FYF Fest 2013 @ LA State Historic Park 8/24/13 – Day 1
Oh FYF Fest, look at how much you’ve grown. In a span of a decade, FYF Fest (originally Fuck Yeah Fest) has gone from a single day festival spread throughout multiple venues featuring local and lesser-known bands to a two day festival at the Los Angeles State Historic Park hosting the likes of the Death From Above 1979 and Refused. This year marks its 10th anniversary and it’s even bigger, featuring headlining acts such as The Breeders, TV On The Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and My Bloody Valentine on stages named after characters on the TV show Sex in the City. And once again, we had the pleasure of being able to cover the amazing acts on the bill.
Waxahatchee (Miranda Stage)
Starting off our day was Katie Crutchfield’s project, Waxahatchee, whose set was apropos for the summer season. With the sun bearing down on festival goers, her songs were able to provide a sense of comfort and calmness since they’re mostly about summer nostalgia (romances, adventures, etc.) such as the upbeat, Sleater Kinney-esque “Coast To Coast.” In a live setting, Crutchfield’s voice translates smoothly, singing with a natural ease akin to The Breeders’ Kim Deal. And though the arrangements are fairly simple on “Lips and Limbs” and “Brother Bryan,” there was a Pixies vibe that emanated from it that was enough to emphasize the expressive emotions that weigh heavily within the lyrics.
It wouldn’t be a proper FYF Fest if there weren’t any punk/hardcore bands, so that’s where Canadian trio Metz comes in. They like to spike their punk with a touch of noise rock, evidenced by their electrifying set. Just like their eponymous debut album, each band member was full of energy and intensity throughout their set, seemingly feeding off the rowdy crowd who reciprocated the feeling. Chugging Sonic Youth-esque guitar riffs and classic ’80s-style punk rhythms dominated their set, much to the delight of the carefree moshers.
No set had to be more fitting for the afternoon setting than Mikal Cronin’s. Though he’s mainly known as a frequent Ty Segall collaborator, Cronin had a chance to prove why he’s one of this year’s breakout artists as he played songs off his most recent album, MCII. While most of his songs consist of fuzzy guitar riffs and punk aesthetics, it’s the super-slick pop hooks and melodies that he has incorporated into his style that made his set burst with fun. “See It My Way” featured a blistering guitar solo, while “Shout It Out” was seemingly the anthem of the set with its sing-song chorus. It certainly didn’t hurt that Cronin’s vocals are subtle, but not too subtle, to show off his genuine, charming demeanor to warm the hearts of the crowd.
Ty Segall is one of the most dynamic songwriters today. He doesn’t stop writing, recording, or touring. It goes to show just how much fun he has with music and it definitely shows on stage. For this particular set, Segall introduced his band as the “Sleeper Band,” referencing his recently-released album Sleeper, which is stripped-down and acoustic-based. The late afternoon setting and his lazy summer tunes made for a perfect combination. He and his bandmates were seated and huddled together towards the front-end of the stage that gave off a sense of intimacy and community that made it easier to welcome the crowd. “The Man Man” showed off a bit of flair where Segall moved over to drums while a psychedelic guitar solo closed out the song. “She Don’t Care” stood out the most because of the perfect ’60s/’70s folk rock vocal melodies that seemed so authentic that for a moment, one could have thought he/she were in Woodstock in 1969.
The Breeders (Carrie Stage)
Here’s a fact: Kim Deal doesn’t need the Pixies. Why? Because The Breeders can stand toe-to-toe with them, especially if they’re playing the entirety of their classic album, Last Splash, with the original lineup. They started with a cover of Guided by Voices’ “Shocker In Gloomtown” to get their body moving before going into “New Year.” It’s incredible how timeless songs like the hit “Cannonball,” with its recognizable thumping bassline, and “No Aloha,” with its slick guitar licks, are. The songs sound just as good (or even better) as it did 20 years ago. Bradford Cox of Deerhunter, who is probably the biggest Breeders fan there is, came out to sing back-up vocals on “Saints” with the widest of smiles. They ended their set with “Fortunately Gone,” which makes you wonder if that’s an allusion to a Pod tour in two years when it turns 25.
Next was Deerhunter, whose live set has been described as a “religious experience” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman, Karen O. While it wasn’t quite that, it was one hell of an experience to say the least. Bradford Cox came out sporting a black wig and a zebra-striped dress, proving that he aims to be a visual spectacle. But that’s only half of the Deerhunter experience. The other half is the awe-inspiring technical musicianship of the band. The guitars on “Cover Me Slowly”/”Agoraphobia” and “Desire Lines” were hypnotic enough to make you feel you’re in a surrealistic wonderland, while Cox’s jagged vocals on “Back To The Middle” and “Monomania” reverberated throughout the field. As always, “Nothing Ever Happened” remains the best song that they ever play live where three guitars engage in a musical orgy that result in the most magical and ethereal orgasm ever.
Seeing Dan Deacon live is like going to church that turned into a wild dance party. Despite the technical difficulties, he began his set by spewing out a bunch of preachy stuff and told the crowd to raise their arms and go down on one knee. But the crowd listens because they simply want to dance their asses off. It’s all in good fun, which is what he’s all about! Sandwiched between dueling drummers, the electro-maniac extracted electronic glitches that the crowd felt through their bodies by reacting in seizure-like dancing patterns like in “Crystal Cat” before closing out with all parts of “U.S.A.” At one point, Deacon parted the crowd in two, appointing two people to be the leaders of their respective sides. Whatever the leaders did, the crowd had to do the same, which is what he called “interpretive dance.” Whether he’s playing a house party or a festival, he can always get people to play along all in the name of fun. Dan Deacon – praise him!
It has been awhile since TV On The Radio has played in Los Angeles (okay, about a couple of years), but FYF was the perfect platform to make their return. The decorative backdrop of stars that backed the band is pretty much the imagery you need to describe their set. Their set consisted of a diverse selection from their catalog, opening with “Young Liars,” which is all they needed to grab everyone’s attention and focus. The devastating trio of new song “Mercy,” “Repetition,” and a punk-paced version of “Wolf Like Me” were probably the loudest and most powerful they’ve ever been before closing out with the emotional intensity of “Forgotten” (where frontman Tunde Adebimpe had everyone chant “1-2-3 light!”) and “Staring Out The Sun.” Mostly everyone was either jumping up and down, head banging, or moshing, which are all usually good signs that it was a bonafide rock show.
Closing out day one of the festival were the (Fuck) Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who surely didn’t disappoint. Karen O is a bonafide badass for her commanding stage presence and her ability to be physically and mentally intense for the entire hour. Despite their latest album Mosquito not being up to par with their previous releases, the trio managed to bring the self-titled song, “Under The Earth” and “Sacrilege” to a whole new level. But most of their set consisted of songs from their first two albums, which everyone simply loved. For songs like “Phenomena,” “Gold Lion,” “Rich,” and “Cheated Hearts” had the crowd singing with Karen O word for word, while more synthy numbers such as “Zero” and “Heads Will Roll” made it an epic dance party where a gigantic eye beach ball fell down to the crowd (also of note: a blow up was seen crowd surfing). They’re quite possibly the only band that could turn a delicately beautiful piano ballad like “Runaway” into a crushing number that plays with emotions unabashedly. Of course, they also have a thing for sentimentality by playing fan-favorite “Maps” where all the couples in sight held on to each other for a bit of slow-dancing. The mood drastically made a 180 turn on set closer “Date With The Night,” where Karen O displayed her appetite for destruction by relentlessly slamming her microphone to its breaking point, making it a symbolic exclamation point to end the night.
Check out more amazing shots from the weekend HERE!