The eighth annual Fun Fun Fun Fest returns to its Auditorium Shores home in less than two weeks, bringing with it three full days of music, comedy and general weirdness. And while the festival has its fair share of easy-to-hook headliners — including a visit from Snoop Dogg and the return of Slayer — what we appreciate about it most is its true diversity in programming, color-coded stages, approachable attitude and love of all things odd.
Ahead of the festival, we're take a look at the "softer" side of Fun Fun Fun Fest, highlighting six bands playing the Orange Stage. No headliners here, just solid acts worth exploring during what will almost certainly be a fun weekend.
If you have the luxury of hitting the festival before the workweek officially ends, take the noon hour to groove with The Tontons as they open up the Orange Stage shows. We fell for these soulful neighbors from Houston at SXSW 2012, and the band’s fresh vibe has put them on our festival radar for good. The Tontons' inherent soul, paired with the bewitching voice of frontwoman Asli Omar, will start your fun weekend on a fresh foot.
Friday, November 8, 12:35 pm
A former member of indie icon The War on Drugs, Kurt Vile packs sentiment just as potent as a solo artist. His catalog is a treasure trove of pared down tunes with an approachable indie aesthetic that ranges from droning, emotional pieces to lighthearted pick-me-ups. 2013’s aptly titled Walkin’ on a Pretty Daze will have you doing just that: settling into an easygoing, feel-good festival mindset.
Austin-based rock band Frank Smith propelled itself to new heights with an impressive SXSW showing earlier this year. The band’s album Nineties is a pretty throwback to melodic indie rock with sexy hooks that beg for another listen. Reconnect with a softer side of rock without wandering into trite territory: you'll find no overused phrasing or gimmicks here.
Chelsea Light Moving
They're relative newcomers to the scene, but Chelsea Light Moving’s roots run deep. The band’s founder and frontman is none other than Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, and this new project is driven by his unwavering interest in the counterculture movements of the '60s and '70s. But Chelsea Light Moving doesn’t take a Dylanesque approach to its sound: the band melds raw instrumentation with grungy punk overtones hearkening back to the heyday of Iggy Pop.
Poppy punk, punky pop — that's the easiest way to define this Buffalo, New York, based trio. Listening to Lemuria will transport you back to the height of the pop-punk dynasty. Led by Sheena Ozzella's sugary vocals and accentuated by heavy punk instrumentation, Lemuria captures a place where sweetness and edge coexist in true harmony.
The Polyphonic Spree
Hailing from Dallas, The Polyphonic Spree rose from the ashes of Tripping Daisy in 2000, and the choir has been spreading its sound for more than a decade. Steeped in the experimental and the psychedelic, the two-dozen-member Spree channels '60s nostalgia into its ethereal live performance.
Bonus: Taco Cannon
We would be remiss to provide a festival guide without a mention of the Taco Cannon. The famed provider of free delectable bites will be onsite all weekend, but it will close out Fun Fun Fun with two Orange Stage appearances on the fest's Sunday at 2 pm and 4:10 pm. So go get you some Tamale House tacos (save the Torchy’s for after the festival).