This Is Not a Love Song: Thoughts on Fun Fun Fun Fest 7
Fun Fun Fun Fest
Marco Torres Val Kilmer, doing his best Val Kilmer impression onstage Friday afternoon
Friday, November 2-Sunday, November 4
In its seventh year, Fun Fun Fun Fest has settled into a very curious meta place. Standing in a crowd at any one of the four stages, you were often watching a show via someone's iPhone or iPad. That Terrence Malick has been filming his latest movie at the fest for the past two years says more about FFF's story within a story, and the sight of Val Kilmer cutting his hair on stage with the Black Lips was one of those instantly meme-able moments that blurred the line between entertainment and gimmick and fueled our society's burgeoning hash tag economy.
And that's fine. We don't want to feel isolated at a festival, and there's a definite shared experience to Fun Fun Fun Fest, which took place for the second year at Auditorium Shores in Austin. Another one of those meta moments: Darryl "DMC" McDaniels wearing a Nirvana t-shirt on stage. Run-D.M.C.'s Friday night set proved even more surreal when deceased member Jam-Master Jay's son came on stage a few songs in, and cleaved the set in half with a 20-minute dubstep DJ set. It leveled the flow of the show, and when "Walk This Way" appeared eventually, the momentum had been lost.
But that's another aspect of a fest like this: With all the reunited acts FFF brings to Austin, we, the audience, are collectively experiencing the possible flame-out of a reunion show in real time. Run-D.M.C.'s set was an example of that, but across the park on the Black Stage, X ripped through Los Angeles with ease, then continued playing past their set time because, as Exene said, no one else was playing after them.
Saturday's Public Image Ltd set was one of the best-sounding ones of the day, as the quartet skated through songs from their new album, This Is PiL, which sounded decidedly better live. The rhythm section, always the linchpin for PiL material, contoured John Lydon's vocals nicely, especially on "Albatross," and though the rough edges of his persona have softened a bit, Lydon continues to engage more like an actor than a musician.
Marco Torres Public Image Ltd
Over on the Blue Stage, touring trio A$AP Rocky, Danny Brown and Schoolboy Q gave us a notepad worth of soundbites. Q, shirtless and wearing his trademark hat, shouted out the crowd then said, "I gotta use my own shirt to wipe myself down?" Brown was his usual cartoonish self, espousing the joys of pussy-eating, and Rocky inquired as to where "all his Dallas ladies at?" A few songs in, he stood on stage, silent, as did his DJ, until the crowd started chanting for him to continue. His set was heavy on the dirty South, purple-everything, trunk music vibe, but that one moment was notable for his command of the crowd, even if he thought maybe he was still in Dallas.
Marco Torres A$AP Rocky