Friday, September 7, 2012

FYF 2012- Shake and Bake in Los Angeles

Pictured: Michelle Halac  "How Men Should Dress"

FYF 2012 (the little music festival that could) improved so much from the so called debacle that it was last year. Don't get me wrong, there was so much to revel in last year but it was a bit like being on something resembling the DMV and Survivor. There were long lines, inept security, not enough free drinking water and shade. This year there were some wondrous improvements. The entry lines seemed to move along much smoother, (better on Sunday than Saturday), there was a water filling station with 8 faucets about midway between the two extreme stages and while the water did taste like tepid hose water, it was a lot better than nothing. There were these awesome cooling stages in two locations with box caged fans that sprayed water in your face or whatever else you could reach up that high. The Brazilian sunglasses brand Chilli Beans had a pair of spandex clad hotties with these fire extinguisher type guns that would shoot a blast of frosty cold air or carbon dioxide or whatever and blast your body. All this meant, that those who could not afford to purchase the $6 lemonade or $4 water could at least maintain a core body temperature under 101 degrees! There also seemed to be more shade tents.

The musical acts were varied and pretty awesome. All this talent made for some pretty tough decisions on who to see and who you were going to have to miss out on. FYF virgins, The Orwells and The Lovely Bad Things both drew the short straws and played first, The Orwells on Saturday and TLBTS on Sunday. Both bands have been together for less than three years and brought that well reported "youthful exuberance" to FYF with their retro punk / post punk songs. Both bands were probably the youngest performers at FYF especially The Orwells who definitely had to obtain fake IDs to get into the VIP area. Their bass player, Grant, seriously looks like he is a freshman in high school  (I believe only about half of The Lovely Bad Things had to score fake IDs).  Extending out this punk (Burger Records like family) were Fidlar, King Tuff (it was nice to see Matt from Audacity on guitar) and White Fence who I hoped might entice Ty Segall to join in on the fun but it didn't happen. The Allah-Las vocal mix was super sweet and some of their newer songs had a bit of that narcotic Growlers feel.

Midway into Saturday, I split my three o'clock hour between the alternative folk rock of Two Gallants and A.A. Bondy. I had never seen either live and both did not disappoint me. I inexplicably did not see The Vaselines but saw the synth poppy Chairlift instead. Was it a lapse in judgement? Yeah probably but Chairlift was cool. By then my stomach was calling me and I suddenly turned into a zombie stumbling about in search of sustenance. Most of the food trucks positioned by the Spring St. Stage had some long lines so I headed to the VIP area only to find one lone food truck. I was kind of baffled why there was only one. There were two last year in the VIP area and it was clear that as the day went on this lone truck would be overwhelmed and they were.

I opted to go hungry in lieu of seeing Fucked Up. The photo pit was insane and felt a bit like a mosh pit itself.
Damian Abraham is definitely a guy who needs that skin to skin contact with the audience.

After Fucked UP it was time to zone out and hang with friends until Sleigh Bells set time approached. The crowd swelled in anticipation. As dramatic pre-recorded orchestral music played, the huge wall of Marshall stacks and fog machine signaled the first big rock show of the day. Cloaked in darkness, Derek Miller blasted the opening guitar strains of "Demons" as the audience went nuts. By the time Alexis Krauss appeared through the blasts of light and fog the audience erupted. It was a mind blowing beginning to a memorable set.

M83 makes some truly amazing music but, I must say, it is not my normal cup of tea. Every song is so damn epic and perfect that M83's type of glorious sound is the kind of thing that (back in the day) created punk music. Or should I say punk and garage rock was a reaction to that glossy, synthy and overproduced sound of bands like Genesis. I also just am not moved by the Anthony Gonzalez's vocals. He is a great singer but his voice does seep it's way into my soul. ALL that being said, their performance at FYF was, well, epic. No they still did not move me but the visual and glossy performance WAS something to behold. 

Refused is ripping up every show on their 2012 reunion tour including their stellar performance at FYF - Dennis Lyxzen told the crowd "it took us 20 years to get to LA" along with sharing many other heartfelt emotions between song. I liked his attitude and the guy has every iconic rock move down and then some. He is the classic, perfect lead singer.

King Khan and the Shrines who channel just enough James Brown to make it dangerous. They were also the only band who had a "Buffalo Bill Dance" moment. I will leave that one alone.

First time every I saw Against Me live- Laura Jane Grace has a killer voice. It was a thrill to be in the pit when the front rows of the audience were singing along to "I was a Teenage Anarchist" (a 7" single and released on the 2010 White Crosses album).

FYF 2012 ROCKED- See You Next Year at FYF 2013

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