Day 2 of FFF is a wrap, and we are exhausted. You can read about it here.
Lucky for us we get an extra hour of sleep with the time change tonight, we are in desperate need of it! We spent nearly 9 hours today watching 15 acts. Nearly everyone was talking about the Danzig fiasco last night. The size of the crowds has swollen as the weekend has started, and of course the biggest news of the day was that Ryan Gosling was on site for a new movie shooting on location, called Lawless. Not only did we see him up close, throughout the day as we walked around backstage we spotted members of The Joy Formidable, Girls, The Thermals, Fat Tony, Wayne Cohen of The Flaming Lips, and even one member of Miike Snow. Most of the shows we attended were picked by Pitchfork to be streamed, so I guess they have good taste to be at the same shows we picked. Let’s recap all of the performances of the long day.
We arrived a bit later than we had planned, which resulted in us missing Active Child. Pat Grossi is staying quite busy, also having another scheduled show in Dallas tonight. We showed up just in time to watch the last 3 songs of Purity Ring, which were being streamed live by Pitchfork. The duo drew quite a large size audience. They seemed to have some sort of homemade type of instrument, created with some welded brass pipes. We then made our way over to watch Tinariwen, a 6 piece which are poet-guitarists from the Southern Sahara desert. We were joking that they looked like terrorists, and so did most in the audience since there were so many bandannas from all of the dust. Their live music sounded very tribal and very trance like, many were dancing to the rhythm of the beat. It’s probably safe to say that no one knew any of their lyrics, but the majority were still into them.
Next up was very popular The Joy Formidable trio from Wales. They started roughly 10 or 15 minutes late, but quickly caused everyone to mostly forgive and forget through their energy and enthusiasm. The three of them are tight musicians who are difficult not to enjoy seeing. Part of their setup was a gong placed in the back center of the stage that commanded attention. To state the obvious, the lead singer can rock out and has an accent—she’s so hot! They waited until the very last song to play their hit “Whirring”. Immediately following them were tUnE-yArDs. Merrill Garbus appeared on stage solo to begin with, with face paint and costume. She was captivating from the moment she stepped on stage until the very end. Her band appeared during the start of the second song. Some songs in their set included both “Bizness” and “Gangsta”. The Joy Formidable and tUnE-yArDs were both sets that we were compelled to watch through their entirety.
We took a break to regroup and recharge, and were able to sit down with Fat Tony for a few minutes for our first interview during the fest. We grabbed some pizza and beer then caught the last half of Ra Ra Riot’s set. Seeing them live previously, I expected them to sound phenomenal, which they did. Austin seemed to enjoy their set, as a large mass of fans gathered both to watch and participate. They pulled from songs both old and new like “Boy”, “Can You Tell”, “Dying Is Fine”, “Too Dramatic”, “The Orchard”, and “Oh, La”.
Afterwards M83 from France began to play and it felt as if the collective mood and consciousness of the crowd became one. Suddenly it was as if we were in the Matrix movie where everyone was dancing in a cave! The females in attendance seemed to be really be into M83, so he definitely should be considered successful now.
After the set, we made our way to the other side of the Orange stage, where we ended up easily spending most of our time today. Girls, from San Francisco, kicked off their set strongly and positively, complete with 3 African American gospel background singers. The stage was decorated simply with stringing lights and flowers. They incorporated songs from both of their records like “Honey Bunny”, “Lust For Life”, and “Vomit”. They were incredible live,
we caught at least half of their act at dusk. It was great to see how the amount of those attending kept increasing throughout the day and night. As time began to give way from afternoon and turn into evening, the choices of which concerts to choose from became increasingly and exceedingly difficult. So once again my friends and I did what any small staff of bloggers would do: split up to catch as many as possible.
I think everyone had really high expectations of Swedish superstar Lykke Li, or at least we did. She kept the enormously packed audience anxiously awaiting her arrival, in part due to her impressive stage set up. There were black curtains which were being blown everywhere in the strong winds, and what appeared to be an incredible lighting and strobes. The most stage fog you have ever seen in your life kept being pumped out, perhaps with the intention that it would prevent the restless crowd from being able to see how late she was. This wasn’t the most considerate gesture, considering it was hard enough to breathe already from all of the dust. We thought maybe there was a good reason for the delay, but she appeared to just be chilling in the green room when we walked by.
She finally appeared at least 20 minutes after being scheduled. I haven’t yet been able to confirm with 100% accuracy, but would be willing to bet money that the red headed drummer from Sweden’s Miike Snow was part of her band. Overall the show was good yet underwhelming. I guess it was like a movie that you keeping hearing about so you finally give in, just to leave confused as to why it was so popular. Hopefully I don’t sound too bitter or cynical, I would like another chance to see her again another time.
Next up was the first part of Cave In, who both looked and sounded really good. Their rock sound really seemed to gel with those attending. We could hear Hot Snakes from where we were positioned, but weren’t able to actually make it over to watch. It was too bad since they sounded impeccable. For any die hard Nirvana fans, it was impossible to miss the Wiper’s influence on this group. It made us really want to see them live. One of the most surprisingly impressive displays to the fest was by Childish Gambino. Donald Glover, the actor/musician is a stand-up comedian on the hit NBC show Community. He performed both at the comedy tent, then later did hip-hop on the blue stage which we saw. He drew a large gathering who were intensely into his stellar showcase.
We were able to catch about half of Neon Indian’s act, of the festival favorites. Alan Palomino led his band through a collection of tunes from both their first record and new one. This must have appealed to most, who were happy to sing and dance along. We heard “Hex Girlfriend”, “Polish Girl”, “Deadbeat Summer”, and “Should Have Taken Acid With You”. We caught a brief glimpse of Spoonat the beginning of their set. They started immediately into their performance, infusing a much needed second wind of energy into the tired masses. The brief intro we experienced from the hometown Austin heroes only wet our appetite for more.
We walked over and briefly experienced the classic British punk rock sound of The Damned. We watched the latter half of their set, which was better attended than I expected. The band has been around nearly as long as I have been alive. Dave Vanian, the frontman, was decked out in a suit as is his tradition. Formerly working as a grave digger, he is credited for transporting the goth look to rock. It was probably fitting they played the bill since they also played the original punk rock fest in England in the 70’s. They also made a joke about being cold, a reference and diss aimed at Danzig. The final act of day 2 was none other than Major Lazer. What makes a festival so exciting are the never ending surprises. On stage with the popular electronic act was none other than Diplo, filling in as guest DJ. During the set, it seemed like the world around us evaporated and that Austin turned into one giant dance party.
Day 2 has finally come to an end, and we are getting ready to end our last day here. There are more photos and videos to edit and upload then the amount of time we have actually spent here so far. But no worries, make sure you keep it posted here, and our Facebook page and Twitter account for real time updates as they happen, and for more in depth reviews, video and photos next week.
You can also follow Ben and Mark as we are live tweeting from the event: