FFF9 Highlights: Day Two

FFF9Saturday was a good day for loud rock and great pop music, which is why this is one of my favorite festivals to attend.  The scheduling of such genre crossings always makes it easy for folks to find a little of what they need. Still really jealous that Brian shook Ted Leo’s hand.

BGray – Twin Peaks was the start to my day. Jangly and jammy, a little bit heavy, it was a glorious start. King Tuff backed that up, reliable southern-tinged punk interrupted by a blown amp that was quickly replaced and jams were resumed. Thanks Orange stage staff. I shook Ted Leo’s hand. Nathan is still jealous. San Fermin was better than I expected, nice little surprise, big sound. Gary Numan is still impersonating Trent Reznor. Courtney Barnett – any fear of meh was quickly erased. The festival set is harder-edged than the recorded material. We all love POBPAH. The biggest surprise was probably First Aid Kit. The sisters from Sweden put a lot into their stage presence, with flailing hair and emphatic guitar work. Bonus was that they just plain sounded gorgeous. I was truly dreading Modest Mouse after their universally panned appearance at Stubb’s a while back, but I was proven very wrong. The two drum kits are back as is Isaac’s energy-fuled messiness versus just being messy.

RayRay – Day two was an even better day for music when compared to Friday.  Twin Peaks started my day with some sloppy, garage rock.  Glassjaw from there and enjoyed the heaviness, but the stage sound seemed a bit off to me today.  A little bit of Iceage after that.  Wasn’t super impressed with the sound again and the band appeared a little disinterested in playing today.  POBAH was of course great.  Duh. King Tuff was of course solid and rocked many a face.  Went to check out The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die after that and was pleasantly surprised by the tightness and energy of the group.  Watching this “emo” laden set reminded me of my earlier days in the post-emo scene outside at old Emo’s in Austin.  Admitting that it was one of my favorite bands of the weekend.  Got a haircut.  Listened to some New Pornographers from side stage and rather enjoyed the sound and energy from the band despite the claims that they were struggling through the set.  Bounced shortly after this really because I’m not a Nas fan and Modest Mouse has never been good live….

Nicole – I started my day two off early with local darlings The Sour Notes, whose live set enraptured the small crowd that gathered as people trickled in to the Shores. Another early hit for my Saturday were Twin Peaks, who brought out the rock and made sure that exhaustion that always comes on the second day of the fest was shaken off and put in its place. I was having a blast—the Orange Stage was the place to be for most of the day for me, with San Fermin and Courtney Barnett and The New Pornographers, but honestly a large part of the day was spent waiting in anticipation for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s set, which did not disappoint. I stumbled into First Aid Kit’s glossy set, the pretty vocal harmonies pulling me in and keeping me there and I found myself really enjoying their sound as the night’s chill swept in. Modest Mouse were exciting and fun, even from a distance. I ended the night with a quick transition to the Mohawk for round two of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, who clearly have my heart and their second set of the day was enough to make me not only go back and listen to Days of Abandon, but their whole catalogue and fall in love all over again. While day two offered me hours of great music to listen to, my love affair with Free Hostess took a dark turn, one that had me wanting to kick the addiction cold turkey, seeing the slippery slope I had embarked upon.

Nathan.Lankford – The shuttle got me to the fest just in time to catch the last few tracks of The Sour Notes set…always a joy to watch your friends on a big stage.  Then I quickly ran off to catch Twin Peaks, who I didn’t get to see the night before.  They’re a young band, and you can tell the songs are there, but I think some performance issues held me back from being totally in love with those dudes.  Things were a bit behind on the Black Stage, so I ran to catch King Tuff.  I’m pretty sure I’ll never grow weary of him playing “Bad Thing,” one of my favorite jams. Then I jammed to some Metz. That band is so powerful live, just like they’re record, so I was quite pleased to have them in my must-sees..especially since they delivered live. Caught some back stage time with my friend Chris and his family, then hit up Courtney Barnett.  My lady and her friend stand by this as one of their favorites, but I like the intricate style of her recordings versus her live, more rocking stylings. Of course I had to stay at the stage for Pains of Being Pure at Heart, who drove in straight from New Orleans; they were a bit weary, but they always deliver.  You want pop music? There aren’t many making better tunes than this act.  Snack time. Bouncy jams from the Presets, then caught the New Pornographers.  Dan is always an anomaly; he creeps up into the stage, sings a tune, nails it, then disappears. Love it. I bounced from the Fest to grab a bite then catch Eternal Summers over at Mohawk.  Say what you want about ticketing issues, but having countless free shows to attend, such as this set, make everything worth it. I could watch this band play every day, and never grow tired of it; I don’t think they’ve played a bad set in their lives. The Pains set that followed was exactly the best way to end the night. Energetic and spot on. Love affirmed.