All pics by Van Damned
By Van Damned (SATX), The Swizard (ATX), and Andrew Wilhelm (Denver, but TX for life)
Bangover, hangover, smangover - whatever it was, we've recovered from it and will now present you our highlights from this year's Fun Fun Fun Fest. It was one hell of a weekend, filled with metal, tacos, dank hip-hop, Shiners, Tecates, and swag off the meter. We hope to do it again next year.
SLAYER: In some regards, Fx3 felt like a Slayer show with a bunch of opening bands. That's not a slight to the organizers or to the other bands, but when your headliner is fucking Slayer, everything else just pales in comparison. Slayer is so LOUD, so FAST, so EVIL, it takes up all the space in your consciousness, whether live or on record. Even with a couple songs from World Painted Blood, Slayer's set was full of bangers. And they added some humor to the setlist -- an early "Postmortem" and feedback prior to "Silent Scream" hinted at "Raining Blood," but we had to wait until the end for it, as we should have. The Big 4 is really just the Big 1 -- Slayer are still an amazing live unit, and even if their newer material isn't quite as good as the classics, they never plumbed the depths that some of their peers did. Props to Gary Holt of Exodus on filling in for Jeff Hanneman. He was more than up to the task.
Kool Keith: When god MC Rakim had to bow out at the last minute, Mr. Black Elvis himself -- Kool Keith -- stepped up the mic and graciously filled in, delivering an hour-long set that ripped through dozens of highlights from his extensive discography. Sometimes barely a line or chorus made it out, but those moments were as exhilarating as they were fleeting.
Death Grips: Hip-hop on the Black Stage? When your band features a terminally angry, nameless frontman with skills for days and Hella's Zach Hill behind the kit, it would have been a tragedy to not be on the Black Stage. Loud, abrasive, chaotic -- Death Grips came not to party but to kick your teeth in. Standout: the "Rise Above" sampling "Klink."
Deafheaven: While it was great enough hanging with the dudes (holla!), seeing the Bay Area blackgaze boys put one of their craziest shows yet was one of the best things about Saturday. With shows like Saturday night's, it's easy to see why Deathwish was so eager to get them. Also, there was a lot of air traffic in the set, especially from vocalist George Clarke, who launched himself over the top of the first several rows, screaming like a banshee. Also, Andy busted some R. Kelly with some Denverites before Deafheaven's set. Get them on a day stage pronto!
Fucking with Danzig: French Onion Soup is buzzing like Pitchfork gave it a 10. Expect a joint with A$AP Rocky in the coming months.
From Ashes Rise tearing up Friday NITES: Some bands were meant for the smaller stage, and From Ashes Rise are among them. The power of their melodic crust got somewhat lost in the Black Stage, but inside Red 7, they truly got to unleash themselves. They don't play often, so if you missed it, you really missed it. And unlike Tragedy at Chaos in Tejas, they played at a reasonable hour.
The Swizard's guide to picking up crusty chicks: "Wanna ride on my Rudimentary Peni?"
Cannibal Corpse's Pit: As good as these death metal OGs were (and they were fucking fantastic), nothing on stage could match the brutality occurring in the dust below. Sure Austin has seen its share of pit violence in the past, but the pit during "Hammer Smashed Face" was astounding. Spanning the length of both black stages, for four minutes, the audience was one snarling, windmilling, teeth-jarring mass. Is this the stuff European festivals are made of?
Kid Dynamite making the Black Stage look like their own show vs a reunited band playing a fest. Highlights included barricade dives and The Swizard coming out of mosh retirement.
Trash Talk playing the only barricade-free set of the weekend, bringing the "unsafe" element of Fx3 to new heights.
Purity Ring keeping witchhouse scary, weird, and bouncy...even in broad daylight.
Bay Area Legend Michael Madfes and his continual wit, wisdom, weed, and free drinks. WWLD?
Henry Rollins letting us all know that North Vietnam refers to John McCain as a shitty pilot.
The Zero Boys when their singer wasn't babbling about yoga and positivity between songs.
Hum: doing their part to make up for the fact that neither Torche nor
Eyehategod, even without dudes getting tasered or a plethora of Mike Williams shit-talking, still made Sunday the unholiest of days. NEW ORLEANS IS THE NEW VIETNAM!
The ATVs named after characters from Twin Peaks. Andy caught Shelly Johnson, Log Lady, and of course, Laura Palmer. Yeah, that show really isn't that good, but it's good to see Andy trying to be an art nerd has paid off in some regard. An early 90s Sherilyn Fenn at the fest would have been a much cooler celebrity sighting than Ryan Gosling.
Basically being able to completely avoid the Orange Stage for most of the weekend.
Danzig a.k.a. Don'tzig a.k.a. Soupgate: You've probably heard all about it at this point, but the sting still feels fresh. And, since Van worked the cop beat for the newspaper in Waco and Andy went to Medill at one point, we have to call it "Soupgate." Due to Danzig's diva bullshit, Andy missed Mindless' set at Red 7. He followed up with vocalist Faiza later that night, who told him that they performed an Autopsy cover. Goddamnit, Glenn.
Dust Dust Dust Fest: Bandannas became mandatory - hell, we're surprised security wasn't handing them out. Mini dust bowls would arise wherever there was a mosh. Given that we spend a lot of time at the black stage, we became acquainted with the earth more than we wished.
Fried chicken waffle tacos: This should be in the "FUN" column, right? Austin is not the Soul Food Capital of the World, sadly, and Lucky J's did not furnish an exception to the rule. A++ for concept, C for execution.
This gross food item multiple food tents kept marketing as "pizza." Andy, for the record, is not down with vegan cheese.
Beer prices: Paying $9 for a Tecate that costs $2 everywhere else in the world is HARSH.
Realized the Murder City Devils' ability to play live is contingent upon how much booze and cocaine the spectator consumes before they go on (approximately $30 in Fx3 beers wasn't nearly enough).
The Slayer Zombie Flash Mob/ironic or hipster Dickzig and Slayer fans.
No Lil' B? Shit could have gotten straight BASED if he made an appearance.
Ceremony's singer trying to act weird on stage and failing miserably.