Sunday, September 19, 2010

FYF Recap

Hey there, it's Rigmarole. I spent my Labor Day weekend in L.A. a few weeks ago, experiencing the sights and sounds of FYF Fest (or "Fuck Yeah Fest" Fest, for you purists). We expected to have a blog post on the KZSC website, but unfortunately, that wasn't possible. Anyhow, here's my rundown of the day, with some input and photos by DJ Passive Theory:

1:10p.m.- We get in after waiting over an hour for our passes, watching hipsters melt. The Fest is in it's seventh year, but this is only the second time it's taken place at Los Angeles State Historic Park, so some of it is still badly organized. The first bands play before any of the press gets in. (Sorry, Let's Wrestle, Magic Kids, and The Goat, better luck next year!)

1:25p.m.- At the Redwood Stage, The Growlers perform with white stuff all over their faces, (Paint? Flour? Zinc? That would have been a good idea, the sun was brutal.) Their fuzzy, surf lo-fi gets the crowd moving. Meanwhile, Passive Theory catches Abe Vigoda (Passive Theory: "Nothing special beyond a couple of new songs, and that they seemed to play things a lot longer live than on record."), and the Blow ("She played the one song I knew ("Parenthesis") so I can't complain. The fact she kept a running theme through her set (a story about the famous lesbian she wrote an album's worth of music for) was pretty cool, but it would have been nice to see some instrumentation.")

2:11p.m.- Bay area band Vetiver follows the Growlers, opening with the dreamy "Strictly Rule," and bringing a few breezes our way with their relaxed freak folk. The band plays some new stuff, and closes with with the infectious "More Of This".

3:00p.m.- Mmm, little $8 pizza...

3:34p.m.- I know L.A. band Best Coast has pretty much provided the soundtrack for many of you this summer (we've also been playing it non-stop at the station) When Bethany Cosentino took the Oak stage and launched into "Boyfriend," there was more than one squeal of "She's so cute!" within the doting crowd. I glance over to the side of the stage, where her own boyfriend, Nathan Williams of Wavves is laughing, smiling at crowd members, and not making his usual "Wavves face" for once. Bethany prompts the crowd to use sunscreen, advice no one follows, but they do sing along. The sun was high, indeed. Of course, she closes with the lovely "When I'm With You," to an enamored crowd of lobster people.

4:20p.m.- Passive Theory sees Titus Andronicus, but I wander off a little bit for some Southern folk by A.A. Bondy.
Passive Theory: "Being stage left, I pretty much avoided the insane moshpit going on around the area Kroqken was at, but you could feel the energy and intensity of the whole crowd wherever you happened to be during that set. Everyone on stage seemed to be having the time of their lives, even though everything other than bass and Patrick Stickles' vocals seemed to be completely buried in the mix. One of many sets that day that seemed to be mismanaged by the sound engineers.

5:22p.m.- Wavves attempt to banter through technical difficulties, and play while dust and beach balls fly though the air. The band walks off early, their sound problems were getting pretty bad.

5:47p.m.- I leave early, myself, for Local Natives, and their performance was easily one of my favorites. The energetic L.A. band power through their Talking Heads cover, "Warning Sign," with their distinctive harmonies and echoing drums, as well as the popular "Airplanes". By their closer, "Sun Hands", the crowd is screaming along with them. If you get a chance to see this band, do it. They are amazing.

6:30p.m. I make my way over to Ariel Pink, just as "Round and Round" is playing.
Passive Theory: "Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti are uh... I don't think they're especially suited to music festivals, or something. Everything seemed really out of key, and they were arguing with the sound engineers throughout the entire set (to the engineer's credit, I'll say that they we're asking for everything to basically be in the red, and when you're sharing that much equipment between artists there's only so much you can push before you break it and ruin it for everyone). However, 'Round and Round' is undeniable and by the end of the set the crowd was begging for more music but unfortunately they had to get things set up for the next artist."

7:11p.m. The sun goes down as Ted Leo and the Pharmacists get on stage and fire through "The Mighty Sparrow," followed by more fast songs, one right after the other. The crowd bounces along to "Me and Mia," but it looks like I was the biggest Ted Leo fan there. That said, Ted Leo is awesome, and I apologize to the guy next to me for screaming the lyrics to "Biomusicology" into his ear.

8:20p.m. The Mountain Goats come out in suits and blazers, "always so spiffy,'" as one girl calls them. Their set is one big singalong, from "Hast Thou Considered the Tetrapod" to their closer, "California Song." John Darnielle wears a wide grin as he waxes about L.A. I don't mind that there is a fine layer of dirt coating me, as well as my lungs.

9:45p.m. We watch School of Seven Bells, and wait for Delorean at the Sequoia Stage, which seems about 30 minutes late. The other stages' performances actually had perfect timing for most of the day. I'm impressed.

11:04p.m. I stop making jokes about the "coming of the Rapture" when they finally get onstage to end the night. I'm surprised to see some people standing still, as most of us are under the spell of the Bay Area band, and their use of cowbell. When the Rapture wants you to dance, you dance.

By midnight, I have achieved my goal of not getting heatstroke. And the bands were nice, too.

Do you have any good FYF Fest stories, or favorite performers?