Day two of Fun Fun Fun Fest I decided to focus on two things in particular: Nas and the Nite shows.
I began the day with Zorch, an Austin-based drummer and synth master duo founded at the Berkeley School of Music. Playing locally for years, they landed a gig- two, actually- at FFFFest this year met with great acclaim from the medium-sized crowds who saw them live.
The blue stage and the black stage had switched positions today. When I arrived at 12:30, Zorch was finishing its rather short set. It had exactly 40 minutes to give its audience an adrenaline rush, which it tried to accomplish as much as possible. Playing at midday under blaring sun with scanty crowds consisting of people mostly completely sober may not be the ideal combination for a great concert experience, but Zorch didn’t seem to care. They always go hard.
Later, I saw some dudes practicing for the pro BMX and volcom pro skate demo.
I left at around 3:30 to get relief for the allergies Austin afflicts some with. Walking back, I felt odd for leaving the festival so early when all around me, people were proceeding past me to go see the larger acts of the night.
When I came back at around 6:45, the blue stage was packed tight with a crowd waiting to see Nas. It was so thick that without a photo pass, someone who arrived when I did could either hang back and watch the artist on the TV live feed or muscle their way to the front. I chose to stay back and let my mind flow awash with Nas’s hits of the last twenty years. A proficient performer, Nas beckoned a fan to pass their Nas record to the front for signing in between songs but then didn’t sign it immediately, because “these people” (meaning his audience) was more important. I’m not sure what he meant to say by doing that. Nonetheless, his set was great.
Fun Fun Fun Fest spread beyond the boundaries of Auditorium Shores this year via Nites shows. When I arrived at Cheer up Charlie’s at 9:45, ShiSho was finishing up and Zorch was up next. What happened next may strain your personal trust in the credibility of the story I’m telling, but it’s all true.
When Zorch played, costumed Puerto Rican street performers danced.
At about halfway through the Nites show, people in animal costumes just kind of appeared in the crowd from nowhere. One zebra-suited unit of two or more people fought another caterpillar-zebra while a chicken-faced man flashed his hands at the zebra as if welcoming a tumble. Indeed, at one point, a Dali-esque mosh pit of zebras, a man holding an octopus, and others developed on the floor. Another performer dressed in a goofy alien suit walked casually onstage and pretended to have conversations between a left and a right head attached to his puppeteer hands. All of this happened while Zorch filled the audible spectrum of a block and a half of Austin street space with post-hardcore, minimalist dance rock. Their sound can be really hard to classify.
Following this show, Octopus Project came on. They, too, had a great show, but had a more laidback tone. Their visual effects were, as always, fantastic. A fantastic night overall.
By Nicholas Randall