Festival unites music fans of all tastes, age groups

There were UT and high school students, concert veterans and children throwing rock horns from parents’ shoulders, head-banging metal heads and swaying dream-pop dancers. A wide assortment of people from the Austin community filled Waterloo Park for Fun Fun Fun Fest over the weekend.

Although rising ticket prices were a concern, Fun Fun Fun Fest remains the most affordable and most local of “The Big Three,” which includes Austin City Limits Music Festival and South By Southwest. The festival also has a personality of its own with a high-quality lineup of independent bands, hip-hop and electronic artists and the black stage where many of the punk, hard rock and metal bands play.

“Weird Al” Yankovic kicked off the two-day, three-night festival with a party Friday night. On Saturday, Os Mutantes took the audience to a mythical land of Portugese-speaking gypsies. Tim Kinsella of Cap’n Jazz blasted musical lines through a French horn, though he held it like a war horn, and leaped into the crowd. Delorean, a dreamy dance band from Barcelona, made an evening in November feel like a smooth, summertime evening again.

GWAR didn’t disappoint in the theatrics, performing in monster costumes of their stage personas, making political digs, disemboweling a Sarah Palin figure, spraying the crowd with fake blood and singing about beastiality.

MGMT, RJD2 and Bad Religion ended the night with psychedelic indie rock crooning, electro-hip-hop and punk rock nostalgia — a fine representation of the festival’s character.
Sunday began with local band Mother Falcon. With between 10 to 20 members on guitar, orchestra instruments and accordion, Mother Falcon presents a different show each time depending on which members play.

During the evening, Best Coast brought their California charm. Their songs — short, sweet and straightforward — could cause anyone to reminisce about a summer fling, first love or high school crush. Front woman Bethany Cosentino won trinkets of adoration from the audience, namely a cigarette, a lighter and a pair of sunglasses to replace her own pair that she tossed in the crowd.

As Best Coast was ending, hip-hop artist P.O.S. had the audience’s hands raised in the air and waving to the beats. An energetic and down-to-earth performer, the man knows how to talk to an audience. He even stepped down in the area between the stage and the barricade to get on their level. P.O.S. also puts an interesting twist to hip-hop, rapping to rock melodies.

Later on the same stage, French band Yelle sparked a frenetic dance party. Even if the majority of the audience didn’t understand French, her electrifying stage presence made up for it. “We are in a jungle and you are the monkey,” she said in English as the audience echoed her monkey sounds. Monkeys never sounded so musical.
The Descendents, A-Trak and Mastodon wrapped up the finale of Fun Fun Fun Fest, each bringing their different styles to the table.

Fun Fun Fun Fest gives Austin another brag-worthy festival that boasts of varied genres, rising talent and a very local vibe. Until next November.