Reviewed by Robert Williams
The eighth installment of Transmission Entertainment’s Fun Fun Fun Fest featured a diverse and eclectic roster of performing artists including Snoop Lion, Jurassic 5 and Daniel Johnston but for those who chose to bang their heads to the beat of a different drum, there was also some exciting performances from thrash metal titans Slayer, the reformed Body Count, the power metal precision and virtuosity of Austin’s own Immortal Guardian, and hardcore punk legends like Subhumans, Cro-Mags and Flag (basically everyone from Black Flag except the main songwriter and figurehead, guitarist Greg Ginn). Canvassing the entirety of the outdoor Auditorium Shores venue, there was also extreme sports skateboarding and bicycling demonstrations, Anarchy Championship Wrestling and a taco cannon that fired rounds of edible ammunition into the audience.
The way the festival was booked on Friday night there was virtually no metal to be found. The evening’s headliner’s were the gangster rapper turned rastafarian Snoop Lion, something called RJD2 and punk rock icons Flag who unleashed a tirade of punk classics including “Revenge” “No Values” “Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie” “Rise Above” and “Six Pack”. The audience went bezerk for these old Black Flag songs performed by former members of the seminal California hardcore outfit.
As I walked up to the entrance of the festival on Saturday afternoon I was greeted by the hyper speed power metal of local favorites Immortal Guardian (fronted by the mighty pipes of the powerhouse Brazilian vocalist Carlos Zema) who were performing in a flatbed trailer adjacent to the sidewalk. Immortal Guardian seemed to pop up everywhere over the course of the festival, at one point performing next to the extreme sports ramps (That made for an awesome combo let me tell you)
With some time to kill before the next metal or punk related performers, I took in some Anarchy Championship Wrestling. Apparently there are no rules which made watching the match a little hard to follow but it was good for a laugh I suppose.
Saturday evening began with the UK’s longstanding hardcore stalwarts Subhumans who performed their second album “From The Cradle To The Grave” in it’s entirety as a special 30th anniversary setlist.
So before he was a street smart detective on television’s Law & Order and after he had already established himself as a self proclaimed “Original Gangsta” Ice-T briefly fronted his own metal band Body Count. Why was it time for the band of hoodlums who gave us “Cop Killer” to re-emerge? I have no idea and frankly I don’t care as I’ve never been a fan, but there were plenty of people who did apparently as the ice man shuffled from one end of the stage and back again like an ever moving target as he led his backing band a short set that included “Evil Dick” “KKK Bitch” “Disorder” at one point even incorporating the Suicidal Tendencies classic “Institutionalized” into the mix before closing things out with a one-two punch of “There Goes The Neighborhood” and finale “Cop Killer” for which he announced from the stage that the Austin Police Department could “Eat a bag of dicks”.
On Sunday I arrived to the festival grounds in the afternoon and took in some extreme sports for a while. I couldn’t believe some of the rad 360 jumps these guys were taking. It was totally over the top.
I watched NY hardcore legends otherwise known as Cro-Mags pound out a forty five minute set of crowd favorites including two Bad Brains covers before closing with “Hard Times”.
I went to load up on cans of Shiner Bock beer and stocked up on as many cans as my arms could carry. By now the sun was going down and the anticipation building in the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife as everyone in the audience knew that “Hell Awaits” and it did as the mighty Slayer chose to open their set with that very song. The band gave us classic upon bloody fist pumping classic with hell raising renditions of “The Antichrist” “Necrophiliac” “Mandatory Suicide” “Captor of Sin” “War Ensemble” “Post Mortem” “At Dawn They Sleep” “Die By The Sword” “Hallowed Point” “Seasons In The Abyss” even an old Exodus cover for good measure with “Strike Of The Beast” then straight into the deadly trio of “Dead Skin Mask” “Raining Blood” and “Black Magic”. For their encore Slayer performed “South of Heaven” and of course “Angel of Death” during which a massive backdrop appeared in tribute to the late Jeff Hanneman and modeled after his beer of choice Heineken. This drew an enormous response from the crowd.
Fun Fun Fun Festival thrives on diversity and I get that and as long as there will always be some good metal and punk bands to check out I’ll probably keep attending in the future. I had a good time this year eating tacos and drinking beer and saw about four or five killer bands and the weather was nice the whole time. Here’s to hoping that 2014′s installment is chock full of more metal.