Friday Bottom 5: FFF Fest 2009

1106top5coverReally, I love Fun Fun Fun Festival.  I will readily stand up to the masses and argue about how much better FFF is in comparison to Austin City Limits.  But, as with all festivals, there will inevitably be some sort of let down that leaves you frustrated.  While I think some of these may be a bit obvious, there are others that definitely need to be brought into the forefront.

ffffest_kingkhan5. King Khan and the BBQ Show

This is mostly a personable vendetta between me and King Khan.  I waited all day long on Sunday just to catch a glimpse of his set, especially after listening to the new Invisible Girl album. But, he didn’t show; he might have played with the GZA, but he didn’t play for me.  Sure, some of you will look over this and say he played for free at Red 7 that night, but in truth, I wanted to see him at the festival because some of us had to work on Monday morning.  You really made me mad Khan, and I don’t want to be friends anymore.


ffffest_rain4. Rain

I don’t blame this on Fun Fun Fun Fest at all, not in the least.   Still, Austin festivals are 0-2 this year on festivals staying free from the rain.  This rain wasn’t so bad to start, but as it picked up, and fell upon us relentlessly, it just got a bit colder.  Heck yes I tried to tough it out, but in the end I used my cigarette lighter to keep myself warm whilst making a fire by the press area in one of the trash cans.


ffffest_merch3. Where Was the Merch?

Sure, I eventually found it, but it was like Easter trying to track down the merchandise booth in order to purchase the goods.  And where were they?  That’s right, the furthest point away from the music and the crowds, unless you just camped out at the black stage.  I almost thought they decided not to sell merch.  Now, I know these bands get paid well, and I want FFF Fest to be successful, but why do all these people selling glass pipes to ridiculous fools who still smoke pot get the front spot.  It just seems backwards to me.  I’d rather support the musicians than the hippies peddling their pipes so that their buyers can blow the horrific stench of weed back in my face while I watch my favorite bands.


ffffest_lacklusterperformances2. Lackluster Perfomances

Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by seeing lots of great shows this year around town, or perhaps it was watching how brilliant The National was last year as a headlining act.  For some reason, I don’t think any of the bands brung it this year, and I by brung it, I meant the rock.  Okay, so the punk bands did their stereotypical stage dives and running back and forth on stage, but I’ve seen that too many times.  Maybe this year’s line-up was just a lot more chill, and I’m cool with that, but it sure seemed like a lot of the bands on the orange stage dialed in their performances…aside from Lucero.


ffffest_blackstage1. The Black Stage

Let me start this final moment of disappointment by exclaiming that I have spent years listening to punk and hardcore, and a touch of metal to boot.  I own records by most of the bands that played on the Black Stage.  Here is the problem…the sound was entirely too loud.  Destroyer was ruined by the overbearing sound of Jesus Lizard.  I could hear Coalesce‘s lyrics over everything else in the park.  Now, I understand the killer bros at Transmission love some punk, but a lot of good bands had their performances stepped upon by the sound.  In the past, you could hear all stages, and it was great, but for some reason, the sound on the Black Stage just came across as brutal and in your face.  I was not a fan of that. Especially during the battle of bald-guys, as I love Les Savy Fav more than Fucked Up.


Alas, I had a great time, saw some enjoyable performances, though nothing that blew me away.  Were you disappointed in anything?  Aside from Crystal Castles playing for what seemed like ten minutes?  Let us know.


  • The only stage I feel that was screwed was the yellow stage. While I only went to see a couple of performers over there they probably could’ve been placed in a more secluded location. I think they would’ve switched the Yellow and Blue Stages the sound would’ve evened out a bit more.

    I agree the Black Stage was too loud. Trying to hear Todd Barry over 7 Seconds was impossible.

    But other than that I will choose not to complain.

  • Exactly, but a lot of the bands I wanted to see were on the Yellow, such as Harlem, Strange Boys, Destroyer, King Khan, Metallagher. And, I really could hear the Black Stage during half the shows at the Orange Stage. Not sure if this was the Black Stage’s fault, or the Orange’s.

  • Orange was definetly quiter than it needed to be. Why?s set was really quiet, I even took my earplugs out.

  • “why do all these people selling glass pipes to ridiculous fools who still smoke pot get the front spot.”

    when did you move to austin? yesterday? 90 percent of the people that live in this town are stoners, including all your favorite bands and the people that book their shows. you sound like somebody’s uptight grandma.

  • That’s funny. I was born in Austin, and I remember smoking pot when I was 14 back in 94. Maybe now I just think most people need to get a life, and do something productive…it’s just an opinion.

  • The blue stage was my fav. Why has no one been talking about The Cool Kids set on Saturday night? They absolutley destroyed that crowd. I wish they would’ve gone on for another hour. DJ NuMark and Kid Sister were also show stoppers.
    Major Loser of FFF? Car Stereo (Wars). That guy put on the worst, most boring show of the fest and perhaps the year. He was even out classed by the nachos and beer.
    All in all though, a stellar fest.

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