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Fun Fun Fun Fest is over, but we’ll always have the flying tacos

Peter Mongillo
Darryl (D.M.C.) McDaniels of the hip hop group Run D.M.C. gets the crowd moving at the Orange stage at Fun Fun Fun Fest.

Fun Fun Fun Fest episode VII is over — that sound you hear is just the ringing in your ears from three days of punk, metal, hip hop, indie rock, circus people chugging beer, airborne tacos and David Cross. Below, a few highlights.

PETER MONGILLO

Public Image Ltd. John Lydon brought his fantastic psycho persona to Austin, and in between his strange, choppy dance moves, he made no secret of his dislike of what he was hearing from the monitors on Saturday. Everything sounded fine on the ground, however. His menacing growl atop the band’s searing post-punk couldn’t have been further removed from the soul-bearing Americana of the Head and the Heart, who played immediately before PiL.

Valient Thorr. “Rock n’ roll saviors from Venus” (also North Carolina) who “crossed the solar system to warn Earthlings about the error of our ways” raged against the dark side with fiery Southern rock-and-metal fury. Bearded frontman Thorr Himself was part inspirational speaker — “this song goes out to being able to kiss whoever the (expletive) you want” — part Jerry Lee Lewis, running in place, climbing to the top of the lighting rig and then into the crowd, where he beckoned the faithful to the ground and up to the sky.

DEBORAH SENGUPTA STITH

Run-DMC. The whole show was a super-hype old-school throwdown, but watching DMC, who has struggled for more than a decade with a debilitating vocal condition, climb onto a speaker stack in front of the raucous crowd and snatch back his crown as the “King of Rock” was incredibly inspiring.

Icona Pop. It occurred to me while watching the women in this Swedish electro-pop duo stir sugary harmonies into defiant post-riot grrl power pop, pausing occasionally to program beats on their laptops and drum machines, that if this is the version of girl pop that my daughters grow up with, the kids will totally be OK.

CHAD SWIATECKI

Refused. Whether they’re about to be gone again for good or just taking a post-reunion breather, the Swedish hardcore punks’ penultimate show on Saturday night was powerful, dynamic, loud, sweaty and felt like an Important Event in every way it needed to. Also, singer Dennis Lyxzen should do an instructional video on high kicks and microphone tricks for other lead singers.

(Expletive) Up. When he’s not growling at the top of his lungs, singer Damian Abraham is a punk-rock teddy bear, sharing his mic with fans, helping crowd surfers land safely over the barricade and giving shout-outs to Austin faves Explosions In The Sky and Iron Age. This Toronto band is at what is, so far, a creative zenith and harnessed it all for 50 thrilling minutes on Sunday.

ERIC PULSIFER

Devin. Wild Brooklyn rocker Devin doesn’t do anything new, but he does it so much better than his peers. Think early Rolling Stones or the Stooges or a less image-conscious Strokes at double-speed. Devin’s Friday Fun Fun Fun Fest Nites show at Mohawk with Yukon Blonde, who were a notable absence from the festival itself, was my favorite show in a weekend of stellar shows.

The Yellow Stage. For those willing to wander into the Yellow Stage tent, a smorgasbord of comedy, independent music and insane miscellanea awaited. Where else in the world could you see David Cross, Nomeansno, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Saul Williams, Diamond Rugs and all the weirdness in between — like an attempt at breaking the world record for most bubbles blown with a scorpion in one’s mouth or an R-rated magic show? The answer is Fun Fun Fun Fest, and the Yellow Stage lineup captured the eclectic un-fest essence of the weekend better than any other.

LUKE QUINTON

Santigold played my favorite set of the festival. Her dancers, a horse costume and her band in uniform are pure pop music gold. But most importantly, Santigold’s voice and on-stage charisma were right on. You forget how many deadly hooks she has in her skinny repertoire, and they hit the spot on Friday.

Free, fresh water. I’m not exactly sure why it has attendants, but the water fill-up station was the only reason I survived 8- to 10-hour days.

The New Movement. I caught a rap battle and part of the veggie hot dog competition, and each time the visit did something good for my brain. Chris Trew and his crew could teach most bands a thing or two about stage banter.

In brief: Even people who don’t dance danced to Girl Talk, Japandroids’ energy and volume were staggering, and Balmorhea, Givers and Why? all left me wanting more.

SHANNON McGARVEY

Although Daughn Gibson and Hannibal Buress were my most anticipated acts of the festival, the final night performances of Explosions in the SkyandEdward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros were among my favorites.

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