Coverage by: Rupal Mehta, Rajiv Radia, Madeline Robicheaux, and Waylon O’Day
The lo-fi indie rock group out of Calgary arrived to the Orange Stage a tad late, but with good reason. Lead singer and bassist, Matt Flegel informed the audience that the infamous American Airlines had lost their luggage, and therefore had to use the instruments from Mikal Cronin’s band and would also be playing a “stripped down” set. Adding on top of the fact that they were playing with foreign instruments, they had to take an Uber… ALL THE WAY FROM DALLAS. Despite everything that went wrong on their way to Austin, the band still went on to put on a dynamic performance. Although, I was not very familiar with the band, they definitely won me over; their chemistry on stage as performers on stage is on another level, at one point the band played one chord over and over, pausing in between each of the huge power surges coming from the guitar and drums, yet every time landing the timing perfectly, despite it being clear it was improvisational. Almost throughout the whole set, the other guitarist, Daniel Christiansen, played with his eyes completely shut, sometimes looking as though he was asleep, but still churning out these amazing somewhat random, yet meticulously planned scales. At one point he even rested his head on the nck of his guitar while leaning against his amp. These guys were a real treat to get to watch, and I’m sure I will be seeing them again in the future.
Toro Y Moi
Wow, so this was my fifth time getting to see Chaz Bundick and his band Toro y Moi, first in a festival setting. His band members set up most of his equipment, and then finally after seeing his curly afro bob around backstage, Chaz and his keyboardist, Anthony Ferraro, came on stage to huge applause, and screams. They opened with “Spell it Out” off of his latest album, What For? as most of the songs in his shortened set would be,”What You Want,””Buffalo” and “Lilly” followed as songs from the same album. Always a crowd pleaser, Chaz played a few songs of his hugely popular Anything in Return from 2013, including “Rose Quartz,””So Many Details,” and “Grown Up Calls.” Chaz also threw it all the way back to 2011’s “Still Sound” off the album Underneath the Pine. Then, the band played a lengthy instrumental interlude into their closer, the always fun, “Say That.” In the past I have seen people mosh to this song, but thankfully, all those people were at the Black Stage, so we could all enjoy the music with a little bit of shoulder room. Then, just like that they were gone, I was a little disappointed with the short length of his set, but it’s understandable in a festival setting, where you are constantly trying to beat the clock. Whether you’re trying to beat it to set up, or play one more song, it’s one constraint that the artists simply can’t control. If it were up the me, Toro would play for three hours, they just have so much material that is so good. The forty five minute set is comparable to a really good sample you get at the grocery store, you really like the “sample” (in this case music) but you can’t just keep eating the “sample” (listening to the music) cause the “Man” (the powers that be) has got other plans. Overall, one of my favorite sets of the whole weekend, and probably my favorite for day one.
Chvrches is one of my favorite pop acts, so I was excited I finally got to see them. They kicked their set off with their new single “Never Ending Circles.” They then transitioned into their single “Recover.” They maintained a good balance between their new and old music. The highlight of the set was when synth and backup vocalist Martin Doherty stepped up to the mic and played “Under the Tide.” His stage performance was full of energy and excitement, which brought livelihood to the crowd. In between songs, vocalist Lauren Mayberry would make quirky jokes about the Austin weather, the new James Bond movie, and Daniel Craig. They capped of their set off with their most popular single “The Mother We Share.” I highly suggest checking them out when they come to Houston on December 18.
Slow Magic may have provided little words on Friday afternoon, but his profound beats were heard throughout the Fun Fun Fun Fest fairgrounds. The crowd grew rapidly as he performed crowd pleasing tunes such as “Waited 4 U” and “Feel Flows.” With the energy at a high, Slow Magic decided to lift his drum kit and throw himself into the crowd to perform the much loved song “Girls” which had everyone snapchatting the iconic moment. The gloomy weather was unnoticeable thanks to his entrancing performance (he even “accidentally” did a backflip). Big things are coming up for Slow Magic across the continent, so we were stoked that we caught his show before he heads over to Australia!
Oh. My. Wow. PEACHES. This was my first time seeing her perform, and she was PHENOMENAL!!!!! From start to finish, she was all over the place with raunchy lyrics, sexy dance moves, three outfit changes, and props flying to and from the stage. Her stage performance is on point with two dancers that provide theatrical entertainment that physically expresses her lyrics. Peaches doesn’t apologize for any offenses that she portrays, and that’s what makes her performances so entertaining. The highlights of her show included the most adorable proposal from two of her roadies, the infamous FFF taco cannon, and the ultimate “crowd surf/walk” that she did in order to get a “festival favor” from one of the fans in the crowd. She was, by far, my favorite act from Friday’s set.
The man behind Kanye’s huge booming horns on Yeezus put on an awe inspiring set. I personally thought Hudmo would just come out with a huge DJ table full of sequencers, synthesisers and the like; but no, there were two other people who accompanied the Scottish producer onstage, one of which, Two Door Cinema Club’s Ben Thompson was playing on a live drum set, which made all of the snare pops all the more crisper throughout the set. The other person on stage, Redinho was on the keys and synths, while Hudson controlled the turntables. Opening with the world conquering sound of the horns and beautiful ribbons of synth twists of “Scud Books” off his most recent album Lantern, whose songs would make up the majority of the set. Surprisingly, Hudmo decided to drop his arguably most popular song, “Chimes,” very early into the set. The crowd went wild as the dog bark sample played repeatedly, before letting the horns go full blast, sending the crowd into a full on frenzy. Other songs included his most recent works, the funky “Ryderz,” the lead single “Very First Breath,” and uncharacteristically poppy “Brand New World” and “Shadows.” Hudmo even threw down some TNGHT, his collaborative project with Lunice, which took everyone by no surprise. Along with his TNGHT efforts of “Goooo” and personal favorite “Higher Ground,” Mohawke also played “FUSE” off of his debut 2009 LP Butter, before closing the show out with the booming “Thunder Bay” off of the 2011 Warp EP Satin Panthers. Along with the surprise of two accomplished musicians accompanying Hudson on stage, the immersive light display was also a huge plus to the whole aesthetic of his set.
The young rap duo consisting of Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy hopped on stage Friday night with high energy and no signs of stopping. They started their set off with “Come Get Her” and ended with their career-setting banger “No Type.” Halfway through their set, they called a crowd of girls on stage to dance along to their music as they performed. It was fun to see how people got down to their jams and vibed out throughout their set. The crowd was packed in pretty tight, but it didn’t stop them from having a good time. Rae Sremmurd (backwards for ‘ear drummers’) put on a memorable set for new and day one fans alike.
Coming out to his banger “Gangsta,” Schoolboy Q announced to the audience that his Fun Fun Fun Fest set would be the last time he would ever perform songs from his debut album Oxymoron. Because of this, he expected everyone to get extra hype for the songs he was “tired” of performing. From “Man of the Year” to “Hell of a Night,” Q performed his most well-known songs and even some tracks for his day one fans, like “Blessed” and “There He Go.” When he closed out his set with “Man of the Year,” we found ourselves caught in two different mosh pits at the very front of the stage (starring Thrasher Magazine’s interview, Gary Rogers) but enjoyed every second of the madness. After his appearance at last year’s Frontier Fiesta, we didn’t think he would be able to top that performance, but we were definitely wrong and are looking forward to the artist’s sophomore studio album.
As it started to get dark and rain, it was time for Converge’s set. I saw them the night before at the Nites show, so I was interested to see what they would bring to the actual festival. For those who don’t know Converge, they are a 25 year old metal-core pioneers hailing from Salem, Massachusetts. They started off with one of their better-known songs “Dark Horse.” Being that the black stage is the only stage without a barrier, everyone instantly started climbing on top of each other and a huge mosh pit was formed. They played several of their hits, such as “Aimless Arrow,” “Axe to Fall,” and “Eagles Become Vultures.” Their biggest surprise to the crowd was when they played their 11-minute epic, “Jane Doe.” Their performance was well-put together, and had as much raw energy as you would picture them having 25 years ago. It was one of my personal highlights of the festival.
Yellow JASH Stage
Third times the charm when seeing Benjamin Booker. Although he always provides an outstanding performance, he gets better and better with every show. I first saw him this summer at FPSF and I was hypnotized. Since the yellow stage was the designated area for the comedic acts, I had lukewarm feelings about seeing Benjamin Booker on this stage. The set was off to a slow start with a longer than usual sound check, and the crowd was packed like sardines. I was surrounded by a group of fellas from New Orleans that have seen Benjamin Booker since the beginning. True dedicated fans, am I right?! We patiently waited to see what Booker’s opening tune would be. Once we heard the guitar riff, a huge round of cheering and applause blared out from the Yellow Stage. What I love about Benjamin Booker is that you never know what to expect. That sounds cliche, but just by the looks of him, you would never guess the power-house voice he has. He screamed, he belted, and he gave the crowd chills with his possessive looks. The show ended with a jaw-dropping guitar riff, which the Nola fellas described as “well worth the 8 hour drive.”