By The Swizard (CA)
Fun Fun Fun Fest is returning to Austin this weekend and seeing as how they’ve stacked the deck with one of the greatest metal and hardcore line-ups of any fest this year, Crustcake just had to make an appearance, with both journalistic and celebratory intentions. It’s a given that you will find us furiously whipping our hair during Slayer, Doomriders, and From Ashes Rise, but Fx3 has also booked some of our favorite non-metal bands through its three musical stages. If you plan on raging at Auditorium Shores, eventually you’re going to need a break from the pit. Here are some of the non-metal bands we highly recommend checking out.
The Thermals (Orange Stage)
Hailing from Portland, OR, The Thermals play catchy yet unruly garage punk with infectious hooks and witty lyrics. The band was born out of a kitchen jam session in 2002, which ended up spawning a demo that landed in the hands of Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, ultimately leading the band to sign with Sub Pop Records. The band have been taking their wildly fun garage punk party rock on the road for the better part of a decade, and it is likely that The Thermals’ set will be instrumental in kicking off Fx3 2011 the right way.
Big Freedia (Blue Stage)
Who doesn’t like to shake their ass? Big Freedia likes shaking ass so much she’s made a career out of it. Big Freedia is one of the pioneers of “bounce” rap, which focuses heavily on, yes, you guessed it, dance moves that emphasize shaking one’s ass. In her hometown of New Orleans, Big Freedia often plays six nights a week at various venues. That’s a whole lot of booty moving. Aside from Big Freedia being intriguing on her own, her set will be worth catching for the crowd participation alone. Don’t be left assed out on this one.
The Murder City Devils (Black Stage)
The Murder City Devils exploded onto the punk/hardcore world in the late 90s and took everyone by storm. Their unique style of sleazy punk rock n roll saw them touring with the likes of Grade, Thursday, Botch, At The Drive-In, The Locust and Supersuckers, leaving fans of different areas of punk rock rabidly wanting more. Their live show was always on point and more often then not included cymbals being lit on fire, hard partying, and altercations between the band and naysayers in the crowd. The Murder City Devils will undoubtedly bring Fx3 to a frenzied, fevered pitch on Friday night, setting the partying bar high for the remainder of the weekend to live up to.
Purity Ring (Blue Stage)
Usually, the term “dubstep” leads to idiot shivers and loss of buzz, but Purity Ring is clearly the exception, not the rule. Featuring Corrin Roddick and Megan James of Gobble Gobble, Purity Ring play dub-step tinged electro-pop with infectious hooks and jerky rhythms that would probably get my grandmother dancing on table tops. Anyone with a soft spot for New Order or Ladytron needs to give Purity Ring a whirl. Their cutesy vocal hooks and sleazy synth melodies are a great way to kick off day two of Fx3.
Cold Cave (Blue Stage)
Anyone who saw American Nightmare/Give Up The Ghost or Some Girls will tell you that frontman Wes Eishold is the sort of performer that comes along once in a lifetime. However, the same people who saw Eishold fronting those bands probably wouldn’t have expected to see him reappear in Cold Cave, an experimental, new wave-ish electro group bruning up the indie world. Eishold traded in his blood-curdling scream and recklessly violent stage presence for an Ian Curtis-esque croon and synthesizers, a recipe that landed the band’s music in a Verizon Wireless commercial as well as appearing at several high profile festivals worldwide. The addition of Xiu Xiu’s Caralee McElroy has made Cold Cave much more cohesive and dynamic, and their latest full length, Cherish The Light Years, one of 2011’s best records. Their set is not one to be passed up, so plan accordingly.
Donald Glover/Childish Gambino (Yellow/Blue Stage)
James Brown has been gone for a few years, and apparently Donald Glover is doing his best to take his place as the “hardest working man in show business.” In addition to playing Troy Barnes on NBC’s Community and doing cameos in Best Coast videos, Donald Glover is also working at being a budding comedian as well as a rapper. Anyone who’s caught an episode or two of Community can testify to Glover’s razor sharp wit and brilliant timing, but his rhyming skills aren’t quite as well known as his acting and they’re criminally underrated to boot. Glover’s hip hop alter-ego makes words gracefully dance over any beat thown his way, and his wit and charm make his verses a cut above those spewed forth by many of his peers. Glover will be be appearing on the Yellow Stage doing comedy and wrapping up on the Blue Stage as Childish Gambino. His comedy set goes up against some other decent acts, but Childish Gambino’s set time is unchallenged by anyone else of note and shouldn’t be missed.
Hot Snakes (Black Stage)
Hot Snakes are arguably the pinnacle of the very unique and groundbreaking mid/late 90s San Diego punk scene that also featured bands like Rocket From The Crypt, The Locust, No Knife, and Drive Like Jehu. Hot Snakes were aggressive and fierce enough to appeal to the mosh hungry younger punk and hardcore types, yet were cerebral and quirky enough to make older, less punchy scenesters fanatical too. Hot Snakes made a whole lot of noise in a short amount of time. While this may be a reunion, their music is timeless and will sound just as fresh today as it did in 1999. This won’t be just one of the best sets at Fx3, but one of the best sets played a band in 2011.
Lemuria (Orange Stage)
Lemuria are the emotional highs and lows of a new relationship put to music. The Buffalo, NY trio play emotional post-punk similar to Jawbreaker or The Get Up Kids, but with far superior technical chops. Singer/guitarist Sheena Ozzella’s voice is haunting and she possesses an uncanny ability to tug at even the most guarded of heart strings with lyrics that rival Blake Schwarzenbach’s or Morrissey’s in terms of literary prowess. Ease out of your hangover and into your final day of Fun Fun Fun fury with Lemuria’s soothing blend of indie/post-punk. Maybe you’ll hear a song that will end up on the next mixtape you make for someone.
Le Butcherettes (Orange Stage)
Le Butcherettes began their career when frontwoman Teri Gender Bender moved to Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico following the death of her father in 2008. The band started playing dark, moody post-punk all over Mexico, eventually winning over both audiences and critics all over Mexico. The band eventually landed high-profile Mexican tours with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Dead Weather, and cut their teeth touring in the States with the likes of The Flaming Lips and Jane’s Addiction. The band added Gabe Serbian of The Locust and Jonathan Hischke of Broken Bells to their line up, and released their debut full-length Sin Sin Sin, which saw The Mars Volta/At The Drive-In mainman Omar Rodriguez Lopez handling production duties. A musical pedigree like Le Butcherettes is a rarity and demands to be paid attention to as Sunday’s festival activities begin to kick into overdrive one final time.
Zero Boys (Black Stage)
The go-to first wave American Hardcore bands are groups like Black Flag, Bad Brains, and Minor Threat, however, Indianapolis’ Zero Boys, while lacking infamy, are just as awesome as their more popular peers. Their Vicious Circle LP is a true hardcore classic, featuring such bangers as “Civilization’s Dying”, “Amphetamine Addiction”, and “Livin’ in the 80s”. The mid-afternoon set Sunday will definitely be ripe with circle pits and pile-ons, and a must see for anyone looking to expand their early 80s hardcore knowledge. I will definitely be there, pitting hard with some sort of alcoholic beverage in hand.
Kid Dynamite (Black Stage)
Forming in the late 90s from the ashes of Lifetime and Ink & Dagger, Kid Dynamite turned hardcore upside down while only existing for three years. Kid Dynamite blended the fury of hardcore with the melody and hooks of pop punk, a combo that put them on the top of the heap as far as hardcore in the early 00s was concerned. The band broke up rather unceremoniously shortly before releasing Shorter, Faster, Louder, their second full length, but after reconciling issues amongst band members, reunited to play some benefits and to send off CBGB’s when it closed in 2006. Kid Dynamite live were unfuckwithable, and set off crowds in a way hardcore hadn’t seen since New York in the late 80s. This set will be chock full of stagedives and headwalking which makes it worth catching even if Kid Dynamite’s music isn’t your particular cup of tea.
Hum (Orange Stage)
Hum were an anomaly. In a mid 90s “alternative” music world, four dudes with shaggy hair came out of nowhere playing incredibly heavy, yet melodic, almost shoegaze-ish hard rock. Perhaps a touch less metal/hardcore than Quicksand, but a little more ballsy than The Promise Ring, Hum achieved cult-band status before quietly disbanding in the late 90s. Their influence can be heard in a wide range of current heavy bands including Floor, Torche, Boris, Pelican, Russian Circles and Junius. This set with be worth it if for no other reason than to hear “Stars” played live again one more time. Unfortunately, they play at the exact same time as Boris, but Boris will more than likely tour again. Seeing Hum may be a one shot deal unless you have a flux capacitor laying around.
Odd Future (Blue Stage)
Love 'em or hate 'em, you can’t deny that Odd Future has churned up quite a bit of controversy over the last year. Was some of it earned? Totally. Was some of it overhyped bullshit? Even more so. Be that as it may, I feel like a group of wild LA teenagers who give zero fucks about anything put in front of a bunch of drunk people who love them, but within close proximity to a Slayer show and probably a few thousand people who hate them, has all the makings of one of the most memorable sets gone horribly wrong in Fx3 history. Even if everyone behaves themselves on the final night of Fx3, Odd Future live still manage to be far more interesting than most of their peers in hip-hop, and arguably a lot of indie, punk, and metal bands. If OF's resident crooner Frank Ocean is touring with the rest of the group, then Fx3 will be in store for some riveting r&b from one of 2011’s fastest rising singers. Most metalheads have seen Slayer more times than any of us have needed to, Odd Future provides an equally chaotic ending to what will be one hell of a weekend.
Whether you keep it purely brutal or branch out and check out some new bands or the not as black stages, Fx3 is going to to be the most ruling show of 2011. There’s something for everyone on it’s three stages of music and one stage of comedy, so there really isn’t any excuse to pass this by unless you are allergic to good times. There is the best of the fest as far as non-metal stuff goes, so expand your horizons and check out what the rest of the normal world chooses to listen to on the regular basis. Us Crustcake dudes will be taking it all in, because at the end of the day, beer makes any band sound better.