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Track of the Day: Mother Falcon – Fireflies

23 Nov

I shot this and a few other songs by Mother Falcon when they were preparing for their appearance at Austin’s Fun Fun Fun fest. Needless to say, I instantly fell in love with the band. Look for them to be in the area soon, on tour  for their upcoming full length.

Video: Best Coast – Boyfriend (Shot backstage @ FFF fest)

19 Nov

Found this on my phone, seems I was really into the lighting backstage, hope you enjoy.

Sunday Morning Afternoon Coming Down: Breakfast with RJD2

14 Nov

By Jesseca Bagherpour

Preface: I was supposed to speak to RJD2 after his Fun Fun Fun Fest set on Saturday night. But my fate was not in my own hands, as I didn’t have my own car and everyone I was there with was ready to go immediately after the music stopped. As we were leaving Waterloo Park, he was just beginning to break down the stage, which is no short task due to his extensive DJ equipment. With a heavy heart, I decided to accept that it wasn’t going to happen.

Then, as we were merging onto I-35, heading for South Austin, I got a text message from RJ (not because we’re pals, but because I had sent him a message earlier in the evening). He asked if I was still up for an interview, and when I told him I’d already left he immediately offered to meet me for breakfast, even though he had to be ready by 10:15 for a flight back home to Philly. That was my first indication of how friendly and personable he is.

RJD2, aka Ramble John Krohn, has been a DJ for 17 years with a solo recording career that has lasted for eight. His songs have appeared in so many movies, commercials and TV shows that a complete list would be overwhelming, although I can say without a doubt that Mad Men is my favorite.

He has produced records for several noteworthy rappers, including Copywrite, DOOM and Aceyalone. And he recently established a label, RJ’s Electrical Connections, on which he re-released a handful of his albums, mixes and EPs as well as releasing his latest album, The Colossus. Did I mention that he’s also his own tour manager? The man is busy.

Despite his hectic schedule and a late night playing at Fun Fun Fun Fest, RJ sat down with me last Sunday at Austin’s Kerbey Lane, on Guadalupe, to eat some tacos and chat.  Continue reading

Jesseca’s Fun Fun Fun Fest Recap

12 Nov


Fun Fun Fun Fest is always a crazy time, and this year was no exception. In fact, it was crazier in some regards this year than last year. I found myself running around like a mad woman trying to see all the bands I wanted to and getting interviews, as well as spending time with my friends who didn’t have backstage access (and others who weren’t at the fest). This year’s recap is a lot more succinct than last year’s. I’ve listed the bands (and novelty acts) I saw and a brief (or not so brief) take on their performance.

Friday

The Apples in Stereo

The set was very short, which may have been why it also seemed to lack a lot of heart and power. Rob said they were all here from another planet to rock us, but it didn’t feel that way. This was my first time seeing them and I’d been waiting for a while, so I was utterly disappointed.

Chris Hardwick

I was also looking forward to seeing Chris Hardwick, but he kind of bombed. He wasn’t getting a lot of audience feedback, which probably affected his performance. He also went for too much crude, cheap humor (which means a lot coming from me). Seriously, I love a good dick joke as much as the next guy. But tossing around the word “dick” does not automatically make a joke funny.

Weird Al

This was one of the most exciting performances of the fest, and one of the best I’ve ever seen. And as much fun as I thought it would be to see Weird Al, I didn’t realize how captivating it would be. There were times when I thought I couldn’t take any more Weird Al, but he always reeled me back in. He is a true showman who went through more songs and costume changes than any band I’ve seen. As I said after his set, since James Brown died Weird Al is the hardest working man in showbusiness.

Saturday

Devin the Dude

Devin was going before I made it in to the fest because of a late night and subsequent late lunch and arrival. But I could hear him from the street, and what I heard was awesome. I wish I’d seen his set.

Anarchy Championship Wrestling

My boyfriend made me go to this. I felt like I lost several IQ points after I watched about 15 minutes of it. But I can still see the appeal, I guess. I think it’s supposed to be a way for hipsters and punks to “ironically” enjoy wrestling.

Slick Rick

I have to say, Slick Rick seemed to have just come to the fest for a paycheck. The set (or what I could stand to watch of it) felt like watching a bad Slick Rick impersonator. He didn’t even slide on his eye patch until right before he got on stage. But he was wearing about 500 lbs. of bling and it was still pretty cool to be in his presence.

Ariel Pink

I feel awful for not catching Ariel Pink’s entire set. I was restless at this point and only caught a few songs. What I heard was pretty solid, and I was told later that this was one of his best live sets. I’m going to have to finally catch him live when he comes back to DFW because after hearing his latest album and talking to him for a few minutes, I’m now a fan.

Monotonix

I can’t really say I “saw” this band because they were surrounded by a throng of people during their entire set. But what I heard was spectacular, even if it did sort of sound like one long song. And the lead singer is a total mental case (in the best possible sense).

Os Mutantes

This was hands down the best performance of the fest. Even though the band has a different configuration from the original (which is understandable since they disbanded in 1978 and didn’t play again until 2006), the songs still sound just as beautiful and tight as before. And Sergio Dias is one of the most joyful front men I’ve had the privilege of seeing live. As one of my friends said, it was like seeing The Beatles live. It was a truly mind blowing experience.

Big Freedia

As fun of an entertainer as “The Queen of New Orleans bounce” is, I can only watch so many people bounce their asses in front of me before I have to walk away.

The Dwarves

This band was every bit as kickass as I thought they would be. They’re raw but technically tight and lead singer Blag Dahlia was every bit as perverted as I expected. Sadly, HeWhoCannotBeNamed was not nude with a lucha libre mask on nor was he even donning a jockstrap. Instead, they brought out a chick in a bikini and mask saying he had gotten a sex change. It was a bit of a cop-out, but maybe Transmission requested that they tame down their act.

Delorean

Typical hipster fare. I only stayed for half a song. I can see how it’s fun to dance to, but I had to move on.

Man Man

Jaime is crazy about Man Man, and now I know why. I didn’t catch the full set, but what I heard was pretty awesome.

Gwar

Gwar is basically a novelty act–grown men in costumes spewing fake blood and pus. But they are technically gifted and I have no problem with good, loud punk. But Dirty Projectors were playing at the same time so I only caught part of one song before I had to leave for the other, superior band.

Dirty Projectors

This was my first time seeing Dirty Projectors after being a fan for years now (ever since a close friend gave me a mixtape including one of their full albums on one side) and they did not disappoint. Dave Longstreth’s vocals and guitar skills are inspiring, and Amber, Angel and Haley were like three beautiful sirens. I was entranced by this set more than any other.

MGMT

Before Congratulations came out, I don’t think I respected MGMT enough as artists. But after hearing that album and now having seen them perform live, I get it. Their lyrics and music are mature and thought out, as well as just plain cool. And they have a knack for paying homage to the legendary musicians who influence them without sounding derivative. They’re also easy on the eyes, which doesn’t hurt …

RJD2

I knew I had to catch this set because I have missed RJ every time he’s in DFW and because I was supposed to interview him after (I ended up interviewing him the next morning, and I will post that interview on Sunday). RJ understands the importance of putting on an interesting show during a DJ set and he did just that. His music is great enough to stand on its own, but he enhances it with what he calls “parlor tricks” (i.e. playing the Donkey Kong theme while wearing Mario and Donkey Kong hand puppets) and film playing on a projector screen.

Bad Religion

Apparently Bad Religion had some sound issues early in their set, but by the time I caught them everything was fixed. As my brother mentioned before, Saturday marked their 30th Anniversary. I wish all bands could be so tight and sound so fresh after three solid decades.

Sunday

Jean Grae

I almost missed Jean Grae’s set because we were running later than usual, but luckily so was she. She had just started as I was walking towards the media entrance. While the set started off strong, upholding her reputation as a great female MC, it sort of petered out halfway through so I left to go find my cohorts. (It still beat seeing Slick Rick though.)

Best Coast

I don’t want to waste too much time talking about Best Coast because they are completely uninteresting live, mostly thanks to lead singer Bethany Cosentino (along with lazily written material). I thought I liked this band, but after what seemed like a 30-minute sound check and then a dull start I changed my mind.

The Bronx

I quickly abandoned Best Coast for The Bronx and I didn’t regret it. Powerful, loud punk was the perfect antidote to generic, anemic, “grunge” drivel.

Polvo

Although they’re part of one of my favorite labels, I’d never heard of Polvo before. I gave them a listen before the fest and I liked what I heard. However, their music seems better suited for listening at home and while driving than live. While they played each song perfectly, their performance lacked a little something and it made me lose interest.

Deerhunter

Like Polvo, Deerhunter sounds amazing on recordings. They are stellar musicians and I don’t want to knock them in any way. But, as I told a couple of friends, their music seems better suited to lying in bed and zoning out. Watching them live made me restless and ready for The Hold Steady. And I don’t even like The Hold Steady.

High on Fire

I didn’t hear even a full song by this metal act, but what I could hear from the yellow stage was killer. And wandering back to listen to them for a few seconds at a time helped me stay awake during Deerhunter’s set.

Alamo Drafthouse Air Sex Contest

This was sad and creepy. The intro from host Terp2it was confusing and nauseating. And the only competitors I caught were guys on stage alone doing things that most women would not find appealing.

The Hold Steady

I have never liked The Hold Steady. It’s not that I think they’re bad. I recognize that they’re good musicians. But something about their bar rock sound and “Party!” attitude bugs me. But I decided to give them a shot, since so many people I know are crazy about them. “Wait until you see them live”, they said. Well, I saw them live. And I still don’t like them. As Nic (aka my older brother) already mentioned, I kept calling them dad rock. And that’s mostly due to lead singer Craig Finn. He looks like someone’s nerdy dad/science teacher. And his mannerisms annoy the shit out of me. As a fan of GBV (a much older band that loves drinking and partying and has a former teacher as lead singer), it seems hypocritical of me to hate The Hold Steady for the reasons I mentioned. But I don’t care.

Suicidal Tendencies

This band kicked the piss out of The Hold Steady, and I knew they would. Their guitar skills almost literally made my mind explode. And they had almost too much raw power and testosterone for me to take. But, alas, after a while their songs felt repetitive and Mike Muir got a little too talk-y (well, I guess it was scream-y) and I had to walk away.

The Descendents

This was definitely the highlight of the night for me. I wish I had been 15 when The Descendents first hit the punk scene (rather than … not being born), when I got into them, or even when I saw them at the fest. I think the show would have had more of an impact on me. As it was, I could appreciate their music and the fact that, after taking a six-year hiatus, they played like they had never stopped. They even compelled me to mosh … for about five minutes … then I got claustrophobic and had to escape the smelly, sweaty throng.

Mastadon

I had no idea what to expect from this band, but they managed to draw my attention away from The Descendents (partially because they were so damn loud that I could almost hear them from the orange stage, where the other band was playing). These guys are some of the most brilliant musicians I’ve ever witnessed, and they move between various genres without even blinking. Most of what I heard Sunday was bone-crushing metal. I’d love to see these guys play a two-hour set.

A-Trak

Sometimes I kick myself for saying, “I don’t even know who that is. Pass” about a band, musician or DJ. This time, I at least caught part of the DJ’s live set rather than hearing how great it was later. As exhausted and restless as I was, A-Trak compelled me to dance and wowed me with his superhuman scratching skills.

Nic’s Fun Fun Fun Fest Summary

10 Nov

 

Friday:

We got to the park in time to see The Apples in Stereo. I’ve always liked these guys, but their set was somewhat lackluster, in my opinion.

After we watched The Apples, we wandered around the park a bit and got back to the Orange Stage just in time to see Chris Hardwick having a less than spectacular set. He was dying up there! He managed to somewhat save it toward the middle, but the crowd started to lose interest again. I think part of it was the fact that crews were setting up for Weird Al on the stage next to Chris’s and the other part–as Jaime pointed out–most likely was that he went on an extended diatribe against hipsters (You’re in Austin, bro. Bad idea.).

Weird Al’s set was amazing! I was more thoroughly entertained than I expected to be. There was a great mix of costumes and video clips (which were used when Al and the band were changing costumes). I have to say that this may have been the highlight of the weekend for me. I’m not saying that it was necessarily the best performance of the festival, but it brought me back to when I was nine or 10 years old, listening to Weird Al’s records and watching UHF to the point of memorizing it. I must admit that movie is still one of my favorites to this day.

After the show, I met up with my good friend Zac and we went to a couple of the bars on East Sixth Street. I wasn’t feeling it, honestly. Maybe it was my mood after driving for several hours and then standing for a few hours, but it made me miss Denton and especially Dan’s. Maybe I’m just not cut out for a bigger city.

Saturday

For most of Saturday, I surfed around from stage to stage checking out a few different acts. There were so many I wanted to see! I had to stop surfing for a bit so I could catch all of Os Mutantes’ show. There was such a terrific vibe coming off of that stage! Musically, they exhibited all of the best elements of the Grateful Dead, CSN&Y, and the psychedelic garage bands of the ’60s with a healthy measure of Afro jazz thrown in. Watching them perform live makes it clear which artists have been influenced by them (Stereolab immediately come to mind).

After Os Mutantes were finished, I hung out with Zac at the Misprint booth. Really, it was a gazebo in the park that these guys had cleverly commandeered. It would become our rally point for the rest of the festival. If you aren’t familiar with Misprint, I highly recommend you visit their site. Through their magazine, they poke fun at pretty much everyone and not just in the Austin scene. They were responsible for the official FunFunFun Fest Guide this year and it is, without a doubt, the most entertaining festival guide I’ve ever read.

After we hung out with the Misprint guys for a while, we went and checked out comedian Matt Bearden at the remotely located Yellow Stage. This guy is one of the funniest comics I’ve seen in a long time. I like my comedy a little on the risque side, and Matt Bearden delivers that in spades. From his explanation of why his infant child is a horrible person and his tear-inducing story of his first disastrous acid trip to his puppet show interpretation of “Dear Mr. Jesus”, Bearden proves himself to be worthy to stand in the same limelight as David Cross, Brian Posehn, Patton Oswalt and other popular comics with acerbic wit.

Unfortunately, I missed all of RJD2’s set and only caught a bit of MGMT, but I saw most of Bad Religion’s show (granted from a bit back at the Misprint booth) and that was a lot of fun. Appparently, it was their 30th anniversary that night.

Sunday

We got to the park a little late, but I still got to see The Hold Steady and, even though my sister (Editor’s note: aka his managing editor, Jesseca) says they’re “dad rock”, I thoroughly enjoyed them. We were close enough to see the hairs on Craig Finn’s arms quiver as he flailed his arms around.

After The Hold Steady finished, they were followed almost immediately by The Descendents and, all of a sudden, the somewhat sleepy vibe of Sunday’s events washed away in an amped up mob of people who seemed to come from nowhere. At one point, I looked back at the crowd and then looked at my friend, Zac, and said “We aren’t going anywhere.” I would have to say that this was probably the most impressive show I saw over the weekend after Weird Al. Eventually, I had to get out of the crowd because the pushing, shoving, crushing and smell of unwashed hair were beginning to overwhelm me.

We started to exit the park in time to catch the end of A-Trak’s set and it made me wish I’d caught more of it, but that’s the way music festivals like this are: there are dozens of acts you want to catch, but most of them are going on at the same time.

All in all, I’d say that my first Fun Fun Fun Fest was a blast, although it felt like we were scrambling to keep up with the schedule for most of the trip. I hope this will not be the only one I’m able to attend.

Fun Fun Fun Fest Recap: Part 1–Junior Varsity’s take

9 Nov


While the rest of us were driving back and napping, our youngest writer, “Junior Varsity”, was hard at work on his Fun Fun Fun Fest recap. The rest of us will post ours, as well as our interviews in both video and print form, over the next few days.

I got the privilege to attend Fun Fun Fun Fest this past weekend.  For those who are not too familiar with the festival, it is a growing event in Austin that focuses on up-and-coming bands. This was my first time to attend and I can definitely say that it is as enjoyable, if not more so, than any large festival in the country. I definitely recommend going next year. OK, on with the wrap up. Continue reading

In case you couldn’t make it: Fun Fun Fun Fest 2010 Live Blog

6 Nov

Oh Sweet Lord we’re doing it again, yet another live blog from our favorite Austin festival, we hope you enjoy it.

Saturday

10:23

We all had a rather great time last night watching Chris Hardwick bomb, Apples in Stereo go all Afronaut on us and Weird al giving hands down one of the best live performances we’ve collectively seen, we took off to prepare for what looks like a packed Saturday, we’re each off doing individual interviews this morning and preparing for a festival toast once the gates open, let’s hope the weather plays nice this year.

– Jaime

1:45

I just finished up shooting and interview with Austin’s Mother Falcon and orchestral pop band which was practicing for their set tomorrow at a local studio, numbering 17 at the time I met with them the young band has made quite the name for themselves in the Austin music scene, drawing rave reviews during last years SXSW, and finding themselves opening up FFF tomorrow morning, not to shabby for a band that’s never played outside of Austin ‘s City Limits.

-Jaime

4:15


And we’ve got our first Hoopster ( Slick Rick side stage.)

-Jaime

Sunday

2:45

We spent last night running around the festival as much as possible catching an amazing Cap’n Jazz set, watching Man Man drive a crowd wild, witnessing GWAR murder Sarah Palin and RJD2 drop some Mad Men on us, the night was wild, it was fun, it as quite drunken (I ran into a tree). I’m writing this in a tent as Toro Y Moi is playing to a pretty solid crowd, and wondering if we’re ever gonna be able to comprehend the magnitude of last night, we’ll see as the day goes.

-Jaime

 

6:01

Milo has arrived, at least that’s the rumor, we’ve been splitting time between The chaos of the Black stage and the hipsterism of the Orange stage as both crowds have been very different, not that that isn’t expected. I noticed that Nortec Collective bridged all langue barriers and got their crowd worked into a frenzy, this as helped by the groups Ipad controlled beats. Toro Y Moi is celebrating a birthday and a crowd that seems to be 3 times the size of their normal crowd, Best Coast attracted the largest crowd of what looked like shell shocked zombies I’ve ever seen, and Polvo was just on the receiving end of Thax Douglus poem. So far, so good.

-Jaime