Recap : Fun Fun Fun Fest 2012 : November 2nd – 4th : Austin, TX

Fun Fun Fun Fest is fast becoming one of MOKB’s favorite festivals to attend. Every spring, we make our pilgrimage to SXSW for warmer weather, music, and tacos. Slowly, FFFF has become our fall equivalent to bookend our summers. The festival offers so much entertainment with in a relatively small area at Auditorium Shores and you never feel like you are crowded because of excellent scheduling of the stages and artists by the fine folks at Transmission Entertainment. This boutique style festival is a nice alternative to the large festivals that tend to become a chore after the first day, especially with the sweltering summer heat. Not to mention, FFFF brings more to the table for entertainment than just music. There is always an abundance of comedy, wrestling, skate/bike park, art, fashion, and even a mechanical bull (We will neither confirm or deny riding and kicking its’ ass, at least that is how we remember it); plenty to keep you busy as you go from stage to stage.


Photo Credit: Demi Adejuyigbe

Just like last year, adding to the fun was a movie was being filmed throughout the park for an upcoming Tarrence Malick flick (see Val Kilmer with the Black Lips and cutting his own hair here ). We would be remissed if we forget to mention the great food and the beautiful Austin skyline as a backdrop for the festival. We attend several of the larger festivals and have a great time there, but there is something that always feels right about Austin in November. So many great acts to choose from over the three days and we must say there was not we saw that could be characterized as a disappointment. From A$AP Rocky to Run DMC to The Head and the Heart to Real Estate to STRFKR, everyone brought their A game. So much, it became mildly overwhelming. You can check out the pictures and some videos of the several of artists we were able to catch.


Photo Credit: Demi Adejuyigbe

Videos:

Photo Recap : Sharon Van Etten & The War On Drugs : Rhino’s | Bloomington, IN | 4/1/12

Sharon Van Etten and The War On Drugs pulled into Bloomington, IN on a cool April Sunday for their show at Rhino’s. This being the last night of their tour together, both bands were in nostalgically high spirits throughout their sets. They loving teased each other from the stage and muttered inside jokes into the mic like old friends, with Ms. Van Etten even joining The War On Drugs for a killer version of Brothers. The crowd packed around the stage throughout each set, alternating between looks of pure rapture and frantically trying to snap instagram photos.

Ms. Van Etten more than lived up to the flood of praise her live shows and records have garnered over the past few years. She didn’t just perform each of her songs that night, she lived them. Her voice and stage presence were arresting, causing people around me to murmur to one another, “Is she really this good live?” Hell yeah, she is.

Check out the pictures courtesy of Doug Fellegy after the jump…

Recap : NBN presents SOUNDLAND

MOKB Presents co-Captain, Josh Baker had a chance to attend a couple days of Next Big Nashville’s SOUNDLAND Music Festival last week/end. He fired back some random thoughts on what he saw while he was there. You can see a whole mess of photographs from the festival here.
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Heading into Nashville’s Soundland Festival, expectations were low and hopes were high. Soundland organizers are on to something with a new emphasis on quality over quantity. We were seldom torn between two competing shows, all of the venues were close and easy to navigate, PLUS every band we saw was nothing short of inspiring. This new group of young, energetic Nashville creators are breathing substantial live back into the burgeoning rock (read: non-country) scene in Nashville.

My Quick Highlights…

Tiger High
1. Tiger High
We took a flyer on Friday night, not really knowing any of the bands, and went to hang with our good friend Grimey at The Basement. Tiger High took the stage and instantly blew us away. By the end of their 30 minute power set, the parking lot swooned with label reps and media folks wanting to know what the hell just happened. The band is from Memphis, TN and after further investigation, I found that this was only their 6th show ever. I can tell you, this band is going to be on an MOKB Presents show in Indy really soon. Tiger High gets our pick as the best band at the festival.

2. Alabama Shakes
Third Man Records was about to explode when Alabama Shakes took the stage. Not sure what to say here other than it was pretty epic. Soul-infused but very garage. There were A LOT of labels there to see them- was like a feeding frenzy.

MP3 : Alabama Shakes – You Ain’t Alone

Alabama Shakes live at Pegasus Records

3. Andrew Combs
We fell in love with Andrew when he opened our Levi Lowrey in Indianapolis last winter, but seeing him with a full band (backed by Caitlin Rose’s band) was something special. Whiskey-drenched, heartfelt folk twang that will make your momma cry.

MP3 : Andrew Combs – The Dark End Of The Street (James Carr cover)


4. Caitin Rose
Caitlin’s show had The Basement bursting at the seams. Literally, you could not move. She focused on new material from her forthcoming record on ATO. She has this Drew Berrymore esque cute and beliveable quality makes every song just that much more believable. She is heading out on the road with Hayes Carrl this fall.

MP3 : Caitlin Rose – Shanghai Cigarettes (live on Laundromatinee.com)


5. Foster The People
Delivered a high energy set at the 12th and Porter outdoor stage to close for 1500 raging fans. Start to finish, they lived up to the hype and delivered a dance rock set that would make Cut Copy fans swoon.

6. Anais Mitchell
The day one surprise with the lovely Anais Mitchell who performed at the Station Inn. Acting on a tip from our friends at Thirty Tigers (who have impeccable taste), we fell head over heels in love with her whimsical on-stage personality and and uniquely inspiring folk songs. She gave us a quick 35 minute set of from her latest folk opera Hadestown (which featurse Justin Vernon, Ani DiFranco, and Ben Knox from The Low Anthem.) Additionally, she performed 2 amazing new tracks that will be featured on her forthcoming release, on Thirty Tigers.

7. Ghostland Observatory
Cannery Ballroom maxed out to capacity with a line around the block at 11pm. Ghostland took the stage and delivered a 90 minute explosive set of new material and crowd favorites that inspired pumped fists and glow stick orgies.

I also saw…
Jeff the Brotherhood (rawk!)
Those Darlins (always fun)
Cults (meh)
Rich Robinson (meh)
Royal Bangs (meh, which was weird as they’re usually great live)
Black Belles (a little over done with the all black witch outfits)

MOKB + Lollapalooza 2011 : Festival Overview Part 2

First up on our schedule for Saturday was the Walk the Moon, hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, on the Music Unlimited stage. Maybe it’s our Midwestern connection, but we love these kids, and judging by the crowd-induced sing-a-longs, (many also showed up with their faces already painted, a nod to the band’s habit of doing so,) we aren’t the only ones.

DFA1979
Several members from the crazed crowd battled through the barriers to get closer to Death From Above 1979, during their seriously BONKERS set on the Bud Light stage.

Friendly Fires was up next, which required a sweaty hike to the opposite side of the park at the Bud Light stage. Magic must’ve been in the air: a couple got engaged during the opening atmospheric sounds of the band’s set. Don’t worry guys, the sap stopped there. The boys were covered in sweat before they finished their 2nd song, and as someone who has seen them perform at many festivals in the last few year, I can honestly, (and ECSTATICALLY) confirm that they have yet to lose their power of enthralling hundreds of fans, passionately wil’n out in the blistering sun. Between the laughing and smiling they share within the band, and the energy levels that continued to rise and rise until the end of the set, Friendly Fires were absolutely one of the best bands to see all weekend.

Friendly Fires
Edward McFarland, with his curly hair and wild tropical top, (that I want to steal,) unleashed his Mick Jagger swagger in full force on the Bud Light stage.

I decided to see the Black Lips immediately following. Um…I did enjoy parts of their set: their sound wasn’t surprising, as it was practically identical to their recorded sound. Unfortunately, neither was their behavior. Our photog Rubes was vommed on before the first song ended, and although the SECOND band member that followed suit happened to avoid her, it was enough to convince us to give Dom a chance.

Black Lips
Although 2 band members lost their lunches before the end of the first song, electric, hair metal guitar solos and raucous, throaty vocals carried the Black Lips through their late afternoon set on the Playstation Stage.

Dom, the name of the band AND the lead singer, (who I swear I thought was a girl until the very moment he graced the stage :/) is sort of like a nerded-out early 80’s Axl Rose. This is not an insult. I loved watching him slither around the front of the stage, easily navigating his guitar strings and flipping his hair around. He graciously thanked the audience, sincerely exclaiming that they had never played to such a large crowd. I’m a sucker for gratitude, so I stayed and jammed to ‘Jesus Hail Satan,’ ‘Bochica,’ and ‘Living in America.’

DOM
Dom frontman ‘Dom’ expressed his gratitude to what he described as the largest crowd they’d ever played for, performing a energetically sweet, simple and fun set full of gospel-inspired keyboards and sentimental, nasally vocals.

I’ve seen Mayer Hawthorne & the County a handful of times, but I honestly could not resist seeing him woo his wanna-be baby mama’s on the Sony stage. His powerful falsetto glazed everyone over, but I got a little superstitious when the County twinkled into ‘I Wish It Would Rain’ as the Chicago sky became gray and overcast. Luckily they switched gears to my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE COVER EVER, ‘Work to Do.’ Swoon city, population: bazillion.

The Drums played soon after on the Google+ stage. Blonde babyfacer and singer Jonathan Pierce ALWAYS reminds me of Karate Kid bad boy ‘Johnny Lawrence,’ but it’s forgivable. In fact, I kinda like it, as he portrays a flexible robot that is programmed to move to each beat of song. They played a new one, ‘Money,’ and I was quite appreciative of their ability to maintain the nostalgic sound quality that the band is well-known for, while keeping me interested in what is to come.

Drums
Vocal rainbows reminiscent of early Scott Walker arced over the sweaty crowd as the Drums graced us with a set of all things ethereal, swanky, beached out and grunge.

Mick Jones and Big Audio Dynamite were incredibly memorable on the Music Unlimited Stage. I don’t know about you guy, but getting to see a Clash member perform with his more than decent band is a life moment. The cameras zoomed in, displaying the intensity in his eyes and the jagged perfection of his movements.

Changing the pace entirely, I went to see Local Natives on the Sony stage, and depressingly I found myself surrounded by kids, (seriously, as in under 18-ers,) all missing shoes, all covered in mud and ick from the morning’s showers. I do understand the allure of this band: they’re young, they’re insanely talented musicians and vocalists, and they really have the folky oh’s and ah’s down. But after getting swarmed by their filth-covered super fans, I decided to see what Cee-Lo Green had to offer back at the Music Unlimited stage.

Local Natives
Local Natives played to PACKED, ecstatic crowd on the Sony stage, stompin and yellin and honky-tonkin their way through a set of folk-based rock reminiscent of a modern-day Fleetwood Mac.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t much. Although it wasn’t hard to bob along to his cover of the Violent Femmes’ ‘Gone Daddy Gone,’ or the electric mash-up of ‘Welcome to the Jungle’/Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ the only other highlights were his recycling of Gnarls Barkley hits and his bizarro spiky leather football player shoulder pads.

Finally we found our way to the Google+ stage for Lykke Li. As this was one of the most anticipated sets of the day, I was bummed to find the photo pit overflowing. However, I should have known better. Never one to be told no, Rachel Rubes was soon seen elevating above the other photogs, clambering up the barriers to snap some awesome shots of indie rock’s dark angel. The set was slow and steady, building the anticipation with her mild, 50’s sounding love songs, before pulling her crowd down the rabbit hole, as the sun faded and the heat of the day finally began to recede.

Lykke Li
Lykke Li hypnotized her audience with a steady set of throbbing bass, pulsing beats, and her angelic, alto purr.

[photos by Rachel Rubes | post by Jess Bonkers]

READ MORE : MOKB + Lollapalooza 2011 : Festival Overview Part 2

MOKB + Lollapalooza 2011 : Festival Overview Part 1

We arrived in Chicago’s Grant Park for the 20th anniversary of the legendary Lollapalooza music festival, sweltering in the 90degree heat with thousands of eager fans. With 50 acts performing on day one alone, we huffed and puffed our way from one end of the park to the other to bring you sweet deets and killer photos from a who’s who of musical talent, flown in from all over the world for one weekend of musical mayhem and madness.

Due to the festival organizers’ massively confusing media meltdown, it took us a little while to actually begin our day, causing us to miss favorite acts such as Tennis, the Vaccines and Foster the People. We started off at the Playstation stage to catch the Smith Westerns, a band that was on the lips of many throughout the weekend. Although they look a little like teenage boys playing ‘rock star,’ they were madly involved in the entire set, pumping the swollen crowd full of potent adrenalin and jolting rock.

Smith westerns
Chicago’s very own Smith Westerns played an excited, energetic, and inspired set to a full crowd on the Playstation Stage on Friday, pushing out crisp, Beach Boys-ey pop laced with McCartney-esque guitar solos.

Next we caught the Kills on the Bud Light stage, Jamie Hince sexy in tight black jeans and a light blue linen blazer, testing the hormones of every woman in the audience, while Alison Mosshart convinced the crowd to burn through this late-afternoon set right along with her, beguiling with bewitching moves and crushing vocals.

The kills
Alison Mosshart cast wicked spells over the audience, flipping around her sweat-drenched mane, as Jamie Hince played crunchy, aggressive guitar in the late afternoon heat on the Bud Light stage.

To treat our 19year-old former selves, we trekked across the expanse of the festival grounds for an early evening viewing of A Perfect Circle. Along the way we passed countless local food vendors, (kudos Lolla planners,) a kid-friendly area complete with a stage of its very own, a free water station and what seemed like miiiiiles of port-o-lets. Clearly, hydration and bathroom facilities were amply covered. The crowd gathering around the Music Unlimited stage was beyond ready for Maynard James Keenan and company to launch, and when they took the stage, I found myself in complete awe. James Iha, with cropped gray hair and a natural aura of rock-god class, took my breath away. Ranging from popular 90’s-era Mer de Noms jams to a cover of the John Lennon’s classic ‘Imagine,’ along with many hits from their later body of work, always pushing out their signature sound, smooth and solid, with an intricately aged ability.

A Perfect Circle
Maynard James Keenan stood elevated at the back of the stage, as A Perfect Circle gave us an intense set, including a long, dirge-y version of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ on the Music Unlimited stage.

I could barely contain myself as I mosied over to the Sony stage for Crystal Castles, standing amidst hundreds of fans covered in body paint and glitter. Even though the band chose not to allow photographers in the photo pit, our girl Rachel Rubes managed to climb a hill and snap some truly memorable shots. Miss Alice Glass refused to play by the rules herself, stretching her mic cord to its limit as she jumped the barriers to surf through the (safely) rabid crowd. The security guards pulled her out each time, only for her to rebel again and again, catapulting her gangly limbs into the swarm of fans. There were some technical difficulties with her mic, but watching her pounce onto the drumkit, swaying to and fro, as the cymbals crashed with shimmers made this set one of the most notable of the day.

Crystal Castles
Alice Glass surfs through the crowd during ‘Baptism,’ as the hooded beat bandit Ethan Kath electrifies from behind his cavalry of electronics on the Sony stage.

Headliners for the day included Muse, Coldplay, Ratatat and Girl Talk. British rockers Muse electrified the audience, and as they segued into a spot-on rendition of Hendrix’s emotive version of our national anthem, fireworks erupted overhead. And although I mildly scoffed at the thought of catching Coldplay, I was completely spell-bound by Chris Martin’s finesse, treating his MANY fans to old faves from the ‘Parachutes’ and ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head’ days, such as ‘Yellow,’ ‘Everything’s Not Lost,’ and ‘Back to the Start.’ We didn’t want to miss Ratatat’s INCREDIBLE stage show under the stars, so we pulled ourselves from the Bud Light stage to see this Brooklyn duo’s out-of-control, instrumental display of cosmic brightness. The stage was flanked by transparent hologram screens, which depicted a thoughtful assortment of various images that changed from song to song. Considering the level of notoriety that the other headliners carry, I was pleasantly surprised at how packed the tree-lined Google + stage was, and as the set got crazier and even more electrifying, unsuspecting wanderers found themselves glued to the glowstick-riddled dance party.

Ratatat
Shredding every instrument they put in their hands, Ratatat electrified amidst hologram screens depicting many modern psychedelic montages on the Google + stage.

[photos by Rachel Rubes | post by Jess Bonkers]

In Action : Bonnaroo 2011

Another June and another missed Bonnaroo for me. Luckily, MOKB photog Rachel Rubes is down at Bonnaroo capturing all the action. We’ll try to keep up with her because it looks like she is having a great time with some great bands.

Sleigh Bells:

Wavves:

School Of Seven Bells:

Band Of Skulls:

Video Recap : MOKB Presents… MarchFourth Marching Band

My good friend Matthew Chandler was on hand to video and piece together this exciting account of this past Friday’s MOKB Presents MarchFourth Marching Band show at The White Rabbit Cabaret. This is some pretty excellent work just using an iPhone and iMovie!

M4 packed out the venue and showed that “band geeks” definitely win out in the end.

Check out Matt Chandler’s show write-up! Follow him on Twitter.

MP3 : MarchFourth Marching Band – Space Hole (thx to Quiet Color!)