FYF Fest 2014: Day One

This year, Restless Cities split into two for maximum coverage of FYF Fest 2014! Here are Rozette Diaz and Zach Bourque’s accounts of what went down on the first day of the festival.

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A new location presents growing pains for any festival and the 2014 FYF Fest was no different. Day 1 was full of long lines, blistering temperatures, and crowded stages throughout the massive grounds near USC. Once serving as home to the Electric Daisy Carnival, the grounds surrounding the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena and Coliseum certainly have a pedigree for festivals, but if the collective groans heard throughout the day were any indication, they had some work cut out for Day 2.

Once fans arrived at their destinations, the music delivered in spades. There are few festivals that can present the amount of shear musical variety as FYF and this year was no different. From indie to punk, shoegaze to techno there was nary a genre under represented.

The stages were equally as varied, with the LA Sports Arena providing a unique backdrop for the weekend’s electronic sounds. Unfortunately, it was near impossible to get into the arena most of Saturday due to massive crowds and far too few entrances. The distance between stages grew tiresome early on, with a nearly 20 minute walk between the two main stages proving a hurdle to many schedules. Fortunately, the festival remained stocked with countless water stations and a few amazing beer gardens to keep everyone hydrated in the heat.

Highlights included zeitgeist favorites Future Islands, whose jaw-dropping performances have become the stuff of legends lately and shoegaze starlets Slowdive providing an amazing sunset back drop later on.

Technical hiccups delayed Tycho’s set, which nonetheless delivered as a wonderfully low-key addition to the night’s music. Phoenix proved once again why they’re one of the most addictive bands in rock, with a tight set full of hits and smiles.

While previous years venue location at LA Historic Park might have spoiled many, Exposition Park proved a necessary evil that was able to keep the festival in the city unlike HARD Summer. Despite the speed bumps, it was tough to walk out without a smile and the amount of grins present proved this feeling was not exclusive.

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I arrived at Exposition Park at around 2PM hoping to catch the lovely Angel Olsen, but luck was not on my side as lines for parking and entering the festival grounds hindered me from making it to the arena on time. Nevertheless, I got to catch 90s band Slint who delivered an understated set of some good ol’ post-rock music.

Given the unexpectedly complicated travel time between stages that I now had to factor into my festival strategy, I left the set early to catch local favorites Joyce Manor whom I would probably willingly watch again and again. I just always find myself leaving their shows happy and content.

I stayed in the main stage area to catch Albert Hammond, Jr. who’s always so well-composed and cool. If I had to pick a favorite member of The Strokes making comparable (if not better) music today, it would definitely have to be Mr. AHJ. He really got the crowd going and sounded fantastic. At one point mid-set, he called out a fan holding up a giant photo of him saying, “I feel bad for your arms. I see it. It’s me.”

Like Zach, I stayed to catch Future Islands even though I’d just seen them because I made a little pact with myself never to say no to these guys. Sam Herring was just as fierce and raw in broad daylight and despite the big gap between him and the audience, he made great efforts to connect with specific audience members, piercing their hearts with his intense gaze.

English shoegaze band Slowdive provided a wonderful aural experience just as the sun was about to set. The best thing about them was how happy they looked as the crowd freaked out in between songs. It was well worth the wait.

New York City’s Interpol was the real highlight of the day for me with a calm and collected coolness that was both mesmerizing and chilling. They made sure no fan left disappointed as they played favorites like “Evil”, “C’mere”, “PDA”, and “Slow Hands”. They also played their new songs from what will surely be a fantastic new record. They made it very hard not to gush and sigh.

My night ended with the fierce and fairy-like Grimes who headlined The Lawn Stage. She put on a visually stimulating show with crazy lights, smoke machines, and amazing dancers. Up close, her energetic dance moves were fixating and from afar, the stage looked like an explosion of colors and magical things. I’d never seen her live before and I left pretty darn impressed. That’s how you put on a show for electronic music.

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More photos!

Real Estate, Run The Jewels, Albert Hammond, Jr., Future Islands, Slowdive, Grimes, and many more goodness from day one.