Annual Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, TX.

Festival Preview: Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest 2011 represents a severe case of quality overload. In its 6th year, the festival hoards the best and most innovative artists across a variety of genres and throws them into a three-day, multi-venue melting pot of good times. They’ve even done you the service of splitting the schedule roughly along genre lines, so if you’re a one-horse kind of listener, you can still catch the day you care about on the cheap (the $55 single day passes comes out to under $2 per band billed). We don’t discriminate, though: here are (just a few of) our recommendations for can’t-miss shows over the course of the weekend.

Flying Lotus

11/6/11 – 6:55pm – Blue Stage

There’s nothing I can say about Flying Lotus without sounding like a broken record. I’ve tried to put every single one of my friends onto my favorite current artist, a mission that picked up some reinvigorated urgency after he killed it at Treasure Island. Stephen Ellison is advancing hip hop and clearly plays for his fans (as evidenced by him offering to play a free afterparty when he felt his TI set was too short).

Dan Deacon

11/5/11 – 4:30pm – Blue Stage

Dan Deacon‘s live show is a magical bubble recessed from the pesky realities of the outside world. Deacon’s charismatic, elaborate crowd-jockeying is the thing of legends – expect to participate in a venue-wide dance-off or Deacon-led meditation session before the night is over. His antics may sound corny, but his goofy persuasiveness will win you over in the end.

Reggie Watts

11/4/11 – 7:15pm – Yellow Stage

You need to see this show because once it’s done, you can rest assured it’ll never be replicated again. Reggie Watts employs live looping and soulful improvisation to ensure no two sets are the same. Oh, and he’s hilarious and will probably be wearing the best sweater at the festival.


11/5/11 – 3:45pm – Blue Stage

Similar to (and influenced by) The Grey Album, which featured Jay-Z rapping over beats from Beatles songs, Wugazi is the Fugazi/Wu-Tang marriage that becomes something greater than its sources of inspiration. The project traces back to Doomtree‘s Cecil Otter, who will be playing a separate set under his own name as well.

Blonde Redhead

11/6/11 – 8:45pm – Orange Stage

There are plenty of acts I want to see on day one – tUnE-YarDs, M83, Girls – but Blonde Redhead is perhaps the most compelling. They’re not exactly under the radar, but it’s always been a little strange that these veterans (since 1993) have stayed in the shadows of newer acts they certainly influence. If you love anything that could reasonably (or unreasonably) be lumped into the “art rock” category, you’ll want to catch this to source its origins.

Also See…

We don’t want to inundate you, but there’s plenty more to be seen than what we have here. Check out the full Fun Fun Fun Fest lineup here.