The 2014 Fun Fun Fun Fest Survival Guide
"Hey Mom, yeah, we're just trying to figure out which shows to see at Fun Fun Fun Fest this weekend"
Fun Fun Fun Fest hits Austin hits this weekend, and for many of Texas' most devout music heads, it's the music festival of the year. That's because, unlike many of the nation's biggest fests that cannibalize lineups from one another and rarely deviate from the norm, Fun Fun Fun rewards its audience's eclecticism a truly well-curated roster of bands. Only at Fun Fun Fun can you see some of the best in hardcore punk, metal, indie rock, rap, electronica, and comedy in the same weekend.
But Fun Fun Fun Fest requires a game plan with three days of music spread across three distinct stages. To help make life easier for everyone heading south this weekend, we've put together a day-by-day, stage-by-stage guide of who to watch out for.
Pallbearer - 2:00 PM - From Arkansas is the critically acclaimed Pallbearer. Hot off the release of their newest album Foundations of Burden, which Pitchfork rated as Best New Music, Pallbearer returns to Fun Fun Fun Fest to play their brand of doom metal. If you like your metal slow and heavy as well as interesting, Pallbearer is worth your time.
Death From Above 1979 - 6:35 PM - The Canadian dance punk duo love Austin. Why wouldn't they? Every time they come to town, something cool happens. Most notably was their impromptu late night performance during SXSW a couple of years ago that led to a riot. The band has just released their second album, The Physical World, and is returning to Austin to celebrate (and hopefully cause some trouble).
Judas Priest - 8:10 PM - Legends. What other word can you use to describe the U.K.'s Judas Priest? The band are forerunners to the new wave of British heavy metal movement. The band's tumultuous inner-struggles would be the impetus for the Mark Wahlberg film Rock Star. After 45 years of activity, Judas Priest is still going strong, having just released their newest album (their 17th), Redeemer of Souls.
Blue Stage SZA - 2:15 PM - Kendrick Lamar's Top Dawg Entertainment boasts a dearth of talent, but the outfit's only female performer is SZA. The R&B singer has made quite a name for herself very quickly. After signing to TDE, she featured on many of the group's tracks until releasing her own EP, Z, this past spring. She has often drawn comparisons to Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill, comparisons that SZA is quick to dismiss. She is currently working on her debut album for TDE.
Run The Jewels - 4:15 PM - Rap is all about the heat an act can generate for themselves. These days there is no hotter act in the game than Killer Mike and El-P's Run The Jewels. Having only just dropped their newest album, Run The Jewels 2, on Mass Appeal a couple of weeks ago, the group is hitting Fun Fun Fun Fest with that rare mentality that an act has after just releasing an album.
Ginuwine - 5:15 PM - R&B legend and Parks and Rec guest star Ginuwine is coming to Fun Fun Fun Fest much to the delight of everyone. His track "Pony" has likely been used as the soundtrack for a lot of bad decisions and his voice is so smooth it borders on being described as "lubricant." If you're hitting the fest with a date, you better be hitting the blue stage to see Ginuwine.
2 Chainz - 8:55 PM - 2 Chainz aka Tity Boi has been the rap game's darling for years. Before he was "different," he was the Codeine Cowboy. To that effect, 2 Chainz must be excited to play Austin, Texas. After dropping his second album late last year, B.O.A.T.S II: Me Time, 2 Chainz dropped a mixtape, Freebase, in May. If you love Atlanta trap rap, don't miss 2 Chainz.
Mineral - 3:10 PM - Emo is back. Not the crappy kind of emo that made the 10 o'clock news, but legitimate "Nothing Feels Good" by Andy Greenwald emo. Mineral are considered one of the saddest bands in this archetypal sad genre. A fall day is a perfect time to listen to emo, so if you're into '90s indie rock or you're in a mood, head over to orange stage and catch Mineral.
Sun Kil Moon - 4:25 PM - Fun Fun Fun Fest might actively be gunning for their audience at orange stage on Friday. A bloc of '90s emo acts Knapsack into Mineral into acclaimed indie act Sun Kil Moon is dangerous. Sun Kil Moon won their following playing the sad and despondent brand of music that their previous project Red House Painters made a name for themselves with. If you're at Orange Stage on Friday afternoon, keep the demons at bay because Sun Kil Moon might try to lure them out.
Dinosaur Jr - 7:00 PM - J Mascis' Dinosaur Jr are an institution. Not a bad album to their name while playing some of the most interesting alternative rock out there. The band never fails to put on a good show and has shown no sign of slowing down after 27 years.
The orange stage at Fun Fun Fun in 2013
METZ - 3:00 PM - Sub Pop act METZ wear their influences on their sleeves. Even better is that all of their influences are cool as hell. Influenced from Dischord Records to '90s noise and alt rock, METZ play hard and loud. The band is playing on their 2012 self-titled debut album released on Sub Pop (read: the guys that put on for Nirvana way back). Check 'em out and take in sensibility by way of acoustic assault.
Iceage - 4:05 PM - Danish post-punk band Iceage have been going for a long time. When they dropped their first album, much of the band weren't even adults yet. Now, six years later, the band has released their third album, Plowing Into the Fields of Love, to a great deal of fanfare. The band is destined for great things. Check them out at black stage and say you saw them when.
King Diamond - 8:05 PM - Danish metal god King Diamond has been doing this for a long time. He was wearing corpse paint years before it ever became fashionable in Norway. He was already a genre icon for his work in Mercyful Fate before the formation of King Diamond. In King Diamond, the band is heavy metal with an extra emphasis on theatrics and concept. A King Diamond performance is a straight-up experience; if I had to pick one act that I will not miss under any circumstances this weekend, it is King Diamond.
ASTR - 1:10 PM - ASTR is a duo exploring the realm of electronic music in the vein of Italo-disco and pop music. If you're a couple that just had a fight the night before, check out ASTR and reconcile to help get your Saturday going the right way. The band is playing behind their Varsity EP.
Nas - 7:15 PM - Illmatic is immortal. For all that has been said about Biggie and Pac, so much more has been left unsaid about Nas. He is coming to Austin, Texas performing Illmatic in its entirety. This is a gift to audiences and it should not be wasted. If you even marginally claim to like rap, you need to be at blue stage for Nas' performance.
Girl Talk - 8:45 PM - The mash-up guru in the flesh. Girl Talk's brand of mash-up electronic music has been adored by fans for years. Girl Talk must love Fun Fun Fun Fest with the act returning after headlining orange stage in 2012. If you're feeling whatever drugs you're on by 9 o' clock, hit blue stage for a dance party to close out night two.
Courtney Barnett - 3:35 PM - Garage rock is a staple at Fun Fun Fun Fest. There's always at least a couple of acts there representing the genre. In Courtney Barnett, the fest is blessed with one of the best female-fronted garage rock bands in the game today. Barnett's music is the perfect soundtrack to hang out on a Saturday in Austin and to welcome the late afternoon.
The New Pornographers - 5:55 PM - 15 years for an indie rock band seems like a lifetime in this day and age. Canada's the New Pornographers hardly need an introduction. If you are at the fest for indie rock, or have always had a curiosity for the genre, you should be at this set and take in a performance from one of the genre's best in recent memory. The band released their new album Brill Bruisers last summer on Matador.
Modest Mouse - 8:30 PM - Modest Mouse helped to bring in an entire generation of kids to the indie rock persuasion. Having been active for over 20 years, Modest Mouse are a brand name, in both the mainstream and initiated music circles. The Lonesome Crowded West is one of the most beloved indie albums ever and indie rock fans often swear by Modest Mouse. A performance by them is not to be missed if indie rock is your forte.
Sorry guys, but that's not a stage. It's a van.
Pissed Jeans - 2:45 PM - Pissed Jeans are the finest noise-punk band of their generation. They rarely come to Texas so their performance at the fest is a coup for promoters. Their sound is abrasive, chaotic and controlled. Pissed Jeans knows exactly what they're doing. They are playing on their album Honeys, released last year on Sub Pop.
Deafheaven - 3:50 PM - Black Metal. Shoegaze. There have been so many terms to describe Deafheaven by their fans and their detractors. One thing that can be said for them is they are ambitious. Their latest album, Sunbather, made the best of 2013 lists for Spin, Pitchfork, Vice and other musical publications. Check them out and decide for yourself what you think about one of the most interesting projects in music today.
Rocket from the Crypt - 7:25 PM - Rocket from the Crypt might be one of the finest punk bands to come from San Diego in recent memory. Members of the band have been involved in beloved projects such as Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes. They are playing the fest after reuniting last year. Check them out as a nice warm-up before the headliners start on Sunday.
Cities Aviv - 12:10 PM - Based out of the rap mecca Memphis, Cities Aviv has quietly become one of the better producers in the game today. His style of production has been described as both eclectic and ambitious. Cities Aviv is sort of a microcosm for the whole fest as far as the scope of his music goes. He is performing on his newly released debut album, Come To Life. If you are just getting into Auditorium Shores on Sunday, hit the blue stage early to check him out.
Cashmere Cat - 3:00 PM - From Norway comes Cashmere Cat, the moniker of DJ Magnus Hoiberg. Having been active for a decade, Cashmere Cat has delighted audiences in the electronic world for years. His performance at Fun Fun Fun Fest will be a coming out party for the DJ who looks to win over new audiences. He released his newest EP, Wedding Bells, earlier this year and even featured on the Grand Theft Auto V soundtrack.
Freddie Gibbs and Madlib - 4:50 PM - Freddie "Gangsta" Gibbs is a hero in the rap world. The Gary, Indiana native has made a reputation has one of rap's toughest personalities and finest rappers. His collaboration with Madlib was years in the making and anticipated by everyone. Pinata, released this past spring, was hailed much of the music world as one of the best rap albums of the year. Check out Gibbs and Madlib at blue stage for some of today's best rap.
Angel Olsen - 2:30 PM - From the indie rock capital of North Carolina is Angel Olsen. In touch with '90s folk and indie rock, Olsen plays a style of the genre that has earned her much acclaim through the music world. After tearing it up for years with smaller releases, Olsen released her album Burn Your Fire for No Witness this past February on Jagjaguwar. This girl will be a star in indie music in the years to come, don't miss out.
Failure - 7:10 PM - '90s alt rock has been one of the passions of Fun Fun Fun Fest for years. The fest had legends Hum play a few years ago, so of course when Failure reunited they couldn't resist booking them. Failure is one of the most beloved '90s alt rock band with their albums Magnified and Fantastic Planet held up as two of the genre's finest releases. If your day is winding down and you want something loud before the fest ends, check out orange stage when Failure goes on.
Neutral Milk Hotel - 8:30 PM - Indie band Neutral Milk Hotel is another recently reunited band that Fun Fun Fun Fest snapped up to play for this year's edition. The band is like no other indie band: Their odd lyricism, experimental sound and versatile use of instrumentation has made their status within the music world unique. There are no other acts like Neutral Milk Hotel. Moreover, their music influenced a generation of bands that tried to sound like them. At Fun Fun Fun Fest you get to see legends take the stage every night. To close out orange stage on Sunday is an indie rock legend.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Dallas, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.