Wednesday, September 21, 2011

FunFunFun Fest Scavenger Hunt(s)

One of the greatest things about FunFunFun Fest, other than the line-up, is all of the interactivity. This isn't just a music festival it's an experience and you can be a part of both the experience and the music festival and all it will cost you is your time and energy. Each year the folks at FunFunFun Fest have organized a scavenger hunt in Austin for a chance to win tickets to the event, well this year they've stepped it up a notch. If you're reading this from Austin, there will OF COURSE be a scavenger hunt here but this year the hunt isn't restricted to Austin!

If you're in Houston, San Antonio or Dallas you too can win tickets with a scavenger hunt in your city. Not only that, but there are FFF scavenger hunts on college campuses this year as well. So, if you're reading this from New Mexico State University, Texas A&M, Kansas State University, or Texas State University then you could win ticket right on campus! Most or all of these scavenger hunts will happen simultaneously on October 1st. Those of you outside of Austin have better odds of winning, as it seems (via F*c*book even RSVPs) you will have fewer participants. Austin, I've got your complete details below the break, those of you outside of Austin, click your link above.

FunFunFun Fest - 666 video via YouTube

Alright Austin, get your team assembled, make sure (at least) one of you has a smartphone with Gowalla and register online for the hunt now! You should plan a costume for your team and don't do anything lame, this is Austin be creative with your costume. You and your team (up to 5 people) need to be at Red 7 by 3:45pm on Saturday October 1st. If you didn't register online make sure to be at Red 7 by 3:00pm. The lists will be passed out at 4:00pm sharp and all teams must be back by 7:00pm. It would be smart to make sure you have some way to record photo and/or video evidence of your tasks and be prepared to get a tattoo. In fact, you should probably make an appointment with a downtown tattoo artist now!

Here's what's up for grabs for the winners:

  • 1st Place: PIP Tickets to FFF6
  • 2nd Place: Weekend Passes to FFF6
  • 3rd Place: Single Day Passes to FFF6

All participants will get free food at the finish line and of course all of the FunFunFun you can handle. So, start thinking strategically. Reserve a cab, pedi-cab, tattoo artist. Make sure your phone(s) are fully-charged and start thinking about a bad-ass costume. It all goes down October 1st, so you've got less than 2 weeks to get this all done.

Read more!

Neon Indian in Austin

Some of you may know that lead Neon Indian, Alan Palomo, once called Texas home. As far as I know the band is now based in Brooklyn but I'm calling Friday's show at the Mohawk a homecoming show. In addition to being a "homecoming" show, it's an album-release party! Neon Indian second LP, Era Extraña was released Tues. the 13th and is already a contender for album of the year lists. It expounds upon the textured, vintage keyboard-driven sounds of Psychic Chasms without simply retreading the same territory. This Friday's show was originally planned for the Mohawk's intimate, inside stage but was moved to the outside stage when the show sold-out in milliseconds. Unfortunately for those of you who didn't get tickets, the outside show is also, now, sold-out. On the bright side, you can still have an intimate performance experience late Friday night as those lil rascals over at Transmission Entertainment have rented out the Blazer Tag in South Austin for a neon-infused afterparty!

Neon Indian - Polish Girl video via YouTube

It only costs $10 for a ticket to the Blazer Tag aftershow, which will feature DJ sets by Alan Palomo as well as, local bad-asses, Learning Secrets. If you ARE interested in the afterparty you better snag a ticket NOW because Blazer Tag isn't a very big space and this is a very cool event. So cool in fact, if you're laser tag skills are on point you MIGHT win yourself passes to this year's FunFunFun Fest. That's right, not only is this a bad-ass show, it's a contest opportunity!

Neon Indian - Mind, Drips video via YouTube

The doors for the afterparty open at 11:45am and they're kicking you out by 4am. There is lots of parking so you should be good on that front but if you're not driving I recommend you order a cab when you buy your tickets. If you're going to both events, you can bus from the Mohawk to Blazer Tag with very little walking. Just hop on the last number 10 bus heading southbound, get out near the 7-11 at Ben White and walk west toward Blazer Tag. It should also be noted that there's a 24 hour Taco Cabana right down the street from Blazer Tag, if you're hungry at 4am.

Neon Indian - Fallout video via YouTube

Read more!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Horrors at the Parish

I haven't loved everything The Horrors have released but I do believe that their latest LP, Skying COULD make my best albums of 2011 list. I can also tell you that they put on one of the most unpredictable live shows in indie-rock. Tomorrow night they return to The Parish, where they, somewhat famously, dumped a trashcan on the stage mid-performance during SXSW a few years ago. If you want to be a part of the, potential, madness tomorrow night, there are still tickets available. I'm not too sure how well the show is selling, I feel like The Horrors don't have the buzz they deserve at the moment but hopefully their current tour will change all of that.

The Horrors - Still Life video via YouTube

I'm always excited when a band I like decides to play The Parish. I feel like, at this point, whenever you see a good booking there, it's because the band specified they wanted to play that room. Like I mentioned above, I know that The Horrors played there during a SXSW appearance. Also, this summer The Rosebuds played their Austin show at The Parish and they have, also, showcased there during SXSW. I'm in love with the sound in The Parish and I feel like there really isn't a bad angle in the room, even if you stand back by the merch table you can still see and hear just fine. The biggest down-side to the venue is its 6th street location. It's tough to park near the venue and when you're entering and exiting you're smack-dab in the middle of bro-town with all the drunken tourists and college kids. Get off my lawn you damn kids!!!

The Horrors - Mirror's Image video via YouTube

Read more!

ACL Festival Interview: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

I had a brief chat with the gentlemen from, Detroit band, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. the day before their Austin City Limits Festival appearance. The audio on this one isn't ideal but you can still hear the questions and answers. It gets tricky in the media area, since you aren't very far from two of the festival's bigger stages, to conduct video interviews but I did my best. As you probably guessed from the band's name they are quite clever and funny and I had a good time chatting with them.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - ACL Festival Interview video via YouTube

The official ACL Fest YouTube chanel has lots of performances, interviews and performance clips from this year's festival, including this one from Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.'s Sunday performance:

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - Nothing But Our Love (Live at ACL Festival 2011) video via YouTube

Read more!

ACL Festival Interview: The Belle Brigade

This past weekend at Austin City Limits Festival, I was lucky enough to interview, Los Angeles band, The Belle Brigade. They played a great, high-energy set early on Saturday that, most certainly, won them lots of new fans. They'll be on tour this fall with Dawes and Blitzen Trapper.

I like to keep my interviews brief and whimsical because I'm sure your attention span is as short as mine and if I were a band I wouldn't want to yammer on about myself with a complete strange for a really long time. Here's how it turned out:

The Belle Brigade - ACL Fest Interview video via YouTube

You can pick-up The Belle Brigade's eponymous debut now.
Read more!

Monday, September 19, 2011

ACL Festival 2011 Round-Up

Another year, another ACL Festival has passed. It was three days of heat, a bit of rain, lots of music and some sore, tired feet. Weather-wise, I can't complain too much about this year's festival. I was worried since the festival was moved from October in 2010 back to September in 2011 that it was going to be unbearably hot and it certainly had its moments. For the most part, we saw overcast days, brief periods of rain and highs in the mid-90's. There were extra misting fans this year and a few extra areas with shade, although those were, generally, jam-packed with people. I brought a chair this year, which made for a more pleasant experience. I felt like an old-man at times but sometimes it's just nice to have a chair and for those times when I didn't want it, it was easy to drop off at the chair-check.

As far as music goes, the 10 year anniversary had a great line-up, there was a little of something for everyone and I didn't hear too many complaints. Sure there are artists, who performed that didn't interest me in the least but for those times, I just went over to the food concessions. My favorite set of the weekend was Kanye West's Friday night headlining set. I was kind of bummed to miss Coldplay but Kanye brought great production elements, and a string of hits that lasted beyond his 90 minute allotted time. He played a song (maybe two) from Watch the Throne and the set-list was definitely heavy with tunes from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy but he also played every top 10 hit he's ever had, of which there are many. I have seen both Coldplay and Kanye in the past and I knew that Kanye's performance would be less predictable, which isn't a slam on Coldplay it's more of a compliment to West.

The most disappointing set of the weekend was Stevie Wonder's Saturday headlining set. I was ridiculously excited to experience a living legend and was deeply saddened by the extraordinarily low sound-levels from his stage. I don't know if it was due to the wind, the slope of the park, or simply technical issues but I was about mid-back from the stage, beyond the second set of speaker towers and his performance was barely audible whatsoever. Meanwhile, I could hear My Morning Jacket from the opposite side of the park clear as a bell. The section of crowd where I was situated with thick with people before Stevie Wonder took to the stage (15 minutes late) but by the time the third song had begun there was hardly anyone around me. There were similarly low sound-levels from that stage earlier in the day when I tried to see Alison Krauss and Union Station but I presumed the volume was low because of her day-time slot and assumed it would be much louder for Stevie Wonder's headlining slot, which was not the case.

The sets that warmed my heart the most all come from artists whom I had seen perform before this weekend. Firstly, Cults played a fantastic set, which brought people to Zilker Park early on Friday. There were hundreds of people there to see them play at 11:45am on day 1 of ACL Festival. I was very pleasantly surprised to see such a big turn-out for a, relatively, unknown band. I was, also, extraordinarily happy to see tens of thousands of people gather to see, Australian band, Cut Copy perform on Saturday. I last saw them play the outside stage at Emo's so to witness a sea of people in every direction singing, dancing, clapping and losing their minds brought tears to my eyes. To me the greatest thing about a massive festival is the large-scale enjoyment of music. I wanted more moments like that but I was glad to have that one with Cut Copy. The final big heart moment for me was seeing Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.. Not only did they have a great turn-out, they won over lots of new fans. There were people set-up who were there to see bands playing after Dale Jr. Jr. who were won over by their great tunes. Also, they did the most genius thing of the weekend, which was to throw popsicles into the crowd during one of the hottest moments of the weekend.

There were lots of acts I wish I had seen but didn't as well including We Are Augustines and Death From Above 1979. However, having lived in Austin for 5 years now I can tell you, there is always something your missing. I try to focus on the stuff that I DID get to see and not get caught up in the hype of, "Oh my God, I can't believe you didn't see _______!" I'm too old for that crap. My greatest discovery of the weekend was Charles Bradley, I had seen the name, I had heard the hype but to see him perform in person was a religious experience. He is the type of performer who reaches into his chest pulls his heart out and lets you watch it beat in his hand. He told the audience he loved us at least a dozen times and I think we all believed it more each time we heard it.

Charles Bradley - The World (Is Going Up In Flames) video via YouTube

Overall, I would say the things I didn't like about the festival have more to do with me than the festival itself and it's things that bother me every time I see a show. I will NEVER understand people who pay money for a concert and spend the entire time talking. I will NEVER understand the people who spend hundreds of dollars to get black-out drunk in public. I LOVE music, I go to musical performances to experience the performance and when I can hear 2 bros bro-ing out easier than I can hear Arcade Fire then we all have a problem. In other words, I might be getting too old for this stuff but I haven't given up on it. I still love love music, I just wish everyone showed their love in the same ways and made an effort to be respectful of their fellow music-patrons. To me there is nothing valuable about saying I was at a show if I wasn't listening to the performance. Maybe next year I'll get black-out drunk and then I won't mind all of the talking, then again maybe I'll get black-out drunk and assault some shirtless bro in mandles, with the most horrifying tattoos who won't SHUT THE FUCK UP! Only time will tell.

Read more!