FYF Fest Delivers on Promise

Posted by Billy Gil, September 6, 2011 07:20pm | Post a Comment
FYF Fest may have been better in theory than practice in previous years, due to the usual big festival woes. But as shows like Coachella and Pitchfork Music Festival took some time to iron out the kinks, FYF Fest seems to have gotten it down, judging by this year’s show. Quick entry, lots of different kinds of food, plenty of porta-potties and better sound … the logistics alone surpassed last year’s festival by a longshot.
This year’s band lineup packed some surprises, with plenty of old faces (The Dead Milkmen, The Descendents) showing up amongst up-and-comers (Ty Segall, Twin Sister, Avi Buffalo) and a reunited Death From Above 1979. I’ll try to recount as best I can the bands I was able to catch.
Olivia Tremor Control, best known as an Elephant 6 band as well as creators of the classic ’90s psych-pop opus Music from the Unrealized Film Script, Dusk at Cubist Castle, returned for a reunion set that hopefully leads to a full-length album — they’ve said they’ve recorded a few tracks already. They really sounded like Pink Floyd to me at FYF, not holding back on long instrumental passages that tend to spill your brain into the frying pan. When I first walked up, I couldn’t tell if the loud squeal coming from the stage was intentional or not. I think it was. I saw the cutest little hipster couple holding hands during the set and realized they could have each been conceived on Dusk at Cubist Castle’s release date, which made me feel a little old but glad they were there to experience this kind of obtuse music when something a bit easier to swallow, like Cults or Japandroids, was going on at the same time. I also saw a group of people “trippin’” Grateful Dead style, dancing around in tie-dye. One of them was holding a baby doll. Seeing them alongside one of OTC’s extended jams made me feel like I was on something too. Another girl was wearing a fox mask.
After catching the end of Cults — “Go Outside” sounded pleasantly anthemic, as usual — I saw No Age, who sounded weirdly pretty at FYF, as the marked lessening of decibels employed on their third album, Everything in Between, seems to have translated to their live show, too. It’s still loud, but more emphasis has been placed on melody and precision. “Fever Dreaming” sounded amazing.

Broken Social Scene sounded like the bewildering beast of a band they ought to, balancing between being the kind of hits-oriented indie flagship band people want them to be and the more indulgent collective they sort of are, which is to say, much of their music is great but is also jammy and they’re going to play a random Modest Mouse cover if they feel like it (“The World at Large”) and “Shampoo Suicide,” a mostly instrumental song from the pretty poppy You Forgot It In People. I didn’t care for the cover, but I liked that they did it. “7/4 (Shoreline)” delivered the singalong goods. Folks may have been sad Feist didn’t show up to sing, but touring member Lisa Lobsinger more than makes up for the absence with her springy stage presence and similarly lovely croon.
Girls were sort of letting me down. I might just not be that into their new stuff and its more languid feel. I kind of miss the scrappier side of them. Either way, it wasn’t the best live.
Everyone at a festival show probably has one or two bands that are their main reason for being there, and Guided By Voices were mine. I got to see them once before they initially broke up, and I’ll never forget that experience of being surrounded by very drunk 35-year-olds as a sober 21-year-old while Robert Pollard told lewd stories (something I’d rather not repeat about Kim Deal) and led the band through a fantastically sloppy set. While this performance shared some similarities to that one, namely the great amount of energy and fun they exude from the stage, I didn’t remember them sounding this together or powerful before. Pollard sang beautifully and forcefully, and seemed like he was having a ball, leading the band through GBV classics like “Exit Flagger” and “Game of Pricks.” I couldn’t stop singing or smiling.
Bonus feature: Chromatics and Glass Candy did double time by playing a decadent show the night before at Los Globos in Silverlake. Plenty of hipsters have tried to or at least wanted to go to Los Globos, and they finally got their chance (I hear shows at Los Globos might become a more regular thing? Awesome!). It was really crowded and seemed really hazy and coked out, which is basically perfect for both of these bands. Chromatics got the crowd nice and riled up, a feat given their dance-oriented but dark, ethereal sound — it works counterintuitively in a nightclub setting, creating a sort of sexy atmosphere that draws in listeners like a tractor beam and makes them sway with abandon. Glass Candy finished out the set nicely picking up where Chromatics left off, upping the pop and dance ante in a pretty rare way. It’s kind of like being at a drag show. I’m curious to hear their new record, especially after hearing their batshit-crazy new song.

Relevant Tags

Broken Social Scene (9), Olivia Tremor Control (2), Glass Candy (4), Chromatics (13), Guided By Voices (11), F Yeah Fest (1), Fuck Yeah Fest (2), Fyf (8), Girls (15), Cults (7), No Age (16)