), but considering my situation physically, I decided it was best to head out.
Day two was a weird one. Lots of fun, but also some frustration. I tried to do too much day one and it cost me on day two. While there’s definitely some stuff I missed I wish I hadn’t, I’m chalking it up to a learning experience and planning to get lots of rest for a great final day of the fest.
By Travis Shosa