Recommendations for a Fun Fun Fun Weekend


Two weekends of ACL have come and gone, SXSW is but a distant memory, and the chill of fall is in the air around Austin, TX. This can mean only one thing: it’s time for FunFunFun Fest. Named for a song by one of Austin’s few hardcore punk bands from the early days of the movement, Big Boys, FunFunFun Fest is like ACL’s punky kid brother complete with piercings, tattoos, and attitude. Featuring four stages and slew of after hours engagements, FunFunFun Fest is a place where indie, punk, mainstream, and more meet and make beautiful music.

For me FunFunFun Fest is often a chance to catch larger, but still marginal acts that rarely swing through Austin, as well as whatever reunited bands have decided to hit the festival circuit that year. Last year saw an abundance of excellent hardcore and emo reunions in the likes of Braid, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Refused. This year the Fest is reaching a bit further back to the heyday of hardcore and serving up Flag (featuring former members of Black Flag, including pre-Rollins vocalist Dez Cadena) and The Descendants, both influential acts from hardcore punk’s first wave. That’s just a taste of what to expect, however, so I’m going let you know who I think you should check out this weekend.


Starting off with the Black Stage, FunFunFun’s destination for metal, punk, and aggressive music of every stripe, there are a number of better known acts for the taking this year. Highlights include Ceremony, a hardcore band that’s garnered a more mainstream following of late and Thee Oh Sees of the more stripped down, garage style of punk. Heavy post rockers Pelican will be playing Saturday, but The Descendants‘ closing act will likely steal the show. Friday seems to be the big night though with the aforementioned Flag closing out the night. Before them however my number one pick of the on the Black Stage, Quicksand will be playing. Having played only a few shows since reuniting last year, Quicksand are a very 90’s kind of punk band. With their heavy, distorted delivery and front man Walter Schreifels’ raspy vocals, their music forms a bridge of sorts between hardcore and grunge in a way that the likes of Nirvana never even touched. To my knowledge, this is the first show they’ve played in Texas since getting back together and I’m excited to see them.


The Blue Stage is where you’ll find all your bleeps, bloops, dropped beats, dubbed steps, twists, tweaks, and twerks. Big Freedia is sure to get more than just his own butt moving on Friday, but count on RJD2 to offer up hip-hop beats in style to close the night. The rest of the weekend is frankly full of people I have never (or barely) heard of, with the notable exception of one Ice-T, of whom I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m sure will be worth catching.


Over on the Orange Stage you’ve got anything and everything that could possibly fall into the “indie” category and then some. This year, with the likes of MGMT, Snoop Dog (Lion?), M.I.A. and Slayer, there’s a lot more “and then some.” Saturday’s lineup feature’s Television, the band that all mainstream music reviewers got together and decided had been the major influence for The Arcade Fire generation of musicians despite no one ever having heard of them before. They’ll likely be playing from their seminal album Marquee Moon, which I’ll admit was actually quite a bit ahead of it’s time in the 70’s and not a bad listen. Sunday will see Texas’s own Polyphonic Spree play what is likely to be a lively set, but it’s The Dismemberment Plan that I’m looking forward to on this stage. Part of the late 90’s/early 00’s DC music scene, The Plan play an alarmingly catchy brand of post punk-indie rock, with influences that run the gamut from punk to jazz and back again. Front man Travis Morrison is a lyricist beyond compare among his peers and spits contorted, but thoughtful lines like they’re second nature. The Dismemberment Plan have been reunited and playing shows together here and there for a few years now and I’m still kicking myself for missing their reunion debut back when I was still living in the DC area. Now I finally have my chance to see them live and I’m really looking forward to it, even if their new album is rather disappointing.

Last but certainly not least is the Yellow Stage, where you’ll find everything from hot dog eating contests, to air sex, to poetry, comedy, and beyond! There are a ton of great acts here all weekend long, and if you’re not excited about Patton Oswalt, Tenacious D, and Sarah Silverman then you’re crazy.

All told, my personal schedule for FunFunFun is a little light compared to last year, but the caliber of the acts I’ll be checking out pretty much makes up for it. With the weather looking like it’s going to stay clear and cool all weekend, I really can’t ask for much more. For those of you heading to the Fest this weekend, I’ll see you down at Auditorium Shores.


– Brian Audette