Fun Fun Fun Fest – The Blue Stage

Love Inks

Unlike Brian, who wrote the preview for the Black Stage at Fun Fun Fun Fest that appeared on our site earlier today, I clock in at a spry 27. That’s one of the reasons I am writing about the Blue Stage; the other is the transformative experience I had at ACL this year, when my favorite acts were all hip-hop or electro-based. Crystal Castles, M83, Die Antwoord and Bassnectar were my favorite experiences of the festival (even though I was only familiar with one of their catalogues prior to ACL), and they would all be considered Blue Stage acts at FFFFest. So, with excitement, I present you with The Blue Stage Preview.

First up, are the local acts. Early on, you’ll be able to catch Love Inks (Sat at 12:00p) and their sensual, mellow, beat-inflected pop-rock. It should be a good warm-up to the festival vibe. The same goes for the local chill dance act Orthy (Fri at 12:30p), who I learned about earlier this year and whose music has been infecting my eardrums ever since. Feathers (Sun at 12:35p) is Austin-via-New York and 10YR (Fri at 11:55a) is a newer act from some Austin stalwarts, and both of their sounds will remain a mystery to me until I catch them onstage here. The major Austin representation on the Blue Stage is The Octopus Project (Sun at 5:20p). I caught these guys opening for Passion Pit at the Backyard in September and while they put on a great show, they confused most of the audience who was there for a more straight-forward dance-pop sound. They are definitely more challenging and artsy, creating instrumental music that you can alternately dance or rock out to that is also quite musically challenging. Catch them if you want to stimulate your body and your mind.

Now, if hip-hop is your jam, FFFFest has you covered. There are the old-school stars in Run-D.M.C. (on the Orange Stage, so I’ll let Dan cover that), Rakim (Sun at 6:10p), and De La Soul (Sun at 7:55p). Rakim is one of the best MC’s of all time, whose 1987 Paid in Full album with Eric B stands as a watershed moment in hip-hop history. He has continued to release new material that updates his old-school style without copping to contemporary fads. De La Soul is part of what may be the hardest decision of the festival (Fucked Up vs. De La Soul vs. Atlas Sound vs. Explosions in the Sky), and they are one of the all-time great hip-hop groups. Three Feet High and Rising from 1989 is a seminal record for both its innovative use of samples and its early integration of a more hippie-ish perspective with the hardness of hip-hop.

On the other side of the spectrum is one of the members of the contemporary Black Hippy movement – Schoolboy Q (Sat at 5:30p). His album Habits & Contradictions came out to great acclaim earlier this year, and its best song, “Hands on the Wheel,” features a guest verse from A$AP Rocky (Sat at 8:45p), whose stoned verses have helped him carve out an original sound. Taken with the absolutely insane Danny Brown (Sat at 7p) means that Saturday at FFF Fest presents some of the best in contemporary alt-hip-hop.

Oh, and caught in between these two camps is Bun B (Fri at 7:55p) – Houston rap legend and former member of UGK. So, yeah. The hip-hop here rules.

If that’s not your thing, however, there’s all of the electro artists on the Blue Stage. On the rockier side of things, you absolutely have to check out Los Angeles’ American Royalty (Sun at 11:50a), who combine electro elements with a more traditional indie rock feel into an electrifying whole. Similarly, Tanlines (Sat at 4:45p) will be really friendly to rock fans who like a bit of dance in their music. I saw them at SXSW at ND Studios and had a total blast. Australia’s Gold Fields (Sat at 1:10p) have a sort of Friendly Fires-ish vibe to them that highlights that dance/rock hybrid that many Orange Stage fans should find appealing. Finally, the biggest band of this type at the festival is STRFKR (Sat at 7:50p), who you should totally have on your list if you like Passion Pit or early MGMT.

Just go see Icona Pop (Fri at 1:50p) and thank me later.

Say, though, that you’re looking for a more DJ-oriented experience, I have to recommend the mellow beats of AraabMuzik (Sun at 7:05p), who could be like a cross between Love Inks and Schoolboy Q in DJ form. The house music of Etienne De Crecy (Sun at 8:50p), a classic artist of the genre, is also sure to deliver a great experience during his night time set. But the king of kings here, as far as I’m concerned is Girl Talk (Sat at 8:50p). I’ve been to four Girl Talk shows and it’s always a thrilling experience. The way he weaves fun and familiar material in fresh ways will be the perfect centerpiece for the weekend.


Editor’s Recommended Nites Shows for fans of the Blue Stage:
Fri @ Red 7 Indoors – featuring Penguin Prison, Icona Pop, American Royalty and a DJ set from Bob Mould
Sat @ Elysium – featuring Trust, Onuinu, and a DJ set from Tanlines
Sat @ ND – featuring Nite Jewel, A.dD+, Kreayshawn and a DJ set from Franki Chan
Sun @ Mohawk – Indoor – featuring Class Actress and Belaire