As promised we focused on the buzz acts recommended before Fun Fun Fun Fest kicked off their 10th year at Auditorium Shores in Austin yesterday. Fears of heavy rain gave way to cheers as fans weathered a brief drizzle rather than the heavy downpours predicted. The cloudy, gray weather with mild temperatures made for a easy day of exceptional live music from Antemasque, Peaches and Canada’s Vietcong. All three acts performed early to late afternoon, prior to headliners, Chvrches, Schoolboy Q and Coheed and Cambria.
The most outlandish performance of the day goes to Peaches. The electronic artist with the high falsetto has a reputation for delivering raunchy shows. Her set yesterday on the Blue stage followed form with the vocalist donning a black, glittery vagina costume at one point and pointing out her crotch was hairy as she stood atop fans straddling them. The spectacle is what Peaches fans are after and the performance artist also known as Merrill Beth Nisker never disappoints.
Despite those antics, the highlight of the set for many fans was an impromptu marriage proposal from one of her dancers to another. The gay couple were lauded by the audience after becoming engaged with a number of photos flooding social and online news media.
Texas legends, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zevala (The Mars Volta, At the Drive-In) made their first Fun Fun Fun Fest appearance as ANTEMASQUE. The group played Austin once before earlier in the year making the second stop on their debut tour at the Mohawk. The sold-out performance hinted at what was to come this week at FFF Fest when the band showed up with Travis Barker in tow. The Blink-182 drummer made a special appearance behind the drum kit for ANTEMASQUE’s set and it worked out perfectly.
Bixler-Zavala sported his trademark afro and all-black ensemble. Rodriguez-Lopez appeared to be making an attempt to keep pace with his band mate’s wild locks with a lengthening mop of hair which he trashed about as the guitarist demonstrated why he’s one of the most respected progressive artists in Texas. The group threw in a couple new tunes not on the current record for good measure leaving the audience in front of the Orange Stage satisfied the current project isn’t going anywhere soon.
Earlier on the same stage we caught Canadian post-punk outfit Viet Cong. The band rocked their way through a killer set that featured tunes from their self-titled debut on the popular Jagjaguwar imprint. Founding member, drummer Mike Wallace thrashed his way through the performance shirtless despite the fall chill in the air. Vocalist Matt Flegel held down an insistent bass line while growling dark lyrics. If you missed this performance, you still have another chance to catch Viet Cong tonight at Sidewinder.
The most surprising set was reunited Babes in Toyland’s rocket to the past on the Black Stage. The nearly forgotten 90’s grrrl-rockers put on a thoroughly entertaining set in the early afternoon in front of an enthusiastic crowd who got to watch Austin resident and lead vocalist, Kat Bjelland. The band was based in Minneapolis in their heyday and Bjelland somehow landed in the “live music capital” several years ago working at a local bar. But it is not her bar skills that were on display yesterday at the festival where she snarled, shredded chords and stirred up a pot of nostalgia big enough to sate a good-sized crowd.
Check out our slideshow of exclusive photos from day one of Fun Fun Fun Fest by Haley Odom Ackerman and tell us which are your favorites.