Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fun Fun Fun Fest 2010: The year Brandi is reminded of her age and her mortality

Fun Fun Fun Fest 2010 was the fifth year of a music festival that we are so lucky to have in Austin. It has a markedly more DIY (in the best way possible) and less corporate feel than the better known ACL music festival and the programming is more punk rock centric (hip hop, indie, metal and electronic music are also well represented). This year along with great acts like The Gories, Strike Anywhere, The Hold Steady, OFF!, Peelander Z, "Weird Al" Yankovic, The Bronx, Bad Religion, Deerhunter, The Casualties and The Dwarves---the Descendents were booked as a last minute replacement for Devo (who are also so GREAT) because they had to cancel due to a band member's injury.

The Descendents are a band that I loved as a young Brandi and still love as an older Brandi. My love affair with punk rock started around my 14th birthday and has waxed and waned over the years, but it is a genre of music I hope I will always have in the mix. It is rare that a band's music endures for me over really long periods of time. Not to imply that I am fickle, it's just that as we change and stuff happens/is happening in our lives certain music may speak to us more at one time than another. The Descendents wrote songs about food and girls and coffee mugs and not wanting to grow up and turn into boring jerks. They wrote songs about being yourself and questioning authority.

I may know myself better now than I did when I was 14, but I still sometimes have a hard time being myself and I am self employed primarily because I don't like being told what to do. I also really like food.

So, here's where I get to the part about being reminded of my age and my mortality. Because this was possibly going to be my only chance to see the Descendents play live I decided I needed to be near the front of the stage for the show. This is something younger Brandi would have done and therefore older Brandi--having been very in touch with younger Brandi over the past 48 hours---did and the result was the opposite of cool. The minute the Descendents started playing the crowd crush was dramatic to say the least, and I quickly found my feet literally off the ground (and I am really tall) as my body became not my own as it was absorbed into a mass of movement. The feeling was one of total lack of control and since I was pressed between what felt like 1000 lbs of weight I could not get the space or leverage to throw an elbow as I so jubilantly recall doing in my younger years. I realize now that when I was going to shows as a teenager I was often one of maybe 50-100 people in the crowd and that's totally easy to maneuver ---Sunday night was not easy to maneuver and along with not really being able to focus on the show, I was about to lose it if I did not get out of there. It is also worth mentioning it smelled really bad---really, really bad, which was weird because there was so much dust in my nose and it was not very hot outside.  I was able to grab the boyfriend just long enough to yell in his ear that I was getting out of there and that I wished him luck and good fortune.  Amazingly, once my mind was made up I successfully escaped the crush of the crowd pretty quickly and found a very civilized spot with a great view and proceeded to have my mind blown by one of the most fun shows I have seen in a long time. The boyfriend also escaped unscathed.
The crowd that would later crush me
Descendents at FFF

The whole FFF weekend was really great and even though I was reminded of my age and my mortality---that's ok. Sometimes I need reminding.