Sun kissed Angelinos walked away from Saturday’s FYF Fest with a tan and new appreciation for the typically overlooked Los Angeles Historic State Park. The strip of grass and dirt in downtown L.A. (just around the corner from Chinatown) transformed into a musical mecca this weekend with Trendland favorites including Yacht, Simian Mobile Disco, Cold War Kids and veterans, Broken Social Scene.
L.A. locals, Fool’s Gold, and Brooklynites, Twin Sister kicked off the day with summer vibes, while high-energy bands like Avi Buffalo and Mister Heavenly fought for early day dance lovers. Ty Segall gave punk rockers some grunge to scream for and a reminder of why teen angst was–and for some, is–so fun to cheer about. With profanity and spunk reminiscent of Iggy Pop, Segall exhilarated the young crowd. He clearly knows how to rekindle this generations’ flame for anarchic-bohemian values and seduced even the Polo-wearing audience members into a hoodlum attitude for at least the duration of his fun set. He may have been abrasive, but simultaneously loveable seeing his carefree wit and light-hearted commentary about life decisions and individuality.
FYF Fest Mixtape
Yacht: “Love in the Dark” – BUY HERE
Simian Mobile Disco: “Pinball (ft Telepathe)” – BUY HERE
Broken Social Scene: “Anthem For a Seventeen Year Old Girl” – BUY HERE
The north-east side of the festival featured a cozy stage layout where adjacent bands battled to overpower each other. While Ty Segall approached his curtain cue, amps roared next door as OFF! finished up their sound check. It was raw music at its core.
Smith Westerns brought the lo-fi 60’s and warmed everyone up for fellow dream-pop gang, Cults. Their summer-suited “Go Outside” won the prize for “most apropos” song awarded by twirling skirts and herding flocks of spectators. It was by far one of the biggest crowds of the day.
Nevertheless, it was Cold War Kids who won our hearts. Lead singer, Nathan Willett let us into his world of man-made bird noises and fixed our cravings for piano smashing. His fingers filled with talent, voice filled with passion. There may be an “I” in Cold War Kids, but their inspired on-stage force is a team effort. It is charming to see bandmates who integrate so beautifully. When the multi-instrumental Willett left the piano bench and strapped on his guitar for “Hang Me Up To Dry,” he leaned his head into bassist, Matt Maust’s chest while wailing his pains. The chemistry was palpable.
Broken Social Scene graced the stage as the most seasoned band of the night, thanking their veteran fans profusely for sticking by their sides. The accolades were mutual. The enormous crowd received a surprise cover of Modest Mouse hit, “World At Large,” to which most lips mouthed every word like it was the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
Under the sliver of a moon, Explosions in the Sky and Death From Above 1979 led us into the night, but it seemed DJ duo, Simian Mobile Disco ruled it. Electronic energy and fists pumped in the air to the club-worthy beats of the baby-faced console brothers. Not to be forgotten as a late night pleaser, Nosaj Thing, a newcomer to the electronic scene, forever made a name for himself. His ethereal beats were dirty with synth and gracefully crafted, giving DJ peer Four Tet a run for his spotlight.
As front woman, Claire L. Evans announced, Yacht brought “hippie vibes from Portland, Oregon to Los Angeles, California”–a place she confessed to be “the best fucking city in the world!” On a backdrop of pills, their ever-present yellow triangle, and fireworks, Evans performed with dramatic poses of the greatest diva caliber. Her skin-tight white dress evoked memories of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct; her demeanor, those of a more enthused Sinead O’Conner.
Dance partner-in-crime, Jona Bechtolt and his floppy hair bounced alongside with the indie prima donna, even giving into temptation and jumping into the pit. The Queen of triangles sang about the end of the world disguised by non-chalant delivery in high spirits. In a moment of awe, the androgynous bassist in glasses diverted all attention her way when she broke her composed silence and belted out with a perfectly pitched soprano whine.
But, Evans had the crowd in her hands, commanding questions from the audience. One, in particular, milked the session by requesting their home-made slide show. In response, the opinionated bombshell yelled, “it’s proprietary,” quickly correcting her statement by declaring, “property is theft!” If so, she and her bandmates are outwardly guilty of stealing the show this year at FYF.
Though we walked away with bruised feet and dusty noses, we walked away happy and prepared for sweet FYF dreams.