The Descendents Ascend And Polvo Pulverize To Cap The Festival Weekend
Polvo Sunday, November 7, at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin.
I kept repeatedly asking myself the same question on Sunday: "Why can't Dallas do something like this?"
Seriously: It's high time Dallas music fans let their Austin friends couch-surf for a change -- we certainly owe them for all the times we've drank their beer, smoked their pot, eaten their cereal and tracked festival grime all over their carpets for fests like Austin City Limits, South By Southwest and this, the coolest of them all, Fun Fun Fun.
Of course, the question was repeated with considerably more frustration as I maneuvered onto Interstate 35 with a long, dull ride home ahead of me.
Best Coast aren't the most interesting of the recent wave of garage-pop girl groups -- Vivian Girls, from which Best Coast drummer Ali Koehler originates, and Dum Dum Girls are far more intriguing with their more psychedelic offerings. But lovesick boy-crazy Crazy For You songs like "When I'm With You" are still great nuggets of pop, even if the lo-fi jangly delivery started to get samey in the festival setting.
"Y'all know my homie Astronautalis?" asked Doomtree Collective indie-rock rapper to an impressive roar of recognition. "He said this is the best festival there is." Astronautalis must have drawn the conclusion when he performed on the same stage as his like-minded non-traditional MC the previous year. P.O.S.'s set, which showed that it is possible to meld rap and rock without dreadfully limp, corny results, was just one reason that may be true.
Contrary to what the mix would have you believe during the beginning of their set, legendary noise-rockers Polvo are not an instrumental band. With such tight, precisely off-kilter riffs exploding from jagged, delicate guitar melodies and head-spinningly complex rhythms, they could pull it off--even after the 10-year layoff before the band's 2008 reunion.
Bradford Cox and company's noisy yet melodic shoegaze was about, oh, 20 times more interesting than the vacant gaze and cheerleader clapping of Washed Out's overlapping Blue Stage set. "It's warmer today than it was yesterday...and that's all I have to say about that. Goodnight!" said the adorably awkward Cox in just about the only stage banter of the night, as if his band's brainy-yet-raw rock was all the eloquence needed. (And, fortunately, the Austin set wasn't plagued with an inattentive soundman, as their Friday Dallas show with Best Coast apparently was.)
The Hold Steady
Craig Finn seemed to be in full nostalgia mode, letting his band jam classic-rock style for long segments on "Southtown Girls" and "Your Little Hoodrat Friend." Maybe it was the chance to see The Descendents again--23 years after what was supposed to be the band's last tour, as he explained in a gushing "thank you" moment--that got him feeling that way.
As furious as the punk legends' tracks may be on record, personal girl-trouble songs like "Clean Sheets," the hornball lechery of "Pervert" and anthemic suburban wastoid rallying cries like "Suburban Home," "I'm Not A Loser" and "Everything Sucks" sound so much more powerful with thousands of people shouting along. They may not be as well-known as their pop-punk spawn like Green Day and Blink 182, but the rabid reaction to their live set was evidence enough of the band's importance in music history.
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