Saturday, November 9, 2013

FunFunFun Fest 2013: Sunday

Alright y'all I'm going to keep this brief because I am on my way out the door. Below the break you'll see a huge list of almost everyone playing FunFunFun Fest on Sunday. My advice, see as much as you can. If you're moving from stage to stage you have to hear at least three songs or else it doesn't count. That's the rule. My three must see acts for Sunday are: XXYYXX, XXYYXX and XXYYXX. I'm bummed that The Julie Ruin are playing the same time as XXYYXXX because I want to see them too but that's life. I'll probably end up catching a couple of songs from them too.

XXYYXX - About You video via YouTube

The selection of Nites shows on Sunday are a bit thin but all you really need is Flesh Lights and The Impossibles and you have that so, enjoy.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

FunFunFun Fest 2013: Saturday

It's ridiculous to call this post a highlights post. I basically just re-listed everything happening on Saturday of FunFunFun Fest because everything is worth at least checking out. Alright, that's a bit hyperbolic but this is a blog and that's what you do on a blog. You use hyperbole and, if you're me, you also use the CAPS LOCK KEY AND YOU FUCKING SWEAR! Take THAT print journalism! Back to Fun Fest for a minute, one of the many great things about this particular festival is you can actually move from stage to stage. I'm not saying it's easy but it's easier than it is at some other music festivals so it is conceivable that you can catch bits and pieces from M.I.A., Descendants & Ice-T. These are headlining acts at FunFunFun Fest and this is why we love FunFunFun Fest. These three artists seem to have nothing in common yet the audience for this festival wants to see all of these artists. Maybe I shouldn't speak for the entire audience of a music festival but I'm still being hyperbolic GODDAMNIT!

Chromatics _Cherry video via YouTube

My goal was to highlight three must-see bands for each day of the festival but for Saturday, I'm going to cheat. I'm using Glass Candy/Chromatics as one vote. They are two bands and they aren't outrageously similar but they aren't outrageously different either and they're both on Italians Do It Better, so we're calling that one highlight.

I'm also cheating a bit by highlighting Television as a must-see band because they are a legacy band. Every legacy band is a must-see band in the sense that you might never get another opportunity to see them perform again. I try to highlight bands who are on their way up and not getting as much attention but come on, how am I not going to highlight Television? This is a band that I never thought that I would see live. This is a band that broke-up before I was born. They re-formed in the early 90's and played a few gigs here and there but it never really occurred to me that I would have the chance to see them myself. So, yeah don't miss Television. Watch most of Glass Candy then head over to the Orange Stage for Television at 5:50.

My third and final Saturday highlight it going to Lee Fields & the Expressions because I'm breaking all the rules of this highlights post. You'll find Mr. Fields and Co. at Red 7 after you get kicked out of Auditorium Shores. As I mentioned in a previous post, I don't recommend hopping Nites shows because they'll fill up early and stay full. If you leave one venue, chances are wherever you're heading already has a line of people waiting to get in. The list of artists below are just one example of who you will see if you head to these different venues. If you like one of the names below, you'll probably like the other acts on that bill as well.

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JMSN at Lambert's

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail about JMSN. I had never heard of this artist but I clicked the SoundCloud link because JMSN has been on tour with Active Child. After listening to that one track I decided I had to check out his show in Austin. Well kids, that show is tonight and it's happening at Lambert's. You can still buy tickets online but if you show up at the door with $12 you'll save yourself some fees.

I'm sorry this isn't much of a preview post because I'm still learning about the artist. What I can tell you is he released a new EP two days ago and the song above the break is the lead single from that EP, which is entitled Pllajë.

Other than that all I can tell you is what I've learned from Wikipedia. He's originally from Michigan, he's a producer, there's all kinds of great stuff in there. I am planning to attend tonight's show at Lambert's though so, hopefully on his next trip through Austin, I can speak more intelligently about JMSN until then I'll let the music speak for itself.

JMSN - Walk Away video via YouTube

JMSN Photo Credit: CB4TOS

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FunFunFun Fest 2013: Friday

FunFunFun Fest is here y'all! The festival gates at Auditorium Shores open tomorrow but the Nites start this evening. Yesterday, I posted a quick little guide highlighting my favorite events for this evening. In this post, I'll attempt to help you map out your Fun Fest Friday. I will say, that I am not now, nor have I have I ever been someone who listens to, or is familiar with punk, metal, hardcore or even hard rock music. I have nothing against these genres, it just never appealed to me and it mostly still doesn't. That means that I have a HUGE blindspot in my Fun Fest coverage. I am aware of that fact and I want to be plain with you about it as well. That means these highlight posts won't really talk about what's happening on the Black Stage. I'm sorry but that's just the way things are.

Like I said, the festival gates open tomorrow but you can pick up your wristband or buy a wristband right now and until midnight tonight at Auditorium Shores and/or at Holy Mountain. If you do that this evening you can attend any of the Nites shows tonight for free, you also will be able to walk into the festival on Friday, without stopping at the Box Office on your way in. The downside is you'll be sleeping with that damn wristband for one extra night. You decide what's worth it.

Active Child - Subtle featuring Mikky Ekko video via YouTube

It's tough to post highlights for Fun Fest because the whole thing is highlights for me. Not only that, the artists who I'm not highlighting are often artists that I haven't discovered yet. I had never heard of Active Child the first time they performed at Fun Fest and now they are one of my must-see artists. So, at the end of this post I'll give you three must-see acts for the day in addition to the list below this paragraph.

I decided to not go to my day-job (paying job) on Friday so that I could see Active Child play the Orange Stage at 1:25p. I love Active Child so much that I lost money in order to catch his early set. So, obviously he is one of my three "Can't Miss Artists" on Friday. My second can't miss is, Mac Demarco. I'm not saying that because I have seen him before or even because I particularly love his albums. I am picking Mac because I have yet to see him perform live and I have heard really good things. Also, I like his albums but I feel like after I see him play the Orange Stage at 3:15 on Friday I'll love his albums. My third and final "Can't Miss Artist" for Friday is, Cut Copy. I'm kind of bummed that they're up against Lupe Fiasco because I would like to see him too but as someone who has seen Cut Copy twice before I can assure you that they kick serious ass live and their new record is excellent.

Cut Copy - Free Your Mind video via YouTube

Now, I'd like to make some recommendations for Nites shows as well but it's a bit tricky. As you know, the Nites are free, which means that the venues are all first come, first served. That means you're going to have to work out a plan with the evening shows. It's not going to be easy to see several sets at several venues. My top recommendation is let your heart guide you. Try to focus on one venue. Find the one set happening Friday night that you just have to attend and watch all of the sets at that venue. One of the greatest things about FunFunFun Fest is that it is a festival where you can make new music discoveries. The folks who curate the festival and it's evening shows are on-the-ball and you can trust them to curate some great line-ups.

In the spirit of let your heart be your guide, I encourage you to let your genre be your guide. I'm going ot list some artists and the venue they're playing at. Whichever of these artists speaks to you most powerfully is where you should go.

Like I said, the above list does not even begin to touch upon all of the artists you can see after the fest closes its gates on Friday night. My thought is, you'll pick an artist from the list above, you'll choose that venue as your home-base and you'll enjoy the other artists on the bill as well. For instance, if you're drawn to the Merchandise show at Red 7, you'll also enjoy The Young, Lemuria and Chelsea Light Moving all of whom will grace the inside stage between 10:15pm and 2:00am.

Good luck, godspeed, dress appropriately and for the love of Oprah shut the fuck up while the band is playing. Thank you and happy festing.

Mac DeMarco - My Kind of Woman video via YouTube

Mac DeMarco Photo Credit: Brad Elterman

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

FunFunFun Fest 2013: Wednesday/Thursday

My first FunFunFunFest-related event is happening at the Barton Creek Mall at 4pm today. Fun Fest artist, Small Black will be playing a free set at Nordstrom today and I intend to be there. Tomorrow at 9pm, you can catch a free in-store from Beach Fossils at a Swatch Store on 2nd street as well. The fest's official, unofficial start is tomorrow night with the FunFunFun Nites shows. You probably already knew this but when you strap that Fun Fest wristband on, it gets you in to all of the Nites events at no additional charge. If you only bought a single day pass, that will still get you in to all of Thursday's Nites events but that is only true for Thursday shows. Every other evening, you will only have access to the Nites shows on the night of your single-day pass. There will be a temporary box office setup at Holy Mountan on Thursday from Noon to Midnight so, if you need to pick up your Will-Call tickets or you still need to buy tickets to the fest, you may do so there. There will also be an on-site box office at Auditorium Shores, which will be open starting at noon tomorrow as well.

Beach Fossils - Generational Synthetic video via YouTube

If you're planning to just stick with one venue Thursday night, I would choose the Mohawk. It's not the only venue with a good Nites show tomorrow but it will get you the most bang for the proverbial buck. You'll want to arrive downtown early to pick up your wristband and get inside the 'Hawk by 8pm to catch Roger Sellers followed by The Tontons. Since these Nites shows are first come, first served be sure to plan ahead. Prepare to stand in line, prepare to be patient and polite with the staff and your fellow patrons. Kurt Vile is headlining the outside stage tomorrow night so, I expect the Mohawk to be the most crowded of all of the Nites venues on Thursday. Don't show up at 9pm and expect to wander in freely.

Once you are inside the fortress of rock that is the Mohawk you have the opportunity to catch sets from 6 bands. I already mentioned the three bands playing the outside stage but once Kurt Vile puts his guitar away you can head inside and catch Dana Falconberry at 11pm. She'll be followed by The Migrant and then Leopold and his Fiction at 1am.

Another strategy for tomorrow night might be to catch the outside show at Mohawk and then skip over to Red 7. That's not my number one recommendation because I love Dana Falconberry and I'd prefer you didn't skip her set HOWEVER, the line-up at Red 7 tomorrow night kicks some serious ass. Most specifically, you'll want to be there by 11:15 at the latest because that's when Dikes of Holland hit the stage. Their set will be followed by, the always spectacular, OBN III's. That's a seriously awesome back-to-back of Austin rock 'n roll.

Too much rock for you? Well, there's a dance party over at The Parish Thursday night and RJD2 is playing a headlining set some time after midnight. Sure, that means venturing into the heart of Dirty 6th but it also means seeing RJD2. You decide what's worth it.

If you're still on the fence about whether or not to attend FunFunFun Fest let me help you out, yes you should go. No, not for just one day, you should get a three day pass. Yes, you should buy me liquor drinks and Topo Chico when you see me at the club. No, you shouldn't wear those toe shoes. Yes, you should cut that pony tail. No, you shouldn't vote Republican.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tristen Returns to the Mohawk

Tristen returns to the Mohawk Wednesday night in support of her new record, Caves. Tickets for Wednesday night's show are only $10 and it's an inside show, which means Tristen will go on late. I know it's a school night but Tristen is one of my favorite touring acts and if you can make the time to attend the show, you won't be disappointed.

I'm really excited to hear the songs from Caves performed live Wednesday night. This album is a real step forward and truly showcases Tristen's development as a songwriter. This new record is her most beautiful and dynamic to date and you better believe it's going to be on my Best Albums of 2013 list. Duh.

It's handy that Tristen's set starts late Wednesday night because Laura Marling is in town that night too. Surely Laura's set at Central Presbyterian Church will be over before Tristen goes on at midnight. Tickets to see Laura Marling are gonna set you back $20 before fees and the only thing available is in the balcony but for roughly $30 you could attend both shows and see two great sets from two fantastic performers in one fabulous city. If you include all the support acts, it's like getting a micro-festival crammed into a Wednesday night!

Laura Marling - Devil's Resting Place video via YouTube

Speaking of festivals, FunFunFunFest unofficially starts Thursday night. Are you ready to fest?

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Review: Nine Inch Nails for ACL TV

This evening the Austin City Limits stage was graced by the presence of Nine Inch Nails and I was one of the lucky ones in the room. Mr. Reznor was backed by five multi-instrumentalists and two backing vocalists. His guitarist on this tour is Robin Fincke Robert Fripp of King Crimson fame and Tino Paladino was on bass. Lisa Fischer was one of the two backing vocalists, those of you who have seen the film, 20 Feet From Stardom might remember her as one of the Rolling Stones touring vocalists. She has worked with the Stones since 1989.

From very early in the set Mr. Reznor said that he didn't want to bring a Nine Inch Nails show to Austin City Limits he wanted the band to be a bit out of their comfort zone. He also remarked how it was very strange for him to be able to see himself since he is so used to being shrouded by the lights rather than illuminated by them.

Nine Inch Nails - Came Back Haunted video via YouTube

As performers, Nine Inch Nails are damned-near flawless. With more than twenty years of experience they brought an unparalleled intensity to the stage. These are musicians who are used to headlining festivals and playing sold-out arena tours and they brought all of that volume and intensity to an intimate theater space. With a set that lasted an hour and forty-five minutes without a break, Mr. Reznor sweat clear through his all-black attire, which included a pair of dropped-crotch pants.

When he wasn't singing, Trent tended to retreat toward the back of the stage where he stood like a shamen raising spirits; a conductor pulling the song's crescendos piece by piece until the songs reached their orgasmic climaxes.

The set list was heavier on the newest record but tonight's audience, including myself, just wanted to hear Nine Inch Nails. They could have played the Itsy Bitsy Spider for 45 minutes and we would have clapped until our hands were raw. Personally, I spent most of the show on my feet and about half of it with my eyes closed, my chin pointing toward the ceiling as I convulsed to the music.

Set highlights included an incredible rendition of Satellite from the newest LP. I was also really moved by Survivalism, which really worked the crowd into a fist-pumping, screaming frenzy. As far as classics go, singing along to Hurt with 2,000 other people including Trent Reznor became a new highlight for my life.

I know that Nine Inch Nails was a very important band to a lot of people and that many of their biggest fans didn't get to attend tonight's taping. I really wish I could use my words to paint you a clearer picture of what we experienced at the Moody Theater tonight but all I can really tell you is that history was made. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been a part of a very special experience and I still can't wrap my brain around it. You guys, Nine Inch Nails is going to be on your local PBS. The same channel that shows Arthur, is going to have a live performance from Nine Inch Nails.

I managed to get a photo of the setlist. I asked the girl who snagged it if she would pose with it over her face like I did with the ACL volunteer above the break but she said that was "disrespectful" so I cropped her stupid face out of it anyway. Unfortunately now it looks all grainy but fortunately, you can see what songs they played this evening. Like I said, their set was close to two hours and that's going to have to be cut down to 45 minutes or less for television but you'll feel the electricity through our TV screens on this one, I can guarantee that much.

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Cults at Emo's Tonight

Alright y'all, I know you're bummed that you didn't get to see NIN's ACL TV appearance tonight but that doesn't mean you can't rock 'n roll. Tickets to see Cults at Emo's tonight are still available. I had never heard a song by Cults the first time I saw them and they blew me away. Their music is much lighter and more fun than their name might imply with vocals that evoke Leslie Gore. The first single from their latest album, Static, is one of my favorite songs of the year and the record really delivers on the whole as well.

Cults - High Road video via YouTube

Cults are headlining but the bill for tonight's show at Emo's is a stellar indie line-up from top to bottom with Mood Rings opening and SACCO middling. To be honest, I have never heard of this band SACCO so I think it's really smart to have them play in the middle because Mood Rings are great so people will arrive early and they're obviously going to stay for the headliners. So having SACCO play the middle set will give them more exposure than if they were opening. However, for all I know all of you are really big fans of SACCO and you have never heard of Mood Rings I sort of live in a bubble that way.

Mood Rings - The Line video via YouTube

If Cults aren't really your thing, you might be interested to know that NoBunny is also in town tonight. You can catch them over at Red 7 this evening.

Find out what other note-worthy shows are hitting Austin this month. That show is only $12 and it will take place on the inside stage.

Cults Photo Credit: Olivia Malone

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