Still Fun Fun Fun, Festival Is On The Cusp Of Change

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Photos by Marc Brubaker
Miss the bands in Austin this weekend? See as many as we could squeeze into our handy slideshow.

Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin is on the cusp of change. A renovation to its home base, Waterloo Park, is due within the next year, so come next November the festival more than likely won't be setting up shop there for the first time in its four-year history.

Each year FFFF has been growing by leaps and bounds, pulling in bigger and bigger acts while also remaining the "cool" fest in a city that not only hosts SXSW and ACL, but fosters a healthy musical climate year-round. FFFF simply has no rivals in Texas when it comes to go-to festivals for punks, indie-rockers, and metalheads.

FFFF may start changing, but organizers Transmission Entertainment and the Austinist will undoubtedly do it in their own way. The weekend could move to Auditorium Shores across town, or grab the next rung on the ladder and jump over to ACL home base Zilker Park.

Personally, Rocks Off would prefer the former. As long as the festival can still command reunion shows from a myriad of artists, bring in cutting-edge acts, book the reliable crowd rumblers and keep its grizzly vibe, everyone will follow.

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Os Mutantes
During their closing set on Sunday, the briefly reunited Descendents seemed to echo the sentiments of the festival itself this year. The influential pop-punk band's message of terminal youth and disgust with the grown world perfectly coalesced with the state of the festival. ACL is the mature party in town, SXSW is exclusive, while FFFF is underground populist.

This edition of FFFF seemed to put one foot forward into the future and one rooted in the past. Bands like garage legends the Gories, Brazilian monoliths Os Mutantes, hardcore band Snapcase and Cap'n Jazz were just a few of the groups returning to the stage after sometimes years-long layoffs.

This was also reportedly Jazz's last show ever, according to lead singer Tim Kinsella, who said his heavily adored Chicago emo band is going back into storage after this weekend.

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Black Congress
New musical blood around the park included Houston's own Black Congress, who opened up the fest on Saturday afternoon with a generator-busting set. The band had a decent enough showing for their slot, with most every Houstonian in town front and center, plus curious people drawn in from other parts of the park.

A standout for us this past weekend included Man Man on Saturday night, with their Tom Waits- and Modest Mouse-inflected pirate jazz. Following Black Congress, Jeff The Brotherhood was solid, reminding us of Death From Above 1979 and anything Josh Homme has ever touched.

A lot of the weekend's most-hyped bands - Best Coast and Wavves, to name two - fell flat for us, wielding more style than substance. Best Coast is hella catchy, but grows predictable over an entire hour; the cuteness wears off considerably, like an EP or single project taken way too far. We still like "Boyfriend," but not ten variations of it.

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