For music festivals like this, there is a small fenced off area where all the press people get to go and take pictures of the bands, and inside said pit are people the festivals that are there to make sure no one charges at the stage or the press people linger too long and block the view for everyone else. And said security, while thankfully this time not from an official company and in turn much nicer and not complete dicks, tend to grow very bored due to being forced to listen a bunch of bands they don't like and deal wither said band's fans as well. Well during my time at Fun Fun Fun Fest there were two bands that not only brought a smile to the security's face, but got them excited as well; the almighty Descendents and the criminally unattended Polvo. And when Polvo can make the jaded security people excited, you know they are putting on a good show, reunion band or not. Not to mention they were the only non-headliner band to get to play an encore. 'Nuff said.
OK, I'm going with Deerhunter as the band that put out the best performance I saw at this year's Fest. Was it the smoke machine that for once actually helped create the atmosphere the band was aiming for? Was it the lights the band put on stage that matched the same lights every other person doing drugs at this show was seeing in their head? Was it the fact that band was so incredibly tight, that every ounce of acclaim heaped on them (and in turn the backlash to that, and the backlash to the backlash) became justified about three songs in? Was it knowing how incredibly fucking cool "Helicopter" is as a set closer? All I know is everything I said about Atlas Sound last year was nothing compared to this set.
(First two pictures taken by Jacob Biggie)
The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady's set was a bit of a mixed bag. On one end, they only wound up only playing 40 minutes, and for big bands like this that seemed for what ever strange reason like a rip off. But to be completely fair to the band, for those 40 minutes they were on stage, they were on fire. For a bunch of almost forty year olds, they played with more vigour than people half their age. "Stuck Between Stations" and "Hurricane J" have so much more to them when their being sung together with a couple thousand other people with the same joy and beer in hand. And while probably not the best set of the night, I'll take seeing the best bar band in the United States anytime I can.
I'm so glad Devo had to cancel. Sorry, but that was what everyone was thinking as they saw the Descendents live. Well probably, if they had a chance to think. See, seeing the Descendents live was, how to put it, a bit bat shit insane. The crowd at the Orange Stage was probably the biggest it had been at the whole festival, it at least seemed like half of the attendance was at this stage. Add to the fact that the fact a good 25 percent of the crowd lost all sense of being a hipster and started moshing more violently than most of the sets at the Black Stage. Oh and the ground was pure dust by this time and the in between cheers also were in between hacks and coughs. Was it work it. YES! For as much shit as punk bands get for reuniting and being old, the Descendents were so good that Sunday night I could not think of a better band to end the three massive days of music and madness. Sing it with me: "ALL!"