Fun Fun Fun Fest 2009 Preview

<div> <a href="features/features/fun_fun_fun_fest_2009_preview/"><img src="" alt="Fun Fun Fun Fest 2009 Preview" /></a> </div> <p> America’s alternative music festival season (<a href="features/features/2009_festival_guide/" target="_blank">QRO Festival Guide</a>) pretty much begins &...
Fun Fun Fun Fest 2009 Preview

Now in its fourth year, the four stages at FFF (the preferred abbreviation – don’t think of The Beach Boys song; think the sixth letter of the alphabet, repeated three times…) hold a wide & impressive array of acts.  Each stage may have a general ‘theme’, but there’s a lot of overlap, and, moreover, the music’s good enough to keep anyone bouncing from stage to stage at downtown Waterloo Park (in the shadow of the capitol, where Governor George Bush once reigned…):



Whatever your taste in indie-rock, Stage Orange has something for ya, including electronic acts like Ratatat & Crystal Castles, wild stage-rock such as Les Savy Fav & No Age, experimental art-punk in Mission of Burma & Yeasayer, the atmospherics of Broadcast & Fuck Buttons, garage (Shonen Knife), lo-fi (Times New Viking), cowpunk (Lucero), the unclassifiable of Montreal, and much more:

Day 1, November 7th

Ratatat, 8:30 PM

New York’s Evan Mast & Mike Stroud form the electronic duo known as Ratatat.  Most recently out with the simple-and-sweet-named LP3 (QRO review), LP4 is reportedly just around the corner, so look for both at Fun Fun Fun.  Fun will definitely be had, thanks to Ratatat’s energetic, psychedelic live show (QRO live review).

Les Savy Fav, 7:35 PM

There may not be a band more suited for Fun Fun Fun Fest than the always-entertaining Les Savy Fav.  The Brooklyn band most recently released 2007’s Let’s Stay Friends (QRO review), but are best know for their crazy, wild live shows (QRO live review), with singer Tim Harrington running into the crowd (QRO photo), up against his band members (QRO photo), stripping to his portly frame (QRO photo), and more (QRO photos).

Les Savy Fav
Yeasayer, 6:45 PM

The experimental Yeasayer (QRO live review) combine electronica, rock, and even tribal sounds, making them sound like the music of the cyberpunk future, multi-cultural in ways you’d never foresee (QRO photos).  They’ve been steadily building since 2007’s All Our Cymbals (QRO review) and the futuristic “2080” (QRO video), with a fascinating stage presence (QRO photos outdoors), especially at festivals (QRO photos at a festival).

Death, 6:00 PM

Has there been a band revived after being as long dormant as Death? The early seventies proto-punk band of (actual) brothers from Detroit broke up in 1976, moved to Vermont, inspired a tribute band among their sons & their sons’ friends (Rough Francis), came to the attention of Drag City this year, and now, over thirty years since their dissolution, the two surviving Hackney brothers, Bobby & Dannis, are playing for a whole new generation & a half.

No Age, 5:10 PM

L.A.’s young guitar & drums duo of Randy Randall and Dean Allen Spunt have been blowing up very quickly since last year’s Nouns (QRO review), including joining Dan Deacon & Deerhunter on the ‘Round Robin’ tour (QRO live review) & a controversial appearance on Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn.  The punk rock of such tracks as “Eraser” (QRO video), “Teen Creeps” (QRO video) and “Ripped Knees” (QRO video) plays fast, but look out for a young weekend daytime crowd to go nuts (QRO live review).

No Age
Red Sparowes, 4:20 PM

Maybe the first band announced to play Fun Fun Fun, Los Angeles’ Red Sparowes create a post-rock soundscape that somehow includes peddle steel guitar.

Red Sparowes
Shonen Knife, 3:30 PM

There’s a lot of garage-rock around these days, but why not get it from someone who’s anything but new to the game (like most garage-rockers)? Shonen Knife (QRO live review) have been doing it for almost thirty years now, most recently with Super Group (QRO review) – and they’re three Japanese girls (QRO interview), for all you fetishists out there…

Shonen Knife
Times New Viking, 2:40 PM

Columbus, Ohio’s Times New Viking were on the leading edge of the ‘shitgaze’ genre, along with acts like No Age, and they didn’t clean up their lo-fi sound for last year’s Rip It Off, their debut on Matador.  They’re a bit more melodic, less wild, than other shitgaze acts – which unfortunately make them more boring, live & outdoors (QRO photos outdoors at a festival).

Times New Viking
Crystal Antlers, 1:45 PM
(QRO photos at a festival)
Royal Bangs, 1:10 PM
The Laughing, 12:35 PM
Crystal Antlers


Day 2, November 8th

of Montreal, 8:30 PM

There are few acts that do a live show like of Montreal (QRO live review).  Kevin Barnes’ epic orchestra literally fills the stage (QRO photos at a festival) with a performance more akin to (the actually French Canadian) Cirque du Soleil than indie-rock.  The band emerged out of the Elephant Six Collective to reach serious heights, most recently with 2007’s Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (QRO review) and last year’s Skeletal Lamping, but they have to be seen live (QRO photos) to be truly believed.

of Montreal
Crystal Castles, 7:30 PM

Most electronic acts are restrained on stage, even when their crowd is going nuts, but the duo of Ethan Kath & Alice Glass match their audience’s fervor – which has gotten them booted from more than one stage, especially at festivals.  So even if you fall on the ‘hate’ side of this love-them-or-hate-them act (from Canada, surprisingly…), show up for the spectacle…

Crystal Castles
Mission of Burma, 6:35 PM

This decade/century/millennium has seen a lot of great alt-reunions, but one of the finest has been one of the first, Mission of Burma (QRO live review).  The art-punk act was forced to break up over twenty-five years ago, due to singer/guitarist Roger Miller’s tinnitus, they reunited in 2002, seemingly not missing a beat, including putting out three new records & counting, with The Sound, The Speed, The Light (QRO review) out this month.  Their live shows these days (QRO live review) do naturally tend more towards the post-reunion material, like “1001 Pleasant Dreams” (QRO video) & “Man In Decline” (QRO video), but they still do throw down great ‘oldies’ like “Trem Two” (QRO video) and, yes, “That’s When I Reached For My Revolver” (QRO video).  But protect your ears, as Miller, singer/bassist Clint Conley, and drummer Peter Prescott – along with ‘new’ tape-loop man, Bob Weston (who replaced original looper Martin Swope when the band reunited – but still uses early-eighties electronics to create the band’s signature live looping) turn it up to eleven & beyond, especially outdoors (QRO live review outdoors).

Mission of Burma
Lucero, 5:40 PM

These cowpunkers (QRO photos) arrive at today’s workingman’s punk from the southern, country/punk end of things.  Singer/guitarist Ben Nichols did his own thing with a solo record and ‘Revival Tour’ (QRO photos at last year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest) with Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music – QRO photos) and Tim Barry (Avail), but the band has since gone big-time, including a four-album major label deal, with 1372 Overtone Park (QRO review) out last month, as well as starring in MTV’s quasi-fictional $5 Cover.  But live & outdoors (QRO photos outdoors at a Waterloo Park), they stay true to their roots.

Broadcast, 4:45 PM

Birmingham, England’s Broadcast bring the sixties psychedelica sounds into the spookier twenty-first century, and just released their fourth full-length, Broadcast and The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age.  On tour with Atlas Sound (see below), hope that it’s dark enough for their projection screen (QRO live review on this tour).

WHY?, 3:50 PM

Jonathan ‘Yoni’ Wolf and his band, WHY? (QRO live review), combine indie, hip-hop, rock, pop, folk & more, most recently with this year’s (somewhat underwhelming) Eskimo Snow (QRO review).

Atlas Sound, 3:00 PM

Bradford Cox of Deerhunter (QRO live review) was one of the busiest people in indie-rock last year, putting out not only two Deerhunter records, Microcastle (QRO review) & Weird Era Cont. (QRO review), but also his first solo record as Atlas Sound, Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel (QRO review), with tracks like “River Card” (QRO video) & “Winter Vacation” (QRO video).  On tour with Broadcast (see above), expect some new material like “Logos” (QRO video), but live as Atlas Sound (QRO photos on this tour), his expansive ambient rock can “take it to the fields” (QRO live review) – even outdoors (QRO live review outdoors).

Atlas Sound
Fuck Buttons, 2:15 PM

The eleclectic, expansive electronica of U.K.’s Fuck Buttons (QRO live review) comes into the wide outdoors of Texas (QRO photos outdoors), as the duo of Andrew Hung & Benjamin Power tour Tarot Sport, their follow-up to last year’s Street Horrrsing (QRO album review).

Fuck Buttons
This Will Destroy You, 1:40 PM
Black & White Years, 1:05 PM
Growing, 12:30 PM
This Will Destroy You



Texas knows how to rock, and maybe nowhere more so than at Fun Fun Fun Fest’s Black Stage.  The most appropriately named of the four color-coded stages, the Black Stage is headlined by icons of punk rock & metal, but also features a host of up-and-coming & already-there hard rock acts from around the world:

Day 1, November 7th

The Jesus Lizard, 8:35 PM

Austin (with some Chicago thrown in) natives The Jesus Lizard were acclaimed punk-noise forebears who broke up in 2000.  But recently, singer David Yow (QRO coverage) and the entire original line-up have reunited for a series of festivals.  They are also re-releasing their strong back catalog, perfect to peruse through while you make your picks.

The Jesus Lizard
Fucked Up, 6:55 PM

While Holy Fuck (QRO album review) lost the Polaris Music Prize last year, that kind of a name didn’t stop Fucked Up from winning it this year, with Chemistry of Common Life (though it almost derailed The Pool Parties at Williamsburg Waterfront in Brooklyn – QRO photos).  But what everyone should really be wary of is how nuts the crowd goes for this act out of Toronto (QRO photos outdoors), with singer/frontman Damian Abraham trying to out-shirtless fat man-wild Tim Harrington of Les Savy Fav (see above).

Fucked Up
7 Seconds, 6:05 PM

Reno, Nevada’s 7 Seconds helped start the straight edge scene in the eighties.  Their shift to more complex music wasn’t well received, and they’ve since moved back to their bread & butter punk rock.

7 Seconds
Melt Banana, 5:15 PM

While Shonen Knife (see above) brings Japanese garage-rock to Fun Fun Fun Fest, Melt Banana brings Japan’s noise-rock.  Pretty much spells out the difference between Orange Stage & Black Stage…

Melt Banana
The Sword, 4:25 PM

At the last minute, Fun Fun Fun Fest added local favorite The Sword (QRO live review).  The heavy metal band has previously opened for the likes of Metallica (QRO photos on tour with The Sword) earlier this year, but can more than hold their own.  They’ve got a new record in the works for 2010, following last year’s Gods of Earth, and plan to debut the material at home at FFF.

The Sword
Russian Circles, 3:35 PM
The Night Marchers, 2:50 PM
The Young Widows, 2:15 PM
All Leather, 1:40 PM
Coliseum, 1:05 PM
Rat King, 12:30 PM
The Night Marchers


Day 2, November 8th

Danzig, 8:30 PM

The metal-horror-rock of Danzig is legendary, now into its third decade.   Emerging out of the horror-punk of The Misfits, singer/frontman Glenn Danzig is returning to that a bit, by headlining Fun Fun Fun’s punk rock Black Stage – and, all due respects to Spinal Tap, there is ‘none more black’ than Danzig.

Gorilla Biscuits, 7:40 PM

Even after its New Wave & punk heyday, New York’s iconic CBGB’s was birthing hardcore acts in the late eighties like Gorilla Biscuits.   After breaking up in 1991, they reunited later that decade for a few benefit shows at CBGB’s (the last of which was for the now-defunct venue itself), reissued their seminal Start Today, and have even done a few tours.

Gorilla Biscuits
D.R.I., 6:55 PM

The crossover thrash of D.R.I. (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles) have been going since 1982, their presence more known in influencing other acts (‘crossover thrash’ was defined by their 1987 Crossover record) than commercial success.  It’s a been a long time since they’ve put out anything new, but that was due to guitarist Spike Cassidy’s cancer diagnosis in 2006.  But Cassidy’s got a clean bill of health & the band’s got new material for Fun Fun Fun.

Torche, 6:15 PM

Miami’s Torche have toured hard with likes of The Sword (see above) and last year’s Meanderthal was rated #1 on Decibel Magazine’s “Most Extreme Albums of the Year”.   And the metal act is continuing on, even after the departure of guitarist Juan Montoya over “creative differences”…

The Riverboat Gamblers, 5:35 PM
Coalesce, 4:50 PM
Street Dogs, 4:10 PM
Youth Brigade, 3:30 PM
Mika Miko, 2:55 PM
The Underground Railroad to Candyland, 2:20 PM
Off With Their Heads, 1:45 PM
Reign Supreme, 1:10 PM
Pack of Wolves, 12:35 PM
The Roller, 12:00 PM
Mika Miko



At any alternative music festival, including hip-hop and other ‘urban’ sounds can be the toughest assignment.   Too often, it feels just added in, with a whole different crowd, separate from everyone else (often by color…).  But Fun Fun Fun Fest squares this circle thanks to not only its massive overall diversity (truly a ‘majority-minority’ festival), and booking a line-up at the Blue Stage interesting enough to capture the attention of any indie-hipster or hard-rocker:

Day 1, November 7th

Pharcyde, 8:50 PM

Out of Los Angeles’ South Central came alternative hip-hop act Pharcyde.  Coming up on twenty years now of existence, Pharcyde have lost a few members & flirted with dissolution, but have been going strong on the festival circuit since fully reuniting at last year’s Rock the Bells.

The Cool Kids, 7:30 PM

The hip-hop duo of Antoine ‘Mikey Rocks’ Reed & Evan ‘Chuck Inglish’ Ingersol (QRO photos) hail from right around the Great Lakes, and have played with numerous non-hip-hop acts, so are a good fit to bring the beats to Fun Fun Fun Fest’s Blue Stage.

The Cool Kids
Neon Indian, 6:35 PM
SSION, 5:35 PM
M.C. Chris, 4:35 PM
Vega, 3:35 PM
Foot Patrol, 2:35 PM
Sugar & Gold, 1:50 PM
(QRO photos at a festival)
L.A.X., 1:05 PM
Beta Player, 12:20 PM
Sugar & Gold


Day 2, November 8th

Kid Sister, 9:00 PM

Chicago’s Melissa Young – a.k.a. Kid Sister – blew up last year thanks to “Pro Nails” (featuring a not-yet-disgraced – mostly – Kanye West), and has followed that up this year with her debut full-length, Ultraviolet.

Kid Sister
GZA/Genius, 8:00 PM

Fun Fun Fun Fest has spread beyond its origins by drawing in hip-hop to widen the range of music – and picked a strong seller in The GZA.  The Brooklyn native was a founding member of the famed Wu-Tang Clan with his cousin Ol’ Dirty Bastard.  He’s subsequently gone on to do acclaimed work both with Wu-Tang and on his own, most recently with last year’s Pro Tools.

Buraka Som Sistema, 7:05 PM

The Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) world community is maybe the most diverse & integrated, from the melting pot of Brazil all the way over to Asian outposts like Goa, Timor Leste, and Macao.  Lisbon’s Buraka Som Sistema take the kuduro sounds of ex-colony Angola, marrying it to European electronica, for something truly new & original.

Buraka Som Sistema

Los Angeles’ HEALTH not only bring the noise-rock to Fun Fun Fun Fest, but are also known for their mash-ups, most notably with electronic dance duo Crystal Castles (see above), though outdoors (QRO photos outdoors), they’re more ‘noise’ than ‘rock’…

DJ Nu-Mark, 5:00 PM
Car Stereo (Wars), 4:00 PM
Alaska In Winter, 3:05 PM
(QRO album review)
Astronautalis, 2:25 PM
The DJ Melee, 1:30 PM
Peligrosa All-Stars, 12:15 PM
Alaska In Winter



Last year was the inaugural year for Fun Fun Fun’s more intimate fourth stage, but they’re taking real advantage of it this year, headlining with alt-folk singer/songwriters, but also stocking it with today’s indie-comedy:

Day 1, November 7th

Destroyer, 8:45 PM

In the western Canadian super-group The New Pornographers (QRO live review), Dan Bejar has been called ‘the George Harrison’, thanks to his stripped, skilled alt-folk work in his own outfit, Destroyer, most recently in last year’s Trouble with Dreams.

Shearwater, 7:30 PM

Shearwater began as a side project by Jonathan Meiburg & Will Sheff (QRO photos) of Okkervil River (QRO live review), but Sheff has since departed for the River full-time, while Meiburg is now fully in the -water, most recently with last year’s Rook (QRO review).  After having to pull out of last year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest (QRO recap), the Austin outfit is hitting FFF hard this year.

Todd Barry, 6:30 PM

In the New York alternative music scene, there’s no more ubiquitous stand-up comic than Todd Barry.  The laid-back comedian has opened for Tapes n’ Tapes (QRO album review), been seen at CMJ (QRO recap), SXSW (QRO recap) & McCarren Park Pool Parties (QRO venue review), and is friends with/stand-up mentor to The Rosebuds’ (QRO spotlight on) Kelly Crisp (QRO interview).  He also guest-starred in the season one finale of Flight of the Conchords (QRO live review).  So he’ll fit right in at FFF…

Todd Barry
Brendan Walsh, 6:05 PM

Not the character from Beverly Hills, 90210 (the original – can you believe one has to say that?…), this Philly native moved to Austin and won the 19th annual “Funniest Person in Austin” contest in 2004.

Brendan Walsh
Dead Confederate, 5:05 PM

Athens, Georgia’s Dead Confederate have moved up from playing the pre-party last year (QRO 2008 preview) to getting to main event this year.  Too bad the southern hard rock on last year’s debut, Wrecking Ball (QRO review), isn’t anything special.

Dead Confederate
James Husband (of of Montreal), 4:05 PM

Before headlining the Orange Stage on Day Two (see above), of Montreal drummer James Husband (QRO photos) goes solo, playing his debut, A Parallax I.

James Husband
Chelsea Peretti, 3:30 PM
Altercation Comedy Tour, 2:30 PM
(QRO photos at FFF ’08)
The Onion Famewhore Contest Winner, 2:00 PM
Low Line Cellar, 1:15 PM
Moonlight Towers, 12:30 PM
Altercation Comedy Hour


Day 2, November 8th

The Whitest Kids U’ Know, 8:45 PM

Sketch comedy’s had its ups & downs, but The Whitest Kids U’ Know have survived the move from FUSE to IFC (lateral maybe in terms of reach, but certainly raised in terms of quality) and just aired their third season.  But if you run into Zack Cregger, ask him about seeing trying to crowd surf at Radiohead – QRO interview

The Whitest Kids 'U You
Brian Posehn, 8:00 PM

Your favorite ‘Comedian of Comedy’ and ‘gaybor’ on The Sarah Silverman Program (he was also on Just Shoot Me, but let’s put that aside…), the gargantuan Brian Posehn is one of the most reliable stand-up comics out there today.  At Fun Fun Fun, even if not on the Black Stage (see above), expect many metal jokes…

Brian Posehn
Josh Fadem, 7:40 PM
Hannibal Buress, 7:10 PM
The King Khan & BBQ Show, 6:15 PM
(QRO photos)
Strange Boys, 5:20 PM
Nick Thune, 4:40 PM
Harlem, 4:00 PM
Metallagher, 3:00 PM
Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm, 2:00 PM
Bankrupt & The Borrowers, 1:00 PM
New Movement Comedy Group, 12:30 PM
The King Khan & BBQ Show


Before & after Fun Fun Fun, Austin hosts three nights of ‘official pre-/post-parties’, with a bunch of locals (including some that play FFF ’08 proper – QRO recap) – just in case you somehow aren’t getting enough music:

Friday, November 6th:

Club Deville:
The Authors
Black Before Red
Beautiful Supermachines
The Low Lows

Mohawk (inside):Voxtrot
My Milkyway Arms
Silent Land Time Machine
Air Traffic Controllers
Watch Out for Rockets

Mohawk (outside):
Minor Mishap Marching Band
Distant Seconds
International Waters
TV Torso

Beauty Bar:
Totally Michael
Best Fwends
Missions (ex-clap clap)Octopus Project

Broken Gold
December Boys
Failure’s Union
Cheap Girls

Red 7:
Fu Manchu
It’s Casual

Saturday, November 7th:

Mohawk (outside):
Voxtrot (QRO photos at a festival)
Octopus Project (QRO photos at FFF ’08)
Twin Tigers (QRO photos)

Mohawk (inside):
The Coathangers
Jazzus Lizard (Jesus Lizard jazz tribute band)
Walter Schriefeld band

Red 7:
Negative Approach
Christ On Parade
Trash Talk
Naw Dude
You People

Club Deville:
Brownout! (QRO photos at FFF ’08)

Jack Oblivian
John Paul Keith & The 145s
Lovvers (QRO photos)

Sunday, November 8th:

Mohawk (outside)
And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead… (QRO photos at FFF ’08)
Dark Meat
An Albatross...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead

Mohawk (inside):
AU (QRO photos)
Free Moral Agents (featuring Ikey Owens of The Mars Volta)
Zechs Marquise (featuring Marcel Rodriguez Lopez of The Mars Volta)

Red 7:
Toys That Kill
the forgetters (Black Schwarzenbach of Jawbreaker, Kevin of Against Me!, Caroline of Bitchin’)
Ghost Knife

Easy Action
Black Tusk
Eagle Claw

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