Saturday, September 1, 2012
All eyes were on the stage before Megan James and Corin Roddick of Purity Ring even set a foot on it. The props for their set was intriguing enough with a plethora of lamps and shades that made the stage look like a mystic swamp or like the pulsing organs of a human being. Soon, it was revealed that the lights actually did function as the inner-workings of the band. On a few occasions, Roddick cued sound and lights with the tap of the lamps, creating a stunning sight and musical landscape. James’ delicate voice filled the air and weaved nicely through the cascading electronics. This young band is definitely one to watch both on and off stage.
After spending long hours in the sun, having electronic ambient music at an outdoor festival can be pretty risky, as there is a chance that it can bring down the energy to dangerously low level. Even though San Francisco’s Tycho played close to the end of the night, there was no sign of low energy. On the contrary, Scott Hansen, the brains behind Tycho, and his backing band furnished one of the best sets of FYF Fest. Nestled under the tent stage, they had a big crowd dancing with a crisp and refreshing mix of electronics. Hansen was on programming, switching between synths and guitar, while the other three guys of his band rounded out the sound on bass, guitar and drums. The sounds were so clear and cleansing that it felt like for a 50 minutes the festival was transported to an oceanside location. Seeing Tycho was a great way to get reenergized for the rest of the night.
From now on, whenever I hear the saying, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want your revolution,” I will think of Refused. The band closed the night on Saturday and showed the good effects dancing has on a revolution. From the moment that the band hit the stage, they ignited a powerful energy like no other. From “Refused Are Fucking Dead” to “New Noise,” the band members were on point. Vocalist Dennis Lyxzén swung his microphone with precision, wailed his inspiring words of protest and jumped all around the stage, sometimes in the crowd too. Surprisingly, he revealed that their appearance at FYF Fest was the band’s first ever show in LA proper. In the ’90s they played in other surrounding cities, and earlier this year they played in Pomona; but the Swedish band had never had a show in LA, which was astounding to hear and even more reason to celebrate. This set could have very well been a show from the ’90s, when the band was in its prime. Seeing the words “Free Pussy Riot,” written on the drum set in solidarity with the Russian punk group, made me wish that every band was as daring, magnificent and inspiring as Refused.
Sunday, September 2nd, 2012
When a guy tours as the violist for artists like Regina Spektor and Sondre Lerche, you know that he has to have some serious chops. Then consider that he is also a member of Of Montreal, you know that he also must have some wacky and cool ideas. Kishi Bashi was one of the most pleasant discoveries at FYF Fest. He started off his set by himself, his violin, and some looping. Sounds harmless, but it turned him into a renegade of violin music. The sounds were both beautiful and audacious. The set then grew as Bashi’s touring mates The Last Bison joined him on stage. The band added some great harmonies and fokly sounds. It was a great and joyous way to start the day.
Seeing that it’s an election year, it is an opportune time for Desaparecidos to start releasing some new music. Personally, I think Conor Oberst is at his best when he gets political and I was not disappointed by their loud and spirited performance at FYF Fest. Hearing songs like “Mall of America” and “The Happiest Place On Earth” made it clear that not much has changed in the world since 2002, when the band’s album was released. However, the familiarity was also comforting in the sense that the band could be MIA for so long and then pick up right where they left off with as much passion and fan support as before. Among tracks from the album ‘Read Music/Speak Spanish,’ they also played a cover of The Clash’s “Spanish Bombs” and four new tracks including “Backsell” and “MariKKKopa.”
There was no better way to end a long weekend than with a rambunctious dance party with the Faint. The mix of seductive beats, heavy bass lines and uninhibited energy made everyone in the crowd feel like they were on top of the world. As a collective we were invincible. The crowd was beyond ecstatic to hear old favorites like “Desperate Guys,” “I Disappear” and “Paranoiattack.” During that hour set, everything was all right with the world.
FYF Fest 2012 Photo Gallery
King Khan & The Shrines