A Series of Questions for the Two Women Who Thought They Were Seeing Modest Mouse Instead of King Diamond at Fun Fun Fun Fest
Why did you think everyone around you was wearing corpse paint?
Photo by Chad Wadsworth
Music festivals are confusing. Aside from being bombarded by rampant branding, overpriced food, overpriced drinks, overpriced merch, bros, security, wristband tanlines, the near-limitless types of assholes who attend, and the soul-crushing sadness of watching once-relevant bands pretending to like each other to collect a paycheck, your days are also dictated by a series of brief, geographically specific time blocks.
Sometimes, your favorite band is scheduled to play the Monster Energy Condom Stage at 4:45 while your other favorite band is scheduled to play the Absolut-Flavored K-Y E-Cig Stage at 4:50. WHAT IS A MUSIC FAN TO DO? Aside from being put in a Sophie’s Choice-type of situation, it’s also very disorienting. Sure, festivals usually provide maps, but when you’ve been daydrinking all afternoon, how the hell are you supposed to make sense of an archaic fold-out piece of paper like some sort of prehistoric Midwestern tourist?
The two women standing in front of me at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin this weekend seemed to have been hit particularly hard by the perils of festival confusion.
For nearly an hour, metal legend King Diamond’s extensive crew turned the festival's Black Stage into a theatrically ornate House of Satan for King's headlining set, complete with multi-level platforms, an iron gate, and all kinds of demonic dressings. And for nearly an hour, the two women waited in front of me along with thousands of King Diamond fans. Five minutes to show time though, one of the women turned to the other and, like a freshman in the wrong class on the first day of school, said, “Oh shit, this isn’t the Orange Stage!” The two immediately left and headed to the Orange Stage where Modest Mouse was scheduled to play at the same time.
I only heard seven words out of their mouths and yet, they dug themselves into my brain, leading me to ruminate on the whole thing during King Diamond’s nearly two-hour performance. I have so, so, so many questions. And if those two women by any chance are reading this, I would like to ask them those questions now…
First off: How? How did you stand there for longer than the length of an episode of Frasier without noticing any tell-tale signs that you were about to witness a metal act and not an indie band? Like, for example…
Weren’t the gigantic light-up pentagrams and upside-down crosses on the stage a pretty strong indicator that maybe this wasn’t the stage Modest Mouse was about to play on? OK, in the women’s defense, there was a giant tarp covering most of King Diamond’s stage during the set-up. But then…
Why would Modest Mouse have a giant tarp covering their stage? It’s not like they need to have a big unveiling when it’s revealed that… they are wearing knit caps!
This is worth covering. (Photo by Greg Giannukos)
Even if you disregarded the tarp and the gigantic light-up pentagrams and upside-down crosses, wasn’t the fact that you were surrounded by five thousand metalheads a dead giveaway? Metalheads are pretty easy to spot. Basically, you look for someone who listens to Modest Mouse and then imagine the exact opposite of that person.
Scarves are not scary.
Why did you think everyone around you was wearing corpse paint? This is the one that, to me, had to have kicked you over the edge. A whole bunch of people whose faces look like this was not a tip-off?:
Not Modest Mouse fans. (Photo by Dave Mead)
Even if you didn’t pick up on people’s corpse paint, wasn’t their anticipatory chant of “King! King! King!” a sign that you were about to see a band that was not Modest Mouse? I don’t know much about the gentlemen in Modest Mouse but is one of them named King? I would venture to guess no. In fact, isn’t it something decidedly lamer like Joshua or Isaac or Wilmbert? OK, maybe not Wilmbert, but it’s definitely not King.
Seriously, why would Modest Mouse fans be dressed like this? (Photo by Dave Mead)
Did anyone from Modest Mouse survive a triple-bypass surgery and continue to rock like a badass? No, right? OK, because King Diamond survived a triple-bypass surgery and continues to rock like a badass. Might’ve been worth checking out.
Did Modest Mouse put on a theatrically elaborate stage show and bring out all sorts of wonderfully creepy characters? No? OK, because King Diamond did that. He brought out his ancient grandmother and some sexy marionette woman and a long line of other characters who now that I think about it, may have been played by the same actress. But still. Worth the price of admission.
Photo by Chad Wadsworth
Did Modest Mouse make you feel more connected to Satan? Because if there was a Broadway show devoted to Satan, King Diamond’s live show would be it.
Did you have fun? I’m not judging you for seeing Modest Mouse over King Diamond. To each their own. Some people want to see a nearly two-hour Broadway show where a 58-year-old triple-bypass-surviving metal pioneer performs a musical sacrifice to the Antichrist. And some people want to hear that “Float On" song. Again. Hope you ladies had a good time.
Photo by Greg Giannukos