After last year's Fun Fun Fun Fest closed with a huge performance from thrash metal legends Slayer (and an equally attention-getting set from Danzig earlier in the weekend), festival organizers James Moody and Graham Williams of Transmission Entertainment shifted their focus.
Although indie rock/pop bands including Spoon and Passion Pit also headlined, booking another huge metal act would have cemented Fun Fun Fun's reputation as a festival that presents harder fare as its main event.
"It should change every year, because I would never want this thing to be labeled as a metal or a hard-core fest," Moody says.
They delivered on that change this year with a big name from another world, rap pioneers Run-DMC, which they announced last week. The group, who haven't performed since the death of founding DJ Jam Master Jay in 2002, is the kind of reunion that has helped Fun Fun Fun grow from a relatively small, one-day event at Waterloo Park to a three-day festival at Auditorium Shores.
Groups that are broken up or no longer active, including the Murder City Devils and Hot Snakes, will routinely perform at the fest. In previous years, a lot of those reunions happened on the festival's black stage, which hosts mostly punk and metal acts.
"The way we look at things, (booking Run-DMC) doesn't change our identity at all," Moody says. "Run-DMC is the Slayer of this year. Next year it could be Sigur Ros; it could be Flaming Lips doing ‘Dark Side of the Moon.' "
Run-DMC isn't the first hip-hop group to play Fun Fun Fun, which has featured Public Enemy, Pharoahe Monch and Odd Future, among others, in recent years. This year, however, hip-hop will play a more central role.
"We focused on hip-hop and hard-core as two genres that mainstream music festivals weren't willing to focus on," Moody says. "We've been booking Slick Rick and Pharcyde; the Run-DMC thing makes total sense."
De La Soul, Public Image Ltd, Santigold and Sharon Van Etten are among the other bands that will play Fun Fun Fun Fest from Nov. 2 to Nov. 4. As it has in the past, the festival, now in its seventh year, will offer performances on four color-coded stages; after several "leaks," the full schedule was announced late last week.
Among the acts on the Black Stage are Against Me!, reunited Swedish hard-core band Refused and Austin metal group the Sword.
In addition to De La Soul and Run-DMC, A$AP Rocky, Danny Brown, Girl Talk and Tanlines will play the Blue Stage.
Popular acts on the Orange Stage include Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Santigold, and Explosions in the Sky. Eugene Mirman, Hannibal Buress and Jon Benjamin perform on the Yellow Stage.
For Austin's live music audience, many of the bands on the lineup might be familiar from recent performances at Mohawk, which Moody owns, and Red 7, another club that Transmission frequently books. Moody says that seeing how people react to bands at those clubs throughout the year helps them to decide who to bring back for Fun Fun Fun Fest.
"Be able to look at activity during South by Southwest or Free Week and be like, ‘God, people are really loving this band, these guys are really killing it right now,' no one else sees that," Moody says.
Another round of tickets for the festival are on sale at funfunfunfest.com .
Lovejoy's closing. Lovejoy's, the Neches Street purveyors of great beer and music and refuge from the nearby insanity that is East Sixth Street, will close next month.
Owner Eric Wolf announced the news on the bar's Facebook page: "After struggling for the last few years with rising costs and decreasing revenues, we can no longer afford to keep the doors open at 604 Neches," he wrote. Wolf adds he doesn't know what his next move will be.
In brief: John Prine will perform at Bass Concert Hall on Sept. 29. Alejandro Escovedo will open. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through the Texas Box Office and texasperforming arts.org.
Contact Peter Mongillo at firstname.lastname@example.org; 445-3696