Idols are not infallible. They can die like the rest of us. Danzig did just that for a lot of people Friday night as the headliner on the Black Stage of this year's Fun Fun Fun Fest. Set to perform the "Danzig Legacy" set (containing equal amounts his solo career, Samhain and Misfits songs with guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein), the act bombed hard. 45 minutes late, horrible performance and bottles and booing heard all around. I didn't witness any of this, but my social network feeds and complaints through Fun Fun Fun Fest's Facebook page said enough.
I'm getting ahead of myself here. I started the day seeing Defeater play to a decent size crowd for how early their time slot was on the first day. Early or not, the band didn't disappoint in the least. Empty Days and Sleepless Nights is one of the hardcore albums you have to hear this year, and cuts from Travels sounded just as fresh if not more powerful.
After taking care of some business and getting some food, I went to see Doomriders. In the heat of the mid-afternoon sun, the band impressed me by somehow being brutally loud, yet finely intricate in their playing and sound. A lot of times a band can be forceful with the wall of frequency coming from the stage, but you don't hear the delicacy and subtly of the playing. Doomriders won me over with pulling that feat off.
I watched some of Black Milk's set (band was great, MC not so much) and a bit of jam from Ocote Soul Sound to mix my day of music up. Then a friend asked me to participate in one of his comedy acts on the Yellow Stage and I graciously/hesitantly accepted the offer. If you were there, yes, that was me on stage trying to keep my composure. After two years, this year I was finally part of the festival. The New Movement comedy improv is a great place in Austin, and a regular show to see when you can make it out.
I watched a bit of The Thermals (they were okay), and then Ty Segall caught my attention with some heavy licks and gritty vocals. Black Joe Lewis was impressive as always with the big band and Joe Lewis' incredible guitar playing. Thee Oh Sees was a nice surprise while waiting for Russian Circles. The band are a crazy monster of sound and rock. So much happening at once, you get lost in it - in a good way.
Russian Circles took to the stage right as the sun was setting and it couldn't have been any more perfect. Beginning with some earlier cuts, right as it went to dusk, the band brought out one of the tightest shows I've ever seen them play. Absolutely heavy and engaging, my neck is soar from so much headbanging. To think the guys played the stage mid-afternoon two years ago, they proved they were more than worthy to fill their later time slot this year. Can't wait to see them again tonight.
I'm not the biggest diehard Murder City Devils fan. I know their music. I know their worth. Seeing them plow through a ferocious set struck that same chord in the back of my head: respect your elders, some of them can still put on a better show than you years later. The grimey guitar licks, the haunting keys and punk swagger of Spencer Moody was more than enough to "end" my evening.
Instead of being disappointed by Danzig, I waited for Public Enemy. Only got to see two songs, and the vocals were really hard to hear in the mix, but definitely not hugely disappointing. The band still brought a lot of energy and the crowd fed off of it.
I left early to see Pianos Become the Teeth and Touche Amore at an aftershow. Pianos were great. I kept thinking they exhibit a lot of what you saw in later Funeral Diner records (the post-builds, energy, tight knit song-writing as opposed to the chaotic screamo style of some). The place went absolute ape-shit when Touche Amore came on. For the entire set kids were climbing and screaming on top of each other. It looks as though the band aren't going anywhere for a while, and it was great to see the show without a barricade between them like I will see today.