Music fans hungry for both nostalgic acts and up-and-comers flocked to Austin this weekend for the sixth annual Fun Fun Fun Festival.
Headliners such as Public Enemy and Glenn Danzig (formerly of The Misfits) took audience members back decades in time to when their music first became popular. Public Enemy played their 1989 hit “Fight the Power” and other songs to an animated crowd Friday night.
Flava Flav, member of Public Enemy and reality television star, said he was excited to perform for the fans.
“The best thing I like about this festival is that everybody is here packing this mother f*****,” Flava Flav said.
However, Danzig’s performance proved to be the disappointment of the festival. Danzig was set to play some of his newer music as well as a Misfits tribute, but he went on 45 minutes late and then was silenced after just two Misfits songs because of Austin’s noise curfew.
According to Rolling Stone, the reason Danzig went on late was because he said it was too cold outside, and he demanded heaters, a chicken sandwich from Wendy’s and a bowl of French onion soup before performing.
The crowd jeered and was unhappy with the show.
“I ditched Danzig to go see Passion Pit,” said Dana Paris, Austin resident. “Nobody was excited for his show and no one was dancing. He wasn’t playing Misfits songs which is what everyone wanted.”
Passion Pit, breakout stars of 2009, played to a high-energy crowd Friday night that danced and sang along to their electropop beats. They drew thousands of attendees to their stage despite competing against the acts of Danzig and Public Enemy.
“This is one of the coolest festivals we’ve ever played,” said Michael Angelakos, Passion Pit vocalist, between songs.
Big Freedia put on an act that also drew an enthusiastic audience and encouraged participation. Freedia, a hip-hop artist who cross-dresses and is the self proclaimed “Queen Diva,” sang with her team of of booty-shaking backup dancers. For her signature song “Azz Everywhere,” Freedia invited about 20 audience members on stage to dance.
Even actor Ryan Gosling was drawn to Freedia’s performance. Gosling was seen prowling the festival with camera crew in tow throughout the weekend. He watched acts from backstage, including those by Lykke Li and Mates of State, much to the amusement of gawking fans. A Tumblr blog surfaced to aggregate all of the pictures of Gosling taken by Fun Fun Fun attendees.
Gosling wasn’t the only actor in attendance. Donald Glover of the TV show Community came to perform standup comedy and rap under the name Childish Gambino. His standup addressed topics such as racism, Lady Gaga’s weirdness and whether or not he could be the next Spiderman.
Besides the big names and celebrities, a handful of local acts were invited to perform. Among them was Thieves, an Austin pop-punk band that woke up the festival Saturday afternoon when they opened on the black stage.
Chris Skiles, Thieves’ guitarist, said Fun Fun Fun Fest allowed the band to perform on a bigger, more professional stage with monitors, which they don’t always get to use in smaller venues. However, some of the intimacy was missing, he said.
Bassist Nathan Helton agreed with his band mate.
“When you’re on a big stage like that, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the crowd isn’t as involved,” Helton said. “Some of the smaller stages we play, we’re able to be right in their faces, and fans get to jump on stage and sing our songs.”
The festival wound down Sunday night with performances from Slayer, Blonde Redhead, Trash Talk and Odd Future.
Odd Future closed out the blue stage with a bang when a stray water bottle hit band member Tyler, the Creator in the face, inciting a band-on-fan brawl. Odd Future members lept into the crowd where the water bottle had came from and started throwing punches.
The violence ended almost as quickly as it began, and the group returned to the stage to finish the set.
Before Trash Talk performed the closing act on the yellow stage, Henry Rollins, former Black Flag front man, left the festivalgoers with a more peaceful message. He encouraged the crowd to connect with each other on issues beyond music and comedy.
“This festival is more than a gathering of great people and great bands,” Rollins said. “These people are your peers, your future friends. These are people you’re going to be voting with, changing and introducing new legislation with… those who move America forward to a more peaceful, prosperous, alternative energy-laden 24/7 P-Funk Ramones block party.”