FFF Fest: Day 2!

Ritzy Bryan of JOy Formidable sings into the mic

Saturday at Fun Fun Fun Fest felt like pictures you see of mud-soaked supermodels at Glastonbury Festival in England, except for the rain. And the supermodels. So mostly it was just windy and dusty. But that didn't stop us from seeing a couple of great acts!

First up was the Joy Formidable, a Welsh noise-rock band fronted by singer-guitarist Ritzy Bryan. This was my first time even hearing of the band, although it turns out I've heard their music before. The set yesterday converted me. Bryan's guitar playing is fierce and frantic but precise, and her voice sounds record-ready, even after complaining about getting a mouthful of dirt every time she tried to sing. The music is loud, but the lyrics and tone are shoe-gazey (which explains the Twilight soundtrack nod, probably). Bassist Rhydian Dafydd (I LOVE WELSH NAMES) said "fuck" about 25 times per 15 seconds he would talk to the crowd between songs, which endeared him well to the audience. And finally I should probably mention that their set inexplicably ended with giant blow-up cat heads. I had headed to the next-door stage to see tUnE-yArDs by that point (see below), but here's a fuzzy picture to give you an idea. Whatever Joy Formidable is about, I'm looking to find out.

a shot of some giant, black cat heads from the Joy Formidable shot from the side

From Joy Formidable I walked to the neighboring stage and waited to see tUnE-yArDs. I was thinking she might need some introduction, but the size of her draw is making me re-think that.

a big crowd in front of the Tune Yards

Merril Garbus is jubilation, personified. She looked ecstatic to be playing, and her energy got all over everything. "It's a suspenseful moment for you!" she said while starting loops the audience couldn't hear until they were done and put together. Suspense and awe are both critical parts of a tUnE-yArDs performance; Garbus jumps between drums, ukulele, pedals, vocals, and a collection of glass soda bottles laying down samples, and somehow they all come together to form incredibly full-sounding experimental pop. She and guitarist Nate Brenner performed songs from both her albums, crowd favorites being "Gangsta" and "Bizness" from this year's w h o k i l l.

Merril Garbus, wearing purple face paint, sings while holding drum sticks

The clouds rolled in during her set, and her drums could be heard all the way across the river. Crowd favorite of the day!

Mates of State played a packed show at the Parish at midnight Saturday night. Check back tomorrow for notes from their show, and a final round-up up FFF Fest acts!

(all photos by Katie Presley)

by Katie Presley
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Bitch Media's Music Editor. As heard on BBC, CBC, and NPR's All Songs Considered and, very occasionally, Pop Culture Happy Hour. I've always wanted to be a talking head in a feminist documentary or commercial, so if someone out there can make that dream a reality, I'm here for it.

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