Fun Fun Fun Fest Day One
What an energetic experience I got to be a part of today.
By the time I showed up to pick up my tickets, the will call line contained hundreds of people, waiting to get in to the festival.The bright Austin sun heated up the pavement and sapped my strength if only a little bit.
I had been told by FFFFest representatives to wait in the will-call line to pick up my media pass. So there I stayed, shuffling forward with other subdued festival goers trapped outside, from 2:30 until 5:00. I must say I was impressed with the line experience- several brand-name food companies distributed new and current snack products to us thirsty and starved would-be attendees while we waited in line. Hostess distributed twinkies, Red Bull handed out Red Bull, Kind Food tossed their hickory-glazed almond bars our way and FFFFest staff hydrated the masses with plain, good ol’ water from the back of a golf cart.
When I neared the front entrance, I saw there had been another tent waiting for my arrival all along: the media and guest line. That alone took another 45 minutes of waiting. When I finally stepped up to receive tickets, I got my wristband and went in smoothly.
The sun had already begun to set when I found myself on festival grounds. Ginuwine was finishing his set up with “So Anxious” and “Pony”, drawing a considerable crowd interested in watching a renowned 44 year-old R&B performer tear his shirt off and attempting to dance like Michael Jackson.
Café Bustelo gave out free cups of coffee to media in a welcoming tent. I definitely appreciated that warmth and the free bag of espresso coffee beans I took away!
Yelle changed the pace of the blue stage completely. Where as Ginuwine was partying, clowning around on stage just for the heck of it, Yelle took her music and her presentation seriously. There were times when it seemed like she forced her song endings and some songs that did not grab the energy of the crowd like others. But, for the most part, Yelle provided above par entertainment that draws me back to her music even after listening to it only once, live.
Yelle ended in time for my buddy and I to catch the latter half of Dinosaur Jr.’ show. I noticed a few standout peculiarities about this band.
One, they’re mainly older individuals. You don’t generally see midlife band members touring at large festivals with audiences full of youth, unless that festival draws a diverse enough crowd anyway. Dinosaur Jr. attracted a lot of younger males.
Two, the technology they use onstage dates back for decades and the sound matches accordingly. When you see a Dinosaur Jr. concert, count yourself lucky if you can make out half the vocals without knowing them beforehand, and be sure to keep a decent attention reserve for the bassist and rhythm guitarist. Although the show highlighted the drummer and especially lead singer’s performances, the entire band really knows their instruments well. I got an indescribable sensation of authenticity by watching them live. I said to myself: “This is unadulterated rock.” Could it be more polished? Yes. But then you wouldn’t have a Dinosaur Jr. experience.
Three, their shows beat with aggression. Loud, fast and grimy, every band member in Dinosaur Jr. is looking out for the audience’s mood and remains highly energized to rub some of the rock n’ roll drive onto their listeners. t inspires me to pick up my dusty guitar I have lying around and start practicing again, and I can’t imagine I’m the only person who reacts this way to the concert.
And finally: Alt-J.
By far, Alt-J’s effects outshone every other acts’ I had seen. Fog rolled in in curled, slow waves from either side of the stage, becoming a gaseous painting canvas for the lighting crew to work magic on. Vivid solid colors played out as Alt-J played out vibrant and varied music. The timings for the visual effects were impeccable. They were so good that one could almost imagine a cause and effect relationship where the music Alt-J played lit up the stage it was fit to.
Alt-J definitely rocked the house. Playing hits from both albums including Breezeblocks, Tessellate, Something Good and Left Hand Free, Alt-J immersed Austin in memorable music for the first night of Fun Fun Fun Fest.
More details coming!
By Nicholas Randall