What better way to end Fun Fun Fun Fest 2015 than a jazz concert? It’s not like motivational speaking from Andrew W.K. or twerking lessons from Big Freedia are any more (or less?) eccentric programming choices for Austin’s most unhinged music festival.
While Ms. Lauryn Hill, Odesza and Venom closed out the big Orange, Blue and Black stages, respectively, the humble lil’ Yellow Stage tent said “See ya next year” with Canadian nu-jazz group BadBadNotGood. Best known of late for “Sour Soul,” their excellent collaboration with Ghostface Killah, there wasn’t a Wu Tang member or much genre mashing Sunday night. Just smooth, buttery tenor sax and Tasmanian Devil drums showed up, with a hint of a rock band’s charisma.
It’s a testament to the power of FFF that a Sunday night closer can sound like a montage of Brooklyn subway scenes from movies.
The emotional gamut was still run. Icy blue lights frosting a nighttime chill eased the set into the gate amid cool-guy sax riffs and slinky cymbals. Drums veered punk at one point. There was a cover of Flying Lotus’ “Pretty Boy Strut.” Sometimes the players came together to sound like rock bottom, and other times euphoria.
Consistent throughout the set: a note of psychedelia. Perhaps buoyed by their incongruity with the rest of the fest’s lineup, BadBadNotGood asked to take us to another galaxy, and embraced the pure ecstatic thrill of their moment with every count-in. Screams were urged. They played under projections on the tent’s ceiling that ranged from acid-colored static to outer space starscapes to pulsing organisms under a microscope.
There weren’t hooks or electro-beats or twerks or stage dives. But BadBadNotGood served good natured cool to wind down a wild weekend. At what other set would people cheer at an encore for a sexy sax line?