Fun Fun Fun Fest Live Shot: The Impossibles

Beatlemania nearly drowns out local ska-pop reunion

Fun Fun Fun Fest Live Shot: The Impossibles
by Jana Birchum

”Hi, we’re the Impossibles from Austin, Texas!” To paraphrase the Pretenders, call them “the un-tattooed love boys.” So ecstatic was the teenaged female screaming and the set-long non-gender-or-age-specific singalongs that it at times threatened to do the impossible: drown out the band.

Local mid-Nineties ska-pop masters of heartache-y male angst sporting lyrical wisdom of their better halves – who could be glimpsed, bopping babes in arms, beaming from the wings – the Impossibles proved you don’t have to wave a black Flag to make a memorable impact on Fun Fun Fun Fest.

Co-founders and dueling guitar leads/vocalists Gabe Hascall and Rory Phillips were way back when, and continue now as a stunningly spot-on pair of riff-trading frontmen, with the former’s emotionally raw delivery recalling (of all people) a slyly punker version of Ben Gibbard on core tunes “Come Back” and “The Position.” Crunchy bassist and apparent lady favorite Craig Tweedy and the rock steady drumming of Mark Toohey kept the crowd perpetually on the fronts of their Doc Martens, hands in the air, and feet off the ground as much as gravity would allow.

Opener “Eightball” dug deep into the band’s catalog without sounding a day over yesterday, while “Always Have, Always Will” will stand the test of time pretty much forever. “This is Fucking Tragic” cloaked melancholia in communal joy and guitar-drenched power pop, buoyed by an audience that responded with near Pavlovian froth at every turn. Possibly the best Impossibles song title ever, “Disintegration (Is the Best Album, Ever)” capped the reunion gig – their second, after last year’s Mohawk date – just as the air began to get frosty and the hoodies came out.

“When we started playing,” noted Hascall wryly, pointing to Austin’s burgeoning skyline, “most of these buildings didn’t exist. Most of [you] people didn’t exist when [these songs] were written!”

Cue deafeningly high-pitched shrieks from the show’s massively vocal female contingent. Gal’s Panic, indeed.


For more Fun Fun Fun Fest coverage, see www.austinchronicle.com/fun-fun-fun-fest. For photo galleries from the fest, see austinchronicle.com/photos.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Fun Fun Fun Fest, Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013, The Impossibles, Gabe Hascall, Rory Phillips, Craig Tweedy, Mark Toohey, Ben Gibbard

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