Greetings from Austin, where the weather is clear and warm for this weekend's Fun Fun Fun Fest, arguably the worst-named, most enjoyable music festival in North America. Over the next two days, some 60 bands from the indie, hip-hop and hard rock realms will fill downtown's Waterloo Park with all sorts of sonic goodness; the Austin Chronicle has dubbed it "Austin's Festivus: the festival for the rest of us" (as in: not ACL or SXSW.)
Kicking things off last night at the Mohawk, local entertainment blog Austinist hosted a bloggers roundtable, including such indie stalwarts as My Aquarium Drunkard, Idolator and My Old Kentucky Blog, along with representatives from establishment pubs Spin and Billboard. For over an hour, they shared war stories about trying to stay relevant and avoid becoming a rote showlist, while somehow managing to pay the bills. The Spin and Billboard reps were simultaneously smug and desperate, freely admitting they were overseeing the start of their own demise. After, they took questions from the audience, most of whom were fellow bloggers and freelance writers trying to figure out how to make money at this game. (My advice: get a day job.)
"What is this?" a local asked.
"It's a panel of music bloggers talking about...blogging."
"What the hell do I care about that?" he screamed. "What the hell has happened to Austin? I just wanted to come out and see a show!"
He stormed out, which meant he missed the subsequent spectacle of the Minor Mishap Marching Band: a 25 piece local outfit who whipped up a circus-like atmosphere via a battery trumpets, trombones, horns and percussion, played with the eastern European flavor of NYC faves Hungry March Band and Slavic Soul Party. They paraded through the patio with flags and parasols, eventually climbing the stairs for an impromptu jam up on the rooftop lounge.
They were followed by My Milky Way Arms, who played reverb punk sent to the next level by a middle-aged trumpet player dancing around the stage like a man possessed. I would have liked to have stayed for more, but with a big day in front of me, sleep was a much higher priority. (More pics below.)