Festival goers were greeted by by warm temperatures Saturday, the first day of the 4th annual Fun Fun Fun Fest. Something notable and worth mentioning was the layout of the Orange and Black Stages. A huge platform, divided equally into halves expedited setup time between acts.
The first act we caught was the Royal Bangs, a poppy indie orchestration permeated by electro beats. The quintet who hails from Knoxville, Tennessee recorded their full-length debut “We Breed Champions,” independently and released on Audio Eagle records May of last year. Their fun songs had hipsters bobbing their heads even before indie rockers Crystal Antlers played on the opposite side of the shared platform.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Vega and Neon Indian front man Alan Palomo and ask him a few questions, here’s what he had to say:
CC: How was Neon Indian conceived?One of the highlights of the Saturday evening was New York post-hardcore rockband Les Savy Fav. The set began with “The Equestrian” off 2007 release Let’s Stay Friends. Front man Tim Harrington emerged in a sea monster or “Creature from the Black Lagoon”-esque metallic costume. Less than a minute of commencing, he peeled off the mask to reveal a black metal fence design painted on his face. He sang a few more lines before entering the crowd, where he was greeted enthusiastically by fans. By the third song, Harrington had rubbed fake blood on his torso and smeared brown paint on his back and lower end which could have suggested a result of an upset stomach.
AP: The actual conception started with the song “I Should Have Taken Acid with You.” I had this intense dream where I had taken this potent psychedelic dream and right when it was kicking in, I woke up and actually had this very disorienting morning, so I texted Alicia about it and she was like ‘do you want to take some acid.’ So we set some time aside to do so, although I wasn't able to because I was up in Dallas mixing somebody’s records so I wasn’t able to come down and I felt really bad about it so a month later I wrote this tongue-in-cheek song but still sincere apology that was based on this similar sensibilities we shared.
CC: What is the origin of the name?
AP: It’s the only band name I can’t take credit for. It’s actually kind of an inside joke from high school. Shortly after graduating, I started the band Ghosthustler and my long time friend Alicia in mock retaliation created a band called “Neon Indian.” She made this Myspace page which sat there for years because she doesn’t know how to play any instruments. Given that much of the subject matter of Psychic Chasms hearts back to that time, it makes perfect sense to name it after the pretend band that never actually happened.
CC: And what influences your musical style of writing?
AP: Around the time I wrote the whole album, it was such a weird introspective time because I moved to Austin and I didn’t really have too many friends or as many as I thought I did and I didn’t have a car so I mainly just spent my time indoors and it threw me through this self-reflective loop. Through that stir-craziness, it served as a weird audio documentary or soundtrack to these memories that are buried in experience. I kind of wanted to translate that into music and that’s why it has these buried sensations, sounds are constantly changing in the song, but musically I would say it would be influenced by a lot of weird child-hood pop songs.
CC: So what happened to the secret show you guys were playing tonight?
AP: Aw man, the thing is we had a show commitment for the rest of the tour in Lubbock, which is an intensely long drive. So unfortunately, it was just a logistical nightmare to play the show, do that little radio thing and drive to Lubbock. It sucks because we really want to the play the show.
His entertaining antics drew cheers, laughs and a lot of dropped jaws. At one point he tried to take the camera from a videographer, from whom he found much resistance. After the attempt, he clumsily crawled atop the crowd where he proceeded to stick his tongue down an audience-member’s throat. A rendition of the Silver Jew’s “Punks in Beerlight” followed. Towards the end of the show, Harrington brought out a 10 foot ladder which was initially placed in the crowd and somehow shifted into a flat walking plank. A member of the audience joined Harrington and licked his sweaty protruding stomach---jaws dropped and many gagged.
The evening ended with alternative rockers The Jesus Lizard on the Black Stage. Upon getting on stage lead singer David Yow greeted fans with a snarky “Hello Dallas!” before diving head first into the crowd. Louder than last week’s Dinosaur Jr.’s show, we wished we had brought earplugs and feared for our lives as a mosh pit loomed and beer cans flew every which way.