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FFF Fest Day 2 Recap: M.I.A., Television and More

November 10, 2013
M.I.A. at Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013 (photo by Jaime Monzon)

M.I.A. at Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013 (photo by Jaime Monzon)

Day 2 of Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013 featured Twinkies, 13-year-old metalheads and epic sound issues. For a city that probably has no need for a festival beyond already massive SXSW and ACL Fests, FFFF always made a case for itself simply by aspiring to a higher level. The lineup is diverse and music geek-centric, shows run on time, celebrities stop in, as they did in 2011…

…and do crazy shit, as they did in 2012…

…and a spirit of good vibes—be they chemically induced or otherwise—seems to always pervade each year. Cracks started to show in this eighth edition with Day 1 falling victim to scheduling setbacks and some terrible sound issues. But with a Saturday lineup anchored by M.I.A., the Descendants, Television and Ice T, surely there was plenty of opportunity for a turnaround.

I opted to be one of the 50 or so people there at opening at 11:30 a.m., a ghost town considering the expansive Auditorium Shores grounds. Luckily, I was rewarded at the gate with all-I-could-eat free Twinkies (which have probably comprised half of my caloric intake for the past two days) and with a fantastic performance by Austin locals Frank Smith. Yes it’s a terrible band name, but their Wilco-inflected Americana made for a fine primer for the day.

On the strong urging of a friend, who sold me immediately with the pitch “13-year-old black kids playing heavy metal,” I then trekked down to the Black stage for Unlocking the Truth. They were exactly as advertised, though surprisingly more brutal and technically proficient than I’d have suspected of middle-schoolers.

From there I wandered through a haze of reverb-laden indie pop courtesy of Bleached and Merchandise, both ’80s-obsessed acts that are custom-crafted for mid-day festival sets.

It took Japan’s Melt Banana to rudely break up the dreamy haze. Having come up with the Boredoms and Boris back in the early ’90s, there are few more worthy vanguards of noise-rock than Melt Banana. True to form, they were blisteringly loud, spastic and mesmerizing, an aural fuck-you to no one in particular. Unfortunately they were at half-strength, their whole rhythm section replaced for the set by laptop. Luckily the band packs enough frantic energy in two of its members than most bands have in a dozen, so this hardly quelled the frenzied, moshing crowd. Here is Melt Banana in four-piece form.

Go to the next page to see FFFF videos of Television and M.I.A. and a Deerhunter review.

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