a belated ode to fun fun fun fest

I’m really behind on this recap. Call it throwback Tuesday or blame academia (as usual).

My boyfriend said the best really-high-person thing ever at Fun Fun Fun Fest this year. And I paraphrase:

“Do you think that the fact that F is the 6th letter of the alphabet means anything? Like, does FFF really stand for 666?”

Fun Fun Fun Fest, though, is far from hellish- it’s actually a really chill festival. Nearly all of the artists I was most hyped to see played during the afternoon, when dreary weather blessedly kept the drunken hordes away from Auditorium Shores. I got up close and personal (okay, at least more up close and personal than at ACL) with some of my favorite artists of the moment: Shamir, Joanna Gruesome, Speedy Ortiz and Fuzz. I also really dug Neon Indian and Grimes, despite the fact that the place seemed to suddenly explode with bodies when the sun went down.

My fun fun fun day (I opted for a single-day pass) commenced just after noon, with an appropriately yell-y set by Welsh angry-girl rock band Joanna Gruesome. Although this type of show would translate better to a grimy club stage, where their shouts and screechy guitar riffs could really melt a face or two, the band put on a fantastic set. And my angry-girl, rock-loving heart nearly burst when Speedy Ortiz hopped on stage to shred out the final, cacophonous bars of “Sugarcrush.”

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Joanna Gruesome meets Speedy Ortiz; I ascend to heaven

And then, Shamir.

You may remember my uncharacteristic fangirling over “Ratchet” earlier this year. Hearing it performed live was no disappointment We were stunned by Shamir Bailey’s genuine talent– kid can sing, yo. And of course, music that’s fun to listen to on Spotify is an absolute blast to hear live. As you may also imagine, yelling “no more basic, ratchet guys” along with a crowd of fellow fangirls is about as satisfying as yelling “hail Satan” at a Mountain Goats show.

I also bought “Ratchet” on vinyl, which was a poor financial decision (but an excellent sonic one).

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No more basic, ratchet guys

We caught a bit of Speedy and moseyed around the grounds some before settling in for Fuzz. I hadn’t heard much of their ish before nabbing my FFF wristband, but was inclined to do so when I realized that Ty Segall- whose solo work I’m really into- provides vocals and drumming wonderfulness for this especially badass trio. Segall, Charles Moothart, and Roland Cosio are a skilled bunch who put on a truly killer hard rock-meets-psychedelic-meets-garage band kinda set.

From there we were pretty tired and pretty not sober, so we camped out on the grass for a bit, with a picturesque view of our little Austin skyline and the appropriately chill sounds of the Charlatans to make for an excellent break (just imagine such a thing happening at ACL, lol). We deigned to leave our little patch of damp lawn just in time to catch Neon Indian’s last few songs. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this set. I was unpleasantly surprised by the obscene volume of ACL-types who descended on the festival in anticipation of Wu-Tang. This meant, unfortunately, that the place was fucking packed for Grimes’ set. Despite the fact that I had to essentially stand on pointe to see much of anything, experiencing Grimes live was kind of a pinnacle of my short existence. I still remember the day my high school best friend Joe asked me:

“Do you want to watch this weird video by a girl with an angel voice?”

That was “Genesis” and the rest is my musical history.

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H21BD to this living saint 

I saw Wu-Tang again since the boy was into it, but I was pretty beat by that point. And like, let’s be real- my hip hop knowledge is base-level at best, so the appeal of a Wu-Tang Clan show is a little lost on me. My exhaustion was more than worth it, though, as I can truly and honestly say that Fun Fun Fun is a pretty good festival. Now, as you may be aware, I kind of despise festivals. I’m not big on crowds and really, really not big- we could say miniscule, in fact- on people who show up to shows for the purpose of day drinking themselves into oblivion, snapchatting their outfits, or doing pretty much anything other than enjoying the music. But festivals like FFF- where people are relaxed, crowds are thin(ish), snacks and Shiner are in abundance, and the artists performing are some of the most talented around- I can deal with. The massive after-dark shows aside, FFF has a very personal feel to it. I mean, you may get a chance to wish Shamir a happy birthday face-to-face or watch two of your favorite bands come together to play one of your favorite songs just a few feet away from you. And although every festival (and every show, really) has its fair share of lameasses who are just there to fuck around and socialize or enjoy the thrill of sneaking vodka into their bags or something, the vast majority at Fun Fun Fun seem to be people who genuinely care about music. Although I’m sure the fest will continue to grow, eventually becoming overpriced (it’s already pretty expensive, tbh), extra-crowded, and otherwise horrible, I can say with conviction that I would absolutely do a day at FFFFest next year. And that yes, it was a fun fun fun time.

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