Jim Trainer

I used to want to be a music journalist. I still do, but I used to want to, too.

In Uncategorized on November 5, 2012 at 9:49 am

“My name is Billy Milano and I fucked your mom in the 80s.  Guaranteed.”
I was enjoying Municipal Waste even before half of S.O.D. joined them onstage on Day 1 at this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest.

I missed the Dwarves like a jagoff.  I was sitting on some fucking rock on the corner of south 1st, talking on the phone with a hardon and watching the punkrock prom of ’em all pile in at the gate.

It doesn’t feel good to recognize other punkers out there anymore, Brother.  The scene’s lost its bite, nothing about it looks or feels original anymore.  As a subculture we look more like a Nirvana video than anything individual or threatening to the status quo.  Oh well, whatever, never mind.  It gave me pause and I missed the real punk rock shit of the Dwarves happening on the black stage just before Municipal Waste (who had me going straight for the pit when Billy&Dan Lilker did United Forces with them).

Beer is still $6 at FFF, which is pretty good considering all that’s happened in this country in the four years since I’d been.  The fest has grown up for sure.  So much the better for taking place on Auditorium Shores, too.  Waterloo Park was too close to the police station and the college, and it had a dirty-sewer, we-just-told-the-homeless-to beat it vibe to it.
I caught Lucero on the way in, sounding a little more soulful than I remember until I heard Nichols start singing Nights Like These with  his old, rocks-in-a-washing machine voice.  His voice sounded similarly dead&shredded, and Lucero is sounding more and more like they would do wise to put their whole body into this rock&roll, maybe tour a little less and lay off the juice and MTV Specials a little.

I headed to the black stage to catch Tomahawk because when Duane Denison shows up to do work you’d best be standing there and listen.  They didn’t have the best sound.  The bass suffered at times and seemed thin.  Don’t get me wrong Tomahawk was great.  It’s just that the technicalities of sharing a stage and soundsystem at a music festival with a grindcore band like Napalm Death doesn’t do a progressive and weird outfit like Tomahawk justice.  It can end up making them sound like just another -core band.
“What year is this?”  Denison cursed the kids, demanding who knew who the whole fest was named after.  He said he drove all night to be back in the city where it all began for him and other punk pioneers like the Big Boys.  I dug watching him wild out after seeing him so many times as the silent&gawky member of the Jesus Lizard, standing like some skinny stanchion next to Yow and Sims and sending out dissonant sus 9s on a silver Travis like bat killing radar.

Wing met me out front the festival on south 1st after Tomahawk’s set.  We headed straight back to black to catch Tom Gabel&Against Me!  Dude looked more like a black metal singer we all know and love than a recently transgendered punk rocker.  Against Me!’s music is weak to me, brother.  I mean, didn’t these guys ever listen to Twisted Sister?  ‘Cause they sound like a more melodic and more rock&roll Twisted Sister than anything resembling punk rock to me.  Wing agreed without a word.  We went to get 16s of Heineken but opted for Tecate when they had only Heineken Light left.
The fest is reppin’ Austin pretty good.  The cheap price of beer isn’t the only homage fest-orgainzers C3 pay to the easy living we do down here down here in the Pearl of the South.  The local tents, “storefronts” and booths looked like a mini-Austin skyline:
Frank and Austin Facial Hair ClubJudges’ Hill Restaurant and Lucky Js.

The weather was bright&warm, 80 degrees.  The girls were pretty and people were nice.  All to Austin’s credit.
But late into night 1, when Santigold was gettin ready to wreck shop, the place started looking like the set of a Hollywood western.  It’s ok-when it comes to music festivals, dust is always better than mud.

I changed my mind about seeing RUNDMC when I remembered that it wouldn’t be their original lineup and that one of the former hip-hop pioneers had a hit reality show on MTV.  I found myself wishing I had chosen Saturday for PiL alone.  Wing&I bumped Santigold crossing the 1st street bridge and cutting off our wristbands.  Girl sounded tight, brother.  For true.

Basically, they deliverin.  C3 and FFF Fest are doing work still.
We don’t get much true punkrock in Austin.  We miss out on a lot of the cut-your-balls off and weird progressive/aggressive rock&roll music out there.  Allot of what’s going on down here is safe and polished, punk rock or no, and all with the whiff of industry seeking approval.  It’s just accepted in the live music capital of the world that as a music act you should climb the ladder and do the thing that all bands have to do, from Bright Light Social Hour to Spoon and all the way from the Saxon Pub to Waterloo.

Anyhoo.  I approve of FFF.  I approve of the City of Austin.  This place is a paradise.  Day 1 was great.
It’s just the scene that I hate.

See you next year.

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