Not only did the city of Austin approve a 3rd day of Fun this year, but the people over at FFF6 tacked on an extra 30 or so Nite shows…for free. As if a couple days of ear, liver and brain abuse wasn’t enough, this year is going take a whole new level of stamina. And as if to prove to myself I can still party like it’s 1997, I decided to start my Fun Fun Fun experience with a ‘heavier than thou’ metal bill at Red 7.
The Fucking Wrath
To describe this band as sludge or stoner metal would do them a great disservice. Sure, there are the obvious Sabbath riffs and there are times they bring to mind those Southern masters in Mastodon, Kylesa and Crowbar, but there is also a punk rock attitude going on here. These guys don’t wallow in the haze, this isn’t music to smoke a joint and casually bang you hang to — you need to stay on guard, because when they decide to put the pedal to the metal, these guys will decimate anything in their way. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of their new album, out now on Tee Pee, but seeing these guys live was a great start to the night, and the political Low Brow was a highlight. ‘Sit in parks all you want, but the only way to change shit is through violence…I’m not saying kill anyone, but…‘ The crowd at Red 7 wasn’t in the mood for violence, failing to even get a pit going, but The Fucking Wrath did their job of setting the set for Hull, as band they promised would ‘blow your eyeballs out of your butthole‘.
Hull are an interesting act from Brooklyn. Five dudes lined up in a row — 3 guitars, bass and drums all front and center. Long-haired and tattooed, short haired and clean cut, curly hair and striped sweater — only in Brooklyn would you find a band like this. But all aesthetics aside, what these guys are doing is truly unique. After a short soundcheck, the assault began. A wall of guitar, dual and sometimes triple growl, and a drummer with inhuman abilities. The blur of drum sticks, the vibrations through my skull and the fucked up time signatures kept me off balance throughout their 40 minute set, but it also kept me interested. No matter how difficult these extremely progressive tracks were to wrap my head around, I couldn’t walk away. The Matt Pike influence was obvious, but this was Pike on speed or LSD. This is another band that I find difficult on record, but even the 15 minute epic Earth From Water kept my eyes glued to this bizarre collection of people on stage — and I continued to bang my head just slightly out of step with the bizarre transitions. Thankfully my eyeballs were still in tact after their set, but Hull definitely made an impression.
Joel Grind looks like such a nice kid. He has been performing as Toxic Holocaust for well over a decade now, yet he still looks like a teenager. But don’t let that blonde hair and babyface fool you, when Grind picks up the guitar and starts spewing anti-religious blackened thrash through the mic, there is no doubt that looks are deceiving. This year’s excellent Conjure and Command was the first I’d heard of Toxic Holocaust, and it is the first album where Grind recorded with a true band instead of taking on everything himself, as he had done in the past. The three piece on stage last night were tight as hell, and although the set was a little short for my taste, Toxic Holocaust lived up to my lofty expectations. I was as excited to see this band as any other, Nites or otherwise. Taking the stage a half past midnight, it didn’t take long for the Portland based band to heat things up on an extremely cold Austin night. Not asking for, but demanding a pit, Grind got things started with Metal Attack and then covered the past decade in a 12 song set. Each track with its own dedication. ‘to the metal punks…for all the emo motherfuckers…for all the bands tonight…to all you scumbags‘ Toxic Holocaust have a way of sounding like the late-80’s while also sounding completely original. I Am The Disease, War Is Hell, In The Name of Science…these songs are just as good as anything that was happening back in the day. It’s metal like this that made me a fan in the first place, and it’s so good to hear it again for the first time. It’s early in the weekend, but I believe Toxic Holocaust will be one of the best sets of this festival.
All music aside, I do think this dude might have been the star of the night. Staging diving, stripping, moving like Pee Wee Herman, pitting and breakdancing — nobody was having as much fun as this guy!
Toxic Holocaust Setlist:
Death Brings Death
I Am Disease
War Is Hell
In The Name of Science
Nuke The Cross
Agony Of The Damned
The Lord Of The Wasteland