At the height of Los Angeles’ summer heat, FYF Fest-ers were able to ease the pain with a little help from cool headliners M83, Yeasayer, Beirut, Sleigh Bells, and about 80 other worthy artists to brave the sweat-drenched crowds for.
Formerly seen as Coachella’s wanna-be younger sibling, FYF has proven itself a strong force in the festival movement with its newest promotional partnership with Goldenvoice. And unlike last year, the festival was able to provide adequate amounts of shade, water refill stations, and ample foodie commodities for the hipster masses.
For those who sacrificed their cutest kicks to brave the dust clouds early on day one were rewarded by modern day Bowie’s Moonface, the raspy chops of The Orwells’ 18 year old Mario Cuomo, FIDLAR, and garage rockers, King Tuff–among many of FYF’s roster of underground acts.
Continuing on into the day, it was a constant battle of the stages with competing set times between the ever-lovely Chairlift (and her Cruella de Vil–like locks) and The Vaselines–an easy solution for the Nirvana/Belle & Sebastien types. Another clash for the pop tolerant and intolerant got interesting at the time slot crossing of Future Islands and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. All subjectivity aside, congrats to those who chose Future Islands–decidedly one of the most lively, passionate shows of the entire festival.
In a series of animalistic body language, wild man and Future Islands’ lead singer,Sam Herring beat his chest like an ape, ate an invisible beating heart to fuel manic outbursts, and pulled an imaginary mask off his face to reveal the “Tin Man.” With facial expressions that could be mistaken for a character in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” sweat flew and arms flailed like ball and chains–able to destroy anything in their path. This man was so high-energy, he could’ve powered the entire city of Los Angeles.
Following sedated lady group, Warpaint, soul-to-see, James Blake brought the love which had no limit. Sat with his keyboard and a vocal filter, Blake created an unprecedented audience silence singing his beautiful rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You.” No one would have dared disturb him.
Sleigh Bells rejuvenated the energy and showed us how to rock in the style of Rage Against the Machine. Yes, Alex Krauss sang a few verses fearlessly from atop the crowd. Multitasking at its best.
Of course the day technically ended with the Refused VS Simian Mobile Disco (an easy decision between dance tunes and punk rock), but it closed out on a high note with M83.
As if entering a dream, the show began with the appearance of the furry space creature (as seen on the cover of their latest album, “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming”–by far the most aptly named album ever). You saw an off-the-walls guitarist with floppy hair, a majestic mane and siren-like pipes of Morgan Kibby, and heard the music of the gods. M83 has won the short-spanned attention of this generation and found a way for us to memorize gorgeous instrumentals instead of vapid lyrics.
Day two left a little more room for wandering the grounds, but was chock-full with early-day must-sees including, Motown-adopted Nick Waterhouse, Daughn Gibson (deliciously sample heavy country tunes), and retro bad asses, Allah-Las. Indie-folk band, Father John Misty (see photo above) picked up the sassy vibe with their mid-day set. Flamboyant movements owned the stage, as the poetic Joshua Tillman showed us why he needs a moniker. Paralyzed by his own voice, FJM fell back interrupting his vocals with a gigantic attitude and the dancing that goes hand-in-hand with it.
Alas, then arrived the most difficult decision of the day: Get an orchestral Balkan trip on Beirut’s tab or join the modern masses with electronic dance waves by way of The Faint, or Gold Panda? We chose to ride Yeasayer’s high into their stage successor, Beirut, and finish the weekend on a folk note. As if to thank us, front man Zachary Condon raised his glass full of indistinguishable dark spirits, and cheersed us. “Salut!”
And that, is the perfect ending to a Los Angeles summer for all the Angelino Trendlandians out there.