FYF Fest 2012 — Day 1
Returning once again to LA State Historic Park on the edge of Chinatown, FYF Fest spread two days of bands across three stages and one tent, encompassing both veteran and breaking acts, from punk to dance to hip-hop to comedy. Vendors were geared mostly to food, music, and fashion/lifestyle with both Origami Vinyl and Amoeba Records hosting signings, and the heart was lifted by the presence of the World Dodgeball Society booth. Here’s merely a taste of the first day’s action:
Hometown psychotropical rockers the White Arrows proved to be the perfect openers for the day. In between songs from debut LP, Dry Land Is A Myth, they made room for covers of Bruce Springsteen and Fleetwood Mac in their own inimitable style.
In keeping with the locals theme, FIDLAR proved that there’s more to the O.C. than No Doubt, providing the day’s first guitar fireworks and sighting of blood in the pit. Any set of delirious guitar noise that begins with new single “Cheap Beer” lets you know exactly where you’re going.
Moonface, (Wolf Parade’s Spencer Krug in collaboration with Finnish band Siinai), proved a stop worth making. The band brought Krug’s songs to vivid life as a breeze finally kicked up across the sweltering field. The best part of a festival is encountering those bands’ force reappraisal.
The Men gave the Metro trains plenty of competition on the Hill St. Stage, burning through their set with an enviable intensity in the midday sun. They didn’t slack from the challenge, and made converts of many who wandered over.
Redd Kross turned in an exuberant master class from a group of rock lifers. The MacDonald brothers, Jeff and Steve, covered the bases, including a taste of their new LP, Researching The Blues, and made room to introduce Jeff’s daughter Astrid, the next generation of MacDonald in punk.
San Francisco’s Two Gallants, Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel, celebrated their new LP The Bloom and The Blight with energetic readings of their dark songs, the standout being “Ride Away.”
To live up to the brutal intensity of this year’s Attack On Memory is one thing, but Cloud Nothings topped it with one of the best sets the day had to offer. Crowd surfers took flight from the beginning, and the circle never ceased, building to a take on “Wasted Days” that pushed the assault past the 15 minute mark, and concluded with the soft/loud detonation of “No Future/No Past.” More than one audience member walked away dazed.
The only possible come down was the soothing sounds of Chairlift, where one could curl up under the soundboard and lick their wounds in blissful peace. It was impossible not to melt to “I Belong In Your Arms.” The Brooklyn duo handled their main stage slot with charm and grace, and could very well be headed towards M83 type status.
Always more legend than band, the rarely sighted Vaselines saw fit to grace FYF as part of a brief US tour. They mixed new and old songs alike with the gleefully potty-mouthed banter that is their live trademark, ending the set with a ferocious “Son Of A Gun.”
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart gave an energetic account of themselves, wrapping in a few new songs. Kip Berman was a captivating figure onstage, driving the band forward.
Warpaint also worked the hometown angle, drawing cheers just for setting up. Definition of ethereal: hearing “Undertow” at sunset, and “Baby” was the perfect set closer. Most notable were the new songs that were debuted, building up excitement for a follow up to The Fool. Strangest, and perhaps least noticed, event of the weekend was the appearance of a field mouse from a hole in the major artery between stages. The Main Stage Mouse proceeded to play chicken with hundreds of feet, and provided much mirth in seeing just who did, and didn’t, notice the brave/insane creature. We like to think it was the throbbing bass of Warpaint that lured it out.
Oh Sleigh Bells… they’ve certainly come a long way from boozy SXSW showcases and Coachella tents. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the only reasonable reaction is to punch a hatpin through your frontal lobe, suspend all critical facilities, and go. It’s time to dance.
M83 honored their prime time Main Stage spot with a set that reflected their attention to detail in every aspect. From stage lighting to record covers, this band is involved. The increasing complexity of their music was mirrored in the breathtaking stage show. If there was any group that could up the ante after the Sleigh Bells’ throwdown, this would be the one. The only appropriate word is epic.
Quicksand, the post-hardcore NYC group, made only two LPs in the ’90s, but left a footprint that echoes today. They played a razor sharp set to a larger than normal crowd on a non-main stage, and seemed genuinely touched and surprised by the rabid reception.
All in all, a thrilling and exhausting Day 1 of FYF Fest. Click here for more photos of Saturday!