The first day of FFF is over–and what a day it was! You can read part 1 here.
We took in a total of 11 acts today: Fat Tony, Mind Spiders, Cloud Nothings, Auto Body, Black Milk, Okkervil River, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Passion Pit, Four Tet, Danzig Legacy, and Public Enemy. No, we didn’t watch all of the entire sets, but we enjoyed nearly everything we experienced. After all the shows, we were hanging in the media lounge, and were really near to Chuck D of Public Enemy and Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit. Wow, this still almost doesn’t feel real!
The first band that we caught after our break was Okkervil River, from Austin. This is a 6 piece, including a female who plays guitar and banjo. They seemed right at home, playing this fest in their own backyard. Although I have had a few different opportunities to watch them before, this was my first time to see them live. It does make me regret not seeing them sooner since they sounded great, and were riveting to watch.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah were next, they are a 5 piece with 2 keyboard players, one of which was also playing tambourine. While they sounded great and didn’t actually do anything wrong, they were the easily the least entertaining gig of the day. That’s not to say that the large size crowd watching them didn’t enjoy them or that they sucked, they just need better stage presence.
Passion Pit drew a huge crowd, and for good reason: they were easily one of the highlights of the entire day.
Rarely disappointing, this was the first time they played in nearly a year. You wouldn’t know that by watching or listening to them, it seems they haven’t taken any time apart from each other. They have brilliant stage presence and their lights and strobes are always dazzling. They began with “Moth’s Wings”, then continued with “Make Light”, “The Reeling”, and then “Better Things”. Then they tried out a new song called “American Blood” and then “To Kingdom Come”. This took about 30 minutes, roughly half of their set. Most were both singing along and dancing the entire time.
We had to split up so that we could cover more shows, so at this point I rushed over to catch the last half of the legendary Public Enemy. My friend Mark was already up front taking photos and video and was able to take in the 1st half of the act. While they were setting up and getting ready, he was able to also watch Four Tet. Kieran Hebden is a solo DJ/electronic artist from the UK. His unique sound was like dub step, but it wasn’t dub step, it was electronic and techno like, but it wasn’t simply electronic or techno.
Public Enemy had a massive crowd show up, and they rose to the occasion by delivering a top notch set. They not only met expectations, but far exceeded them by living up to their iconic status. The set included “Don’t Believe The Hype”, “Fight The Power”, and “Bring The Noise” among others. At one point Flavor Flav started playing drums while his god son was rapping. Chuck D was militant and commanding as usual, criticizing the government’s desire to create an international wall to separate people, and dissing Kayne and Jay-Z’s Watch The Throne. The entire audience seemed captivated and enthralled the entire time.
My two friends left the last half of Public Enemy to see the other headlining artist, Danzig Legacy. For some reason they started the set late, causing this live show didn’t quite seem to live up to expectations. The reaction was mixed, depending on who you talked to. Some were into it, while others said it sounded as bad as karaoke. Either way, their performance was suddenly stopped short. The venue’s rules include each artist having to stop all music at 10 p.m. Without warning, the lights and power were just cut off. A banner that was used as the backdrop came crashing down to everyone’s utter surprise. The crowd began chanting “let them play”, and the drummer kept hitting the drums, but it was useless. It was an abrupt ending to a nearly perfect day. Watch the aftermath:
This is the first year the fest (in its 6th year) is trying a new experiment: after parties. Once all the scheduled acts are done for the day, some of the best bars around Austin will host live music from both scheduled performers from the fest, along with some who won’t be at FFF, like Dom and Royal Bangs.