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 second and last day of the festival.
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The second day of FYF Fest went more seamlessly thanks to the responsive people at FYF and Goldenvoice who made drastic improvements. I also like to think I mastered the art of traversing through the U-shaped layout of the festival grounds. As soon as I got to the Exposition Park, I immediately dashed to The Arena to catch Les Sins, Chaz Bundick’s side project. I couldn’t help but notice how everyone was less frantic and stressed out. Funny how different things can get when there’s no two-hour line to get through in the beginning.
Mr. Chaz2Sexy started an early dance party in his own understated way at the indoor venue with a trippy lights show. I wish he was singing, but the crowd grew and grew during his set so the people clearly didn’t mind all that much. I’m not part of this particular side project’s demographic, but I enjoyed it.
I went over to The Trees, a stage that I didn’t really go to much on the first day because I was too busy trying to make it on time for either The Lawn or Main Stage, for Balance and Composure. I didn’t know much about them beforehand, but they showed great confidence on stage and sounded pretty solid. They also seemed genuinely excited about the band that was about to follow them. (I was too!)
Grand Rapids, Michigan band La Dispute exceeded expectations with a performance that was remarkably intense and emotional. They almost didn’t make it having flown from London just a few hours prior, but the wear and tear of air travel did not show at all. Frontman Jordan Dreyer did hurt himself a minute or two into their set as his mouth bled, which really made his performance all the more bad ass. I’m so excited about this band and you should be too.
Indie rockers Built to Spill were a safe bet. They jammed and played the hits as the sun slowly set. They played like they weren’t faced by hundreds of fans in an outdoor venue. Some might find this dull, but it was a nice relaxing break from the other high energy sets. This is the part where I greedily bought a ridiculous donut called S’morissey and enjoyed the music in the grass.
It’s worth noting how gorgeous the whole venue looked at night with the colorful lights. The immensely crowded beer garden by the main stage was quite a sight and made it very easy to lose yourself in the moment. I did not have a single alcoholic drink at the festival, but my head was in a daze all the same. The weekend had been extremely taxing, both physically and mentally, but as I stood still in the middle of the craziness, I felt great and happy to have been there.
Personal reflections aside, I was very excited to see Haim, a band that everyone seems to have seen more than twice already. As a first timer, I was very much impressed with the sisters who were legitimately rocking very hard on stage. They also talked to the audience a lot and I thought it was cute how genuinely excited they were about playing the main stage right before one of the biggest rock bands ever.
The wait for The Strokes to get on stage felt like eternity and a cruel joke as we all stood there with sore feet. But once the red stage lights went on, the pain was substituted by an insane level of excitement. Nick Valensi, Nikolai Fraiture, Fabrizio Moretti, Albert Hammond, Jr. and Julian Casablancas all went on stage and fulfilled many fans’ hopes and dreams.
I have to admit, being in the photo pit for this moment was insane. I was starstruck and could barely keep it together. Now, try to think of the most perfect Strokes set list. That’s exactly what we got that beautiful Sunday night and more. Julian’s voice was in great form and was charmingly clueless on stage. “These are my thoughts,” he said at one point while trying to make small talk in between songs. “They’re all I’ve got.”
Here’s their awesome set list: Barely Legal / Welcome to Japan / Automatic Stop / Machu Picchu / Reptilia / Razorblade / Killing Lies / One Way Trigger / Under Control / Heart in a Cage / Hard to Explain / 12:51 / Someday / The End Has No End / You Only Live Once / Last Nite / Encore: New York City Cops
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In what might be the most successful 180 in the history of festivals, FYF Day 2 hosted a score of massive improvements that smoothed out annoying the kinks that had left a bad taste in the mouths of festival goers from Day 1.
Lines to enter the venue were dramatically reduced and while the heat remained, FYF did what no other festival has the courtesy to do and provided FREE bottled water for the hottest portion of the day. When they did start charging later on, prices went down by a full dollar to $2.
The overcrowding inside the Sports Arena was a thing of the past as numerous additional entrances were opened and seating above the arena in the stands was added for a mellower way to experience the day’s performances.
And what a day it was in the arena. Those who missed Caribou the day before were able to catch frontman Dan Snaith performing solo as Daphni for a deep electronic set against the Arena’s amazing lighting setup.
Later in the day, the unique duo of Darkside performed for a packed arena of die hard fans. The pairing of Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington has been one of the stranger ones of they year but they’ve quickly made a name for themselves as a team producing some of the most unique experimental electronic around. Seeing them live is something special and their tendency to improvise coupled with some seriously atmospheric mood lighting provided one of Sunday’s most vivid sets in the venue.
Outside of the arena, rock was king. From the young dudes in Balance and Composure kicking up dirt at the Trees Stage to the geriatric rockers in Presidents of the United States of America, it was certainly a multi-generational day. The stage for Presidents was packed to the brim for the entirety of their set of 90s throwback rock and proved to be one of the surprise highlights of the day.
LA rockers The Bronx kept the energy up over at the Trees Stage later on in the day for a wild performance that included frontman Matt Caughtran stage diving into a suitably rowdy hometown crowd.
Sunday also marked the occasion of several rare performances unique to FYF and all showcased just how awesomely weird FYF can be. Early 2000s scenester kings The Blood Brothers came back in full force for one of their first shows in years. With dueling vocalists and no shortage of screaming, the set grew exhausting but the crowd wasn’t complaining.
There’s no better way to end a festival than a time conflict and picking a closure was about as tough a decision as they come. We decided on Jamie xx and certainly weren’t alone. The floor was packed but the view from the stands was prime.
And then it was done. Kudos to Goldenvoice and FYF for turning the ship around for Day 2. They clearly listened to fans and corrected every major mea culpa that plagued Day 1. Despite the new location, FYF continues to grow into one LA’s most uniquely homegrown festivals and we’re already looking forward to 2015.
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Balance and Composure, La Dispute, Built to Spill, Haim, The Strokes, Ryan Hemsworth, and Flying Lotus.