FFF is officially wrapped up. What an unbelievably incredible weekend! You can read about yesterday here.
The fest, in it’s sixth year, may have reached perfection. It’s got the right size crowds, one of the most diverse line ups, and hasn’t yet sold out to the corporate man yet. As we made the 3 hour trek back home to Dallas, I felt (and still do) both overwhelmingly exhausted and exhilarated. We only had 3 people, but between us were able to catch another 15 shows yesterday, and a total of 40 for the entire weekend! Somehow we also managed to snag a few interviews along the way, including one with Workaloholics’ Blake Anderson.
The weariness of the weekend finally began to catch up with us on Sunday, time change in effect or not. We finally arrived in time to see We Were Promised Jetpacks. The Scottish 4 piece presented their version of post punk power pop to the crowd’s delight. There was not an enormous gathering compared to some other acts during the fest, but that didn’t seem to influence the enjoyment of those who there there watching.
We made our way over to catch Grimes next. We first watched Claire Boucher live at the Gorilla vs. Bear fest in Dallas, and weren’t overly impressed. Carina, our new staff member from NYC, saw her at CMJ recently and convinced us she was worthy of another chance. Her music could be described as a cross between electronic and folk. A few times she looked like she was trying to cast spells over those who were gazing upon her, and it seemed to work to some extent. My hunch is that everyone was about split down the middle regarding her artistic display. It is both musical and visual, embodying the arts of 2D, performance, dance, video and sound. She also had a guy on stage with her she was incorporating into her act, but was a bit confusing as to what exactly was happening or why. It may have been an interpretative dancer.
The day continued as we checked out many other groups. Like Grimes, Baths off centered performance resulted in a mostly mixed reaction from those in attendance. The festival scene is always a mixed bag, and you can’t please everyone. With the pressure to present some of the most edgy and popular underground bands, some of the music selected is too obscure for the masses. Then again, that can be an advantage of a successful alternative event like this, where artists can emerge and blossom outside of the mainstream. The 21 year old Will Wiesenfeld from Los Angeles has a unique style that defies description and refuses being relegated to a genre. I personally liked the set, and my guess again would be that the opinions could be split evenly. Maybe a bit unorthodox, he did as much as one guy with a mixer possibly could.
Moving on afterwards I found myself observing Mates Of State. This has been a duo I have been waiting and wanting to see for sometime. The singer/song writers are a married couple from the mid west that make easily accessible indie music with dual vocal harmonies and minimal pop appeal. I was only able to stay for less than half of their show, and it definitely made me want to watch more of them another time. I originally wanted to place them on our Top 20 picks list, but ran out of space.
I was then ready to see the 5 piece Australian indie pop band Architecture in Helsinki. Someone jokingly referred to them as the B-52′s on Twitter, and the amount of people at Auditorium Shores had really started to swell by this time. The heavy hook-laden tunes cranked out was enough to make up for the haze of dust, which luckily was at a minimum on this final day. They crowd seemed to be responding very positively. The set included some synchronized, choreographed dancing, and they played songs like “Contact High”, “Escapee”, “Do The Whirlwind”, “W.O.W.”, and “Heart It Races”. One of the best moments once when the group mentioned how excited they were to see Slayer later. We had an interview scheduled but just got too busy, but their tour manger was really nice as we discussed their European tour.
As much as I like to think I know about music, I just recently discovered Ted Leo and The Pharmacists. At least I was clever enough to add them to my top 20 picks of the fest, and in hindsight that was a brilliant move on my part. I emailed their manager and publicist to schedule an interview, to which they responded back he wasn’t feeling well enough. I thought I was being blown off. Later, Ted himself actually personally emailed me to regret he wasn’t able to make the interview, so they really earned some respect. Originally I only saw 3 members on stage, but eventually another one emerged. I was already digging them digitally on Spotify, but they added another dimension in a live setting. I was wondering what Ted was doing when he moved towards the back of the stage and put on a wig. Apparently he was trying to imitate Glen Danzig and then played Misfits covers. As a joke, he also apologized for Friday night’s fiasco.
My friends and I were able to finally regroup and meet back up to watch the beginning of Budos band. The self described Afro-Soul entourage came highly recommended from another friend, but we still didn’t really have any idea of what to expect. I counted 9 members on stage, but they sometimes have 10-12. They sounded more rock than I anticipated, without doubt one of the most original and unique bands this weekend. They are definitely a festival band, and can probably teach others about how to build a fan base through playing fests.
Kid Dynamite was also scheduled on the bill, so some of us went to check him out. There was tons of moshing happening as a pit formed. The lead singer was right in the middle of the pit with the fans singing, and then Ryan Gosling was persuaded somehow to get up against the security fence and high five a bunch of fans, filming for the movie of course. The other noteworthy mention was how the drummer had a lot of energy and was really getting into it.
Yes, Flying Lotus is really Steve Ellison from LA. Yes, he has worked with both Erykah Badu and Thom Yorke. And yes, his slot turned into one helluva good time party. If anyone brought ectasty, this would be the time they would take it. Even Major Lazer came up to the side of the stage to get a closer look, and Diplo as well. Even those who don’t dance could be seen dancing. There was an initial excitement when he started playing a cut by Tyler The Creator, no one was sure if a special guest would come out or not.
Next up was the one and only Cannibal Corpse. And only at FFF can you go from seeing death metal to electronica to hip-hop so quickly and closely. Not quite sure if death metal has critics or if reviews exist, I’m not quite sure how that would turn out. We had an interview with Paul, the drummer, before their set. He is one of two remaining original members, the other is the bass player Alex. Since I first knew about them way back in the 90′s, I wanted to see how they would come across at this type of event. They hadn’t gigged anytime recently, but have a new record in the works. Say what you will about their growls, they still have a strong fan base, one that could quite well be as strong as ever. The diverse taste of those growing up with their iPods on shuffle has made times like this not just possible, but worthwhile. This is such a different world then just a few years ago when religious people would have been outside protesting. They jokingly said “”If I look back on the video & don’t see you headbanging out there, I’m going to come to your house and kill you!” I don’t know exactly how to describe this music except to say that it sounded good, loud, and scary. And that’s usually enough for Texas.
Can’t forget about Del the Funky Homosapien either. We were already fans simply from listening to his work before, yet this was our first time to experience his live show. The amount of people and marijuana were noticeably more in abundance the longer the day went on and turned into night. To state the crowd at Del was hype would be to a huge understatement. I counted 5 others on stage with the MC. Later on we were privileged to be part of the Diplo experience. The crowd was most influenced by his ability to make magic come from the speakers with his amazing mixing and style. Much more than just a DJ, he truly knows how to throw a party and get everyone moving. Party lights and glow sticks flying through the air all throughout the night. There were just tons of people everywhere, and everyone seemed to be in a trance to the music and was oblivious to anything else around them. We also briefly watched Japanese hard rock band Boris shred, including playing a two-necked guitar! This is a highly underrated group deserving of more attention. Let’s hope they tour the United States more.
We finally made it to the final 3 shows of the weekend, and in our opinion maybe even the 3 best! I’m referring to Trash Talk, Slayer, and Odd Future Wolfgang. Trash Talk is led by the infamously legendary party animal and professional troublemaker Lee Spielman. They are a 4 piece from Sacramento who are living proof that hardcore punk is still alive and well. As much as I love their music, nothing in this world could prepare me for the mayhem that manifested. A last minute event that wasn’t planned until that day, it wasn’t featured on the website or in any of the printed materials. Thanks to social networking, texting, and old fashioned word of mouth, several hundred still crowded in the yellow tent to see the spectacle. Henry Rollins, who earlier that same day performed a wedding here, was just finishing his inspirational talk when I arrived.
Lee enticed invitees through twitter by focusing on the fact that this was the only stage on the grounds without a security barricade. Immediately before begging, he once again invited everyone up front, which somehow seemed to translate into a dare. They were getting ready to start their 1st song, when the guy next to me said “I hope this gets violent”. While I thought he was exaggerating or meaning metaphorically, I soon realized he was seriously being literal. The tent, which consisted of just dirt on the ground, instantly became a cyclone of chaos. As soon as the first note struck, a circle pit formed faster than a tornado, with bodies and limbs flying everywhere.
The only way to tell the difference between the band members and those from the audience on the stage were instruments. There were flips, jumps, stiff arms, punches, and stage diving ensuing from all directions. Most of the photographers, videographers, and bloggers tried to get out of the way to hide for cover. Lee later tweeted that he got knocked out, and possibly broke his thumb. Not content to merely stand by to observer, Blake Anderson from Workaloholics even jumped into the action by stage diving. Trash Talk thanked everyone for coming, knowing full well they could easily have been at Slayer. He then encouraged everyone to go and see Odd Future afterwards.
Slayer was one of, if not the largest, draws of the entire weekend. Not only were tens of thousands of fans anxious to see them, so was virtually every other artist and celebrity in attendance. Brian Posehn, stand up comedian from The Sarah Silverman Program, introduced the headliners. The curtain hiding their equipment and set up had giant pentagrams on it, then came crashing to the bottom of the stage as they kicked off their set Slayer style. This is one band that doesn’t joke around when it comes to what they do and want. They still draw an enormous gathering, and it’s not difficult to understand why. Wished we could have stayed for longer of their show, and we didn’t even have a chance to check out Blonde Redhead either. To close the weekend, we opted for Odd Future to end the fest with.
Trying to describe an Odd Future show is probably easier than trying to describe who Odd Future is. It’s hard to believe that anyone doesn’t know about or hasn’t at least heard of them. This has been their year, mostly good, yet they had some controversy after last weekend’s Voo Doo Experience. Member Left Brain was accused of assaulting photographer and blogger Amy Harris. To prevent a similar occurrence, no photographers were allowed in the photo pit or backstage access. Love them or hate them, there is no middle ground with these emerging superstars. While their music has been incorrectly called horror core. A better way to describe the genre is punk core, since they combine the rebelliousness of punk with hip-hop style and culture. It’s impossible to tell how many people were trying to squeeze into this rowdy range of people, but this was the most crowded event.
Hodgy Beats and Left Brain appeared first, kicking it off with their hit Mellowhype rap “64″. Left Brain seemed unphased by what happened last time. Tyler the Creator and the rest later appeared, including Taco, Jasper Dolphin, Domo Genesis, and Syd The Kid. Frank Ocean wasn’t able to be present. Their set list featured “Fuck The Police”, “Yonkers”, and “Sandwitches”, among others.
At one point, a botte of water went sailing through the air from the rambunctious audience, hitting Tyler directly in the face. The music suddenly stopped, then what occurred next went down so fast it’s difficult to describe. It’s unclear if it was accidental or intentional, but the next few minutes felt like it must have when Nirvana originally played in Dallas and Kurt got into a fight with the bouncer. Tyler leaped off stage along with other stage members and a huge fight broke out. After a few minutes it ceased and the rest of the show continued. I would have kept recording but got punched in the face. During the last song “Radicals”, Tyler dared the crowd to ignore security and try to rush the stage. Their spectular show concluded with dozens and dozens of fans on stage with them.
In conclusion, the only complaint we have about FFF is that it’s just too good. We didn’t really want it to end and be over and have to return to work and responsibility. Also, why the hell do they have to book so many damn good bands and schedule them all at the same time, forcing us to pick and choose? It’s a music lover’s paradise and worse nightmare combined at the same time–can’t wait until next year! Later this week we will have more in depth reviews, coverage, interviews, and tons more pics and video.