Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013: 5 Must-See Acts

Five SPIN editors pick things to watch watch watch

The Locust
The Locust Photo by Trixie Textor/Getty Images
WRITTEN BY
SPIN Staff

The eighth annual Fun Fun Fun fest is set to take over Austin this weekend with six stages of bands, comedians, celebrity DJs, skateboarders catching air, and the one and only taco cannon. With more than 100 acts between three days — including Snoop Dogg, Slayer, M.I.A., and Patton Oswalt — we asked five SPIN editors to pick their one act you shouldn't miss. The jury is still out think on whether 60 percent of this list being aging punks is a reflection of the great curatorial abilities of the fest or just our particular staff...

The Locust
If someone's never seen the Locust live, the general reaction when the San Diego-birthed underground icons start to play their often minute-or-less spastic provocations is "HOLYFUCKINGSHITCORE!" This is immediately followed by either mass wincing or rictus grinning or random heckling or quadruple-rainbow-stoked bro-shrieking. There's Justin "JP" Pearson's spine-rattling death-screech vocalese, sometimes in terrifying unison with his bandmates; Bobby Bray's deliriously concussive, shrapnel-in-your-braincase guitar, Joey Karam's projectile synth retch, and drummer Gabe Serbian's Olympian blastbeat slapstick. Then there's the trademark full-body, skintight, arthropod-chic costumes — created by Los Angeles designer Ben Warwas in a variety of colors and styles (so who knows what you'll get at FFF!). The songs themselves span (and gag on) new wave, grind, jazz, and punk (the latter word actually tattooed on JP's lower gums) — from Devo and Suicide to Carcass and Orthrelm, yet are still unimpeachably the Locust. After being inactive for much of the past five years (though band members have played in a dizzying assortment of side projects), the foursome are now threatening to return in earnest. Request '90s "power violence" oldie "Cattle Mutilation" or later classics like "Priest with the Sexually Transmitted Diseases Get Out of My Bed" and surrender to the swarm. The buddy system is recommended. CHARLES AARON

Killer Mike / Photo by Loren Wohl

Killer Mike
Because sometimes you just need to hear a hulking, jovially furious dude in a Ronald Reagan mask rap the following: "I leave you with four words / I'm glad Reagan dead." Bolstered by last year's astounding boom-bap-for-the-Occupy-generation bromide R.A.P. Music (helmed by Run the Jewels cohort EL-P, who's not on the bill, but you never know), Killer Mike is an underground Atlanta king turned nationwide-festival sensation who excels at cheerful, infectious, life-affirming rage, sociopolitical and otherwise. (If album highlight "Untitled" had a title, it would certainly be unprintable, and would probably get him arrested.) There are never enough rap options at fests like this, so Mike's often left to carry all that weight himself. And he does. ROB HARVILLA

Television / Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images

Television
A weirdly timely moment for a band formed 40 years ago. There's a whole new school of art-rockers that owe their existence to Television's ability to make noodling curlicues seem punk (Kurt Vile, Screaming Females) or give throbbing, repetitive, deadpan actual aggression (Parquet Courts, White Lung). Their second wave of acolytes is back in a big way (Pavement, Thurston and Kim's new bands). They're headlining one of All Tomorrow's Parties' final holiday weekends, where they will be playing their landmark Marquee Moon in its entirety — FFF may not be so lucky, but they've been doing six or seven out of eight songs in recent sets anyway. And the recent death of Lou Reed has us all reminiscing over the spirit of CBGB's. Hey, it is the "Golden Age of Television," right? CHRISTOPHER R. WEINGARTEN

Cloud Nothings

Cloud Nothings
When these punk geeks released last year's fantastically aggrieved Attack on Memory, they almost sounded as if they'd done some Robert Johnson deal-at-the-crossroads shit, such was the quantum leap forward from the band's self-titled 2011 effort. Frontman Dylan Baldi and Co. has a new album in the can, due in early 2013, and odds are they'll be playing songs from that upcoming LP at Fun Fun Fun. Go and see if the Cleveland quartet is still moving in the right direction. DAVID MARCHESE

FLAG / Photo by Alice Baxley

FLAG
When it comes to the competing versions of seminal So Cal punks Black Flag, this FLAG is the only one worth raising. Led by dreadlocked Circle Jerks/OFF! madman Keith Morris and their longest running bassist (1977-1983) Chuck Dukowski, these guys are still raging with a frenetic fury that seems devoted to hurrying all of civilization to inevitable doom. While those other guys waste time on lawsuits over logos, FLAG have been devoted to one thing: the music. Well, that, and making crowds of aging hipsters and the young curious feel like they're going out in a blaze of fist-pumping, body-slamming glory. In addition to one-time Flaggers Dez Cadena (1980-1981) and Bill Stevenson (1983-1985), they've got Descendants shredder Stephen Egerton to fill out their ranks. This is history as gut-quaking, fire-balling, punk fucking viscera. CHRIS MARTINS

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