Fun Fun Fun Fest - Essentials

Fun x 3 Fest boast an impressive group of headliners. Trail of Dead, The National, Dead Milkmen and Bad Brains give you more than enough reasons to make your way down to Waterloo Park. But the line up also boasts an impressive group of up and coming acts that are certainly worth your time. Last year saw early afternoon sets from MGMT and White Denim who then went on to... well you know. So who are some of the essentials for 2008? Here are our suggestions...

Ume - Stage 1 / Sunday 12:25 - 12:55
Ume had been recommended to me by a good friend on several occasions and as I have had them on my list of bands to check out, I now regret I didn’t make it to their one of their shows earlier. First off, let me tell you that Ume is not some low-fi, cutting edge, indie-pop, twee rock band…they are straight up rock in the Sonic Youth, Nirvana, PJ Harvey sense of the word and could fall in line with any of these bands at any given time. - Sonic Itch Music

El Paso Hot Button - Stage 2 / Saturday 2:20 - 2:50
Intimidating news for every aspiring one-man band: Mickey Reece has elevated the title from side-show to art-show under the moniker El Paso Hot Button. El Paso Hot Button is neither from El Paso nor the latest indie dance craze as the name might suggest. El Paso Hot Button is the collective effort of Mickey Reece's four appendages wrought upon guitar and foot-powered percussion.

Yacht - Stage 4 - Saturday / 5:00 - 5:45
Jona Bechtolt is a technological multi talent: his band, YACHT, is an amalgamation of self-taught dance moves and anthemic electro-power jams all played backwards and covered in cherry cola. YACHT shows are uncluttered, inspiring sessions of improbable dancing and synchronized crowd-waving; the songs shudder happily into the air, and any preconceived notions of what makes an energetic performance are shattered by Bechtolt's own strain of shamanistic bombast.

Frightened Rabbit - Stage 1 - Sunday / 2:45 - 3:15
Playing clever but purposefully naïve pop in the manner of the Vaselines, the Twilight Sad, and , Frightened Rabbit sound a good bit bolder than their moniker would suggest, though it suits their lively but nervous musical personality. Frightened Rabbit was founded in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2004, when guitarist Scott Hutchison and his brother , a percussionist who -- like his sibling -- prefers to keep his last name a secret, began recording demos of songs they had written.

Dan Deacon - Stage 4 - Saturday / 7:00 - 8:00
Electronic music composer Dan Deacon is based in Baltimore, MD, and is equally influenced by such diverse elements as Devo, Talking Heads, Scratch Orchestra, Raymond Scott, and Conlon Nancarrow. After several self-released projects, he moved to Baltimore and became an instant figurehead of the fledgling electronic music community. This years Ultimate Reality Tour stop at Emo's will easily be on our top 10 list of best live performances.

Bishop Allen - Stage 1 - Saturday / 3:20 - 3:55
They have the "honor" of being featured on the Nick and Norah soundtrack, are from Brooklyn and We Are Scientists are one of their top 10 friends on MySpace. What more do you need? As Brooklyn pop combo Bishop Allen happily report in their latest e-newsletter, they're almost done with their new disc and follow-up to last year's Bishop Allen & the Broken String. They've tentatively titled the thing Grrr..., and are looking to release it in mid-February on Dead Oceans.

Magnetic Morning - Stage 2 - Saturday / 6:45 - 7:30
Swervedriver's auspicious reunion may have been overshadowed by the return of My Bloody Valentine, but its leader Adam Franklin is nonetheless soldiering on with a new side project called Magnetic Morning. But it was Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino who launched the supergroup, after sifting through potential collaborators and finding only prima donnas.

"It is hard working with people that have the ability to write their own songs because in the end that is what they want to do," Fogarino said. "I would get started with people and then it would fall apart."

That didn't happen with Franklin, who was probably too distracted in 2008 by his underrated band's reunion, as well as his brilliant solo effort Bolts of Melody, to take over the wheel of Magnetic Morning. Instead, the two UK musicians mindmelded and found a middle ground, which sounds very cool indeed.

J*Davey - Stage 4 - Sunday / 3:25 - 4:10
Akin to Seattle in the early ’90s and even Detroit towards the end of that same decade, Los Angeles has erupted with a new caliber of artists and musicians—both native and imported—who create an exciting polyglot of sounds. J*Davey, the punk-funk New Wave duo, embody this new Los Angeles attitude to the fullest. They’re bold, colorful and lots of fun—but also genuine, ambitious and rich with hard-earned street cred.

St. Vincent - Stage 1 - Sunday / 6:30 - 7:30
She has been around for some time but every time I mention how much I am looking forward to seeing her this weekend everyone I tell doesn't seem to know who I am talking about. Get it together people! St. Vincent is the band of Annie Clark. The 25-year-old is an avid tea drinker, used to hair model, and feels uncomfortable when people use the term, "let's pull the trigger on this." "Marry Me," St. Vincent's debut record, is now available on Beggars Banquet.

Photo credit goes to all the people who took them.