Dispatch: Fun Fun Fun Fest Day Two

Gary Numan
click to enlarge JAIME MONZON
Jaime Monzon
In 1979, London adventurer Gary Numan pumped out the spectacular "Cars," an impeccable pop tune whose bouncy synths and awesomely-corny whiplash-snare effect helped usher in the idea of commercially successful electronic music. For a crowd mostly familiar with "Cars" and his similarly excellent Pleasure Principle debut, the Numan on stage was a stylistic surprise, more nu-metal than New Wave. Pulling from his recent, Reznor-like Splinter, Numan's new work sounds like an industrial EMD, with overdriven guitar pummeling its way to the forefront.

Fred Armisen / Iceage
click to enlarge JAIME MONZON
Jaime Monzon
Portlandia fans packed the small-ish yellow stage to see Fred Armisen, then promptly left when they found out he was doing a music set. In a weird caricature of a UK punk band, Armisen put on his best Strummer accent for the gig, pounding through mid-tempo '80s punk.

It seemed like the bit was intended to take light-hearted jabs at Austin, with inter-song banter pointing out the oddities of the city. But none of it was specific enough to really land (unlike The Daily Show's recent work), delivering closer to Armisen's bland SNL days than his cutting material with Carrie Brownstein.

It's a shame that Armisen was doing a pastiche version of European punk when the real thing was on display a few stages over in Iceage. Elias R√łnnenfelt of the Copenhagen quartet spat in his slurred, baritone yelp, moping around on the stage like a punk rock Hamlet. The band performed their new record Plowing Into the Field of Love, bringing their third LP to life with stunning results. On record, Love is a disorienting thing, with odd disruptions in time and tone. But when the young band performs live, the sheer weight of Love takes over, as the loud, clean guitar tone howls with anger.

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