Louder Than A Bomb
Fun Fun Fun Fest 2011 announced: Five must-see picks
Through a savvy mix of nautical videos, Turntable.fm sets, and tweets, Transmission Entertainment has slowly brought 2011’s Fun Fun Fun Fest lineup into the welcoming arms of eager music nerds – many of whom bought tickets before they knew who’d be playing. For those who haven’t attended in past years, FFF has gradually become a fall counterpoint to the more mainstream Austin City Limits Music Festival: while both feature plenty of indie rock, FFF delves a lot deeper into genre culture, with punk, metal, comedy, old-school hip-hop and DJ’s featured prominently. The move to a larger venue (Auditorium Shores) and the addition of a third day have upped the ante considerably for this year’s lineup, as increased ticket revenue has let event producers Transmission go after some talent that might not have been possible in previous years. While the full line-up is available here, we list five highlights of the festival below as a reminder to purchase tickets soon – an ACL-esque early sellout is expected, so don’t dither.
Rap: Public Enemy – If rap were rock, Public Enemy would be The Clash. There are a lot of influential hip-hop acts, but none of them best PE. Part of Rick Rubin’s Def Jam assault that also included The Beastie Boys and LL Cool J, the trio of Chuck D, Terminator X, and Flavor Flav mixed innovative production, socially conscious lyrics, incendiary calls to action, and black pride in a way never as fully realized before or since. In 1988, the group released It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, which some feel is the greatest rap album of all time. Songs like “Don’t Believe The Hype”, “ Bring The Noise”, and “Fight The Power” sound every bit as good today as they did 20 years ago, and make you wonder why so much of popular hip-hop culture has turned a blind eye to social commentary in the interim. A must-see.
Indie Pop: Lykke Li – Indie culture loves Sweden, and Lykke Li has moved from ‘next big thing’ to ‘big thing’ very quickly. 2011’s excellent Wounded Rhymes saw Li switch from passive to aggressive, with big drum sounds from Björn Yttling of Peter, Bjorn, and John, sultry and attention-grabbing shaman music videos, and a mildly edgy aesthetic that knocks some sheen off of what is essentially pretty and well-crafted pop music. It’s a great record, especially for those fond of Phil Spector, who seems to be a primary influence. Kanye West and Drake are big fans, as are Levi’s, who have used her as a model for their custom jean collection. We’re guessing this is the only FFF artist who was covered on "Glee" this year – unless we missed the Danzig episode.
Death Metal: Slayer – Along with Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax, Slayer are a lynchpin in the “Big Four” of ‘80’s thrash metal. They are also unquestionably the most polarizing, as the group’s repeated and insistent lyrical focus on evil, Satan, war, and death aren’t exactly “Enter Sandman.” The musicianship is outstanding – great guitar solos, loud and precise thrashing double-bass drumming - it’s all there. FFF fans will probably hope for a lot of material from the Rick Rubin-produced Reign In Blood, but the band have a deep catalog to draw from. This will be the loudest set at the festival, and the scariest, unless you’re counting Odd Future.
Indie Rock: HUM – Though they’re best known for their lone 1995 pop hit “Stars,” Champaign, IL’s HUM meant a lot more than that to many mid-‘90’s indie music fans, who saw the band as a classic part of the lineage of shoegaze and space-rock pioneered by My Bloody Valentine and Galaxie 500. Another obvious reference point is Dinosaur Jr., especially in the chunky riff-based guitar playing and droning happening throughout their classic You’d Prefer An Astronaut. While HUM haven’t released a new record since 1998, they’ve resurfaced for one-off shows on rare occasions. This is a rare chance to hear a noisy and underappreciated talent, and another feather in the ‘surprise reunion’ cap that FFF always pulls off each year.
Rap: Rakim – If Public Enemy are the best hip-hop act ever, Rakim might well be the best MC. The guy’s flow is so smooth, he made mincemeat of many of his contemporaries and set the bar far higher for all MC’s to come. Rakim rarely swore on classics like “I Ain’t No Joke” and “Don’t Sweat The Technique,” yet still comes across as confident, hardcore, and ahead of his time. This stage will be a dance party for some and a worship session for others – the master will show the festival how hip-hop is done.
Tickets to Fun Fun Fun Fest are on sale now for $110 (students) to $135 (general public). The event takes place November 4th-6th at Auditorium Shores in 78704.