Instead of a “Best Of” list, M|H is presenting you with a favorites list. There were too many purportedly great albums, songs, and shows we didn’t get around to hearing/seeing. The albums are listed chronologically, but other than that there’s no particular order to our selection. Please point out our glaring omissions.
Taking the stage in sweatpants, cutoff flannel shirts, and sunglasses on Saturday afternoon, Wavves had a slow start to their 3:30 spot. While the band worked on getting a replacement pedal and tweaking the tuning of a Telecaster Thinline, a restless crowd eagerly waited for the surf-inspired noise punk band to deliver. When they did, it was a sound different than one would expect from the highly lo-fi release that put them on hipster radar. Their live show was a youthful punk approach to the beachy indie pop dominating music lately.
Best Coast took the same stage the following evening. Frontwoman Bethany Cosentino, throwing sunglasses into the crowd as the sun set on Austin, took the stage as a confident woman in charge and filled the air with strong vocals that could give Emily Haines a run for her money. But instead of delivering the biting songs one might expect from a west-coast, mostly female band, Best Coast brought to the table stripped down songs about longing and boys, reminding us that we’re not so removed from those rudimentary emotions and core experiences. In a state that celebrates rich, early pop roots that run through Lubbock, these themes are dear to our hearts. Before wishing the front woman of Cults, who played dreamy throwback pop directly before Best Coast, a happy birthday, Cosentino told the crowd that their bass player was eager to see the bands on the metal-heavy Black Stage later that night and continued, “Poor guy has to play in a girlie band.” Also celebrating a birthday at Fun Fun Fun Fest was Chazwick Bundick of southeastern act Toro Y Moi, whose chillwave sounds were an excellent complement to the previous night’s headliner MGMT.
Highlights of the Black Stage included Mastodon, Suicidal Tendencies, Bad Religion, GWAR, and Floor. Japanese band and local favorites Peelander-Z were a huge draw, entertaining with a stage show that extended into the crowd and included props, costumes, and audience participation. Rock fans were forced to choose between gruff Municipal Waste, whose anthems “The Thrashin’ of Christ,” “Bangover,” and “Beer Pressure” always warrant pause for respect, and Israel’s Monotonix, who have set the performance bar high by continuing to perform after their frontman broke his leg earlier this year. Both bands played at the same time on neighboring stages.