The worst of the dust went away on day three of Fun Fun Fun Fest, but the music came back just as great as before.
The ground seemed to have enjoyed at least some light sprinkles overnight, and early in the day there was a brief rain shower for a couple minutes, tamping down the dust onslaught. Again, the crowds started small and grew as the day (and the Ryan Gosling sightings) continued. For the record, filming fictional behavior at a real event looks very strange.
The final chapter of three-day affairs (see: Coachella and Sasquatch) can be slogs, but with the promise of Slayer, which had been moved to the Orange Stage to accommodate audio and visual specs, FFF maintained its appeal throughout. Trite stage jests at the festival’s name continued as countless artists asked the crowd if they were “having fun, fun, fun yet.” No matter though, maybe next year organizer’s should consider renaming it: awesome, awesome, awesome.
Read reviews of Sunday’s performances after the break.
Le Butcherettes began our day emphatically with one of the most vigorous and wild performances of the weekend on a stage already filled with Marshall stacks for Slayer’s show later. Singer Teri Gender Bender led her bandmates on drums and bass through several attitude-filled tunes. With lyrics that did not let love and gender issues sit peacefully, Bender belted them out with genuine anger. During the simplest but most evocative song “Dress Off” she would go from belting to whispering the refrain: “yeah you take my pretty dress off” accompanied only by drums as she stretched her mic cord to the ends of the stage. As an interesting change from other acts, her speech thanking the audience at the end was, as a band hailing from Mexico, all in Spanish.
A couple bands later on the Orange Stage, everyone’s favorite married bandmates (sorry Kim and Thurston), Mates Of State showered the Austin desert with pop melodies. With drummer Jason Hammel placed in the middle of the stage and his wife on vocal keyboards, the indie lovebirds were joined by bass. trumpet and electronics. Sharing singing duties, the two harmonized together resulting in the feel of a single frontman, though their stationary instruments kept them from cavorting around. No matter, with catchy riffs on songs like “Maracas” and cheerful “daa da-da’s” on “Goods (All in Your Head)” emanating from the powerful sound system, the set was quite enjoyable, especially as a light drizzle started to fall and pacify the dust. Unfortunately, the band’s early set time kept any catchiness of Mates Of State’s hooks from sticking with you throughout the day.
Immediately after Mates of States, Budos Band took to the other side of the Orange State, displaying heavy metal sensibilities but playing funky instrumental rock. In the silence before their set, Sexy Sax Man’s ‘80s wail drifted to people’s ears from the Yellow Tent, soon answered by the bari sax sound check from the Budos. The lineup featured three percussionists, drummer, bass, guitar, spooky organ, bari sax and trumpet player, Andrew Greene. Saying “fuckin” every sixth word when he spoke between songs, Greene spoke about how he named “Black Venom” after two of his favorite metal bands–Black Sabbath and Venom. He then dedicated the song to Slayer, whose walls of amps and shrouded drums waited ominously behind him. In addition to tunes like “Black Venom,” the band reverted to older material but ditched the muscle memory on new tune “Vertigo”(no, it wasn’t a U2 cover). Though metalheads the lot of them, all wearing black shirts and some with long hair, it was good to hear a band inspired by one type of music play something completely different.
Enjoying an earlier nightfall, Del the Funky Homosapien reigned in the funk on the Blue Stage, flanked by backing band, The Serendipity Project. Setting the mood, the show began with the DJ spinning clips of classic funk tunes as a hypeman started chants of “D. E. L.” to welcome the MC. Del got right to his message starting with “At The Helm,” exhorting listeners to make sure they have a “skill or a trade.” As one of those hip-hop artists displeased with the shallowness of much pop rap, Del later castigated posers and wannabes who lack an internal integrity of purpose with “Mistadoblina.” Del’s lyrics, though often too fast to piece out every word, came through the mix enough to generally get the sense of his message, which was bolstered by between-song preaching. The Oakland rapper closed the set with the Gorillaz collaboration, “Clint Eastwood.”
Slayer. Fucking Slayer. Taking over the Orange Stage as if it was built just for them, the forefathers of thrash metal crashed in on their first chords as silhouettes, hidden by a white curtain as stage lights flash from behind. Most bands end up playing weak recreations of their former selves. As the sheet fell, it was apparent that Slayer had stayed strong, nothing lost with age. With virtuosic drumming and lightning-fast guitar playing, the whole set was a tight, unleashing the full power of the backing Marshall stacks that guaranteed the set was the loudest thing this weekend. Using cues synched up with the music, the lights man played an integral auxiliary band member, flashing strobes during quick Dave Lombardo drum fills or highlighting Jeff Hanneman or Kerry King as they ripped through their strings. Tom Araya’s voice was boisterous, yelling out the words as they, ahem, slayed through “Dead Skin Mask”, “Jihad”, “Bloodline”, and several more from all across their career and closed out the three-day affair with nothing but sheer power.
Le Butcherettes- New York (download)
Mates Of State- Goods (All In Your Head) (download)
Del The Funky Homosapien- Makes No Sense (download)