My First Day At The FYF Fest, Saturday August 22nd 2015 Review
These two-day festival had been hard on my body, I am now exhausted because I wanted to see too many bands and because these stages were still so far apart from each other! I ran everywhere, here is a recap of day one at the festival.
2:30 pm JUNK – Trees Stage
I start Saturday afternoon rocking with JUNK and their fast and melodious songs with nonchalant, even morose vocals. They had a few full rockets with an exuberant sound and had just released their first single the day before, a very young band to kickoff the day, which, amazingly, was not as hot as last year.
3 pm Kevin Morby – Lawn Stage
Since he and his female bassist were wearing matching blue shirts and black pants, they looked a little bit like school kids in uniforms, but their sound was very interesting, producing almost static and atmospheric songs with haunting oooo-oooos. Morby’s clear and sometimes dragging vocals were thriving through the vigorous guitars reaching explosive endings, then, they gave us this ear worm, ‘All off my life’, a song you would swear you already know at the first listening.
3:35 pm Bronco – Trees Stage
They were playing with a full force and a wild energy with an intense and impetuous presence and a singer with throaty vocals. They got punk and grungy with a ramonesque reverb and more fuzz in the guitars than the previous bands
4 pm Mikal Cronin – Lawn Stage
Cronin and his band had an expansive sound but still poppy with keyboard, full guitar, and vocal harmonies. They seemed to have the desire to reach something epic and grandiose with fast beats and explosive developments.
4 40 pm Alvvays – Main stage
I had never heard of them but the crowd was impressive, the front girl looked like a sort of high school cheerleader, wearing a short pleated white skirt, but with her youthful vocals and her sweet poppy songs, she could have been Best Coast’s little sister.
5 pm La Femme – Trees Stage
What? A French band singing in French and doing it very successfully? They were a lot of fun to watch, having a sort of hypnotic dialogue and a Montmartre circus party with a lots of keys, surfing guitars, an electro sound a bit mechanical in the vein of the B52’s, and a punk organ sounding like the Buzzcocks. ‘Are you ready for the ride?’ said the main singer with this famous French accent, while dust was riding from the ground because of all the moshing… ‘Do you like them?’ asked me a pretty girl. I told her I did… ‘He is my boyfriend’ she replied proudly while pointing to the singer.
5:45 pm Joyce Manor – Main stage
I already knew about their short bullet-like and very efficient songs, as they always turn into sing-along punk-pop anthems! They played all the favorite ones, ‘this a song song about meaningless love’, said the singer said before ‘Heart tattoo ‘ while pushing their screaming harmonies front row. They thanked Sean Carlson to have been invited to the FYF fest four times in a row, something quite incredible for a young band. The rest of the set was a long mosh and crowd surfing party, along with their empowering exuberant anthems. I could not breathe anymore because of all that dust!
6:10 Metz – Trees Stage
Metz always makes the greatest impression, they have all the power of the world with their grungy Nirvana-esque songs, filled with full throat screams and violent outbursts. As usual, it was an empowering sound, a spine-curving, neck-breaking set, bringing brutality but in a good way as if there were on a mission to install more disaster in the world. The Toronto band shook everyone’s neurons, pushing distortion with no restrain mimicking guitar breaking a few times, as if there were no limits and no tomorrow.
6:30 pm Dinosaur Jr. – Main stage
J Mascis was wearing that same green eye shirt than last time I saw him, and I always have the feeling I know him. Of course, people were recognizing their propulsive songs, J and Lou are legends and they know it, they lost themselves in distortion, trashing around the enormous amps and building a huge guitar-bass sound, marrying hooks and dissonance into fuzz and chaos.
7:05 pm the Drums – Lawn Stage
The Drums charismatic frontman, Jonathan Pierce, was wearing a very cool jacket, all glitter and very LA with palm trees, and he had this unique way of dancing, making these slow and ample gestures, moving slowly and elegantly. The sweetness of their hooks made all the girls around me smile with delight… Then there was that persistent Smiths feeling, showing that the Drums were the perfect band for a festival headlined by Morrissey the next day. I realized the crowd was in love with their English beats as I was surrounded by fans, who knew all the lyrics. ‘Do they know he is gay? I was ready to ask all the girls… But there was no doubt anymore when Pierce pointed to someone in the crowd with a ‘This is my husband there’. The crowd rushed to the stage a few times and Pierce introduced a song about his dead best friend (‘Best Friend’), a sad song over an upbeat dance… ‘You are my best friend then you died ‘. It was a catchy one capable to move any crowd… ‘You don’t need a god to feel worst’ said Pierce. Well, a music festival is always a good time to remember people about your atheist convictions.
8:05 pm !!! – Lawn Stage
I still don’t know how to pronounce their impossible moniker and I am not especially a fan of their synth-disco and dancing frontman. Their first song had minimalist beats but they got funnier and funnier with chunky dance beats, Nic Offer’s falsetto and a nervous Talking-Head-ish electro funky disco, Offer had that funk energetic weirdness that only belong to a white man, but I had to leave to catch Chet Faker on the main stage
9 pm Chet Faker – Main stage
Faker started with pure electronics in the mist, wearing a hoodie as if he was fearing rain in the middle of August in LA, and everybody cheered up when he pulled it out. Then came the songs, soulful and still electro, a sort of floating R&B with a sad melancholia, melting brains with deep key notes and loops, singer Banks came on stage for ‘1998’ and he dedicated ‘Gold’ to all of us… ‘You gotta know, I’m feeling love’ he was serenading with his breathy sensual jazzy keys to the thousands of people there. Chet Faker was playing on the main stage, just before Kanye West, and the crowd was already immense.
10:10 pm Savages – Trees Stage
Waiting for Kanye on site was not worthy, there was no way I would have had a good spot so it was time for a few minutes of Savages who were slaughtered the Trees stage, while frontgirl Jehnny Beth was a stunning vision, she was really walking on the crowd before jumping into chaos. From afar, they sounded like a more aggressive version of Joy Division.
10:20 pm Bloc Party – Lawn Stage
I thought they were a dance band, but it was not exactly the case, I unfortunately heard very little of them but they had really dramatic guitars over Kele Okereke’s emotional voice… with a lot of lighting effects, their set looked furious and their sound-on-steroids was somewhere between Radiohead’s oldies and TVOTR.
10:45 pm Kanye West – Main stage
I felt obligated to see Kanye, he was the headliner, and what a headliner, the self-proclaimed biggest rock star in the world? It looked like Frank Ocean’s last minute cancellation had not been a problem at all, as he was promptly replaced by a bigger name… I guess nobody a bit more indie was available on a Saturday night? And Kanye was? It’s sad, I certainly can’t speak for everybody, but looking at this sea of people, I could tell that the large majority of people was not disappointed.
I was so far from the stage that Kanye looked very tiny, even though he was singing about kings and gods. I can tell he was doing his usual Kanye with an incendiary set, rapping over samplings, voices and noises of all categories, being ferocious with a big scary voice and trying to galvanize the crowd… Sure he is an impressive performer but all this still looks like a good karaoke to me – hey there are no musicians there – with a good mise-en-scene of flashing lights, punk-rap assaults, forbidden words and auto tuned vocals. God! how I hate hate auto tuned vocals! Kanye was going through all his hits because even someone like me was able to recognize them, ‘Niggas in Paris’, New Slaves’, ‘Runaway’…
‘This is a song about power like all the other ones!’ he said pushing some animal screams. I still don’t know what he was looking for on the floor –I know that’s the way he dances – but Kanye was acclaimed by tons of people while I was getting exactly what I had expected. I was hoping for a surprise and we all got one with Travi$ Scott getting on stage, and especially Rihanna singing that Macca song with Kanye and another one (‘All of the Lights’). Apparently she was in the crowd, probably in the VIP section, and jumped on stage at Kanye’s invitation? Then Kanye turned crazy when he realized he only had 7 minutes left, ‘One hit per minute’? yeah he did a lot of chances of songs, speeding through his set, he was even sampling his own songs?
The crowd was with him, but I wonder what was going on the Trees Stage where Cold Cave was playing followed by The Jesus and Mary Chain? What are you thinking FYF fest, do you want to compete with Glastonbury or Coachella? … you were this cool DIY fest and now you are all grown up and so big. How much did you pay Kanye? More than Frank Ocean? I would like to know, as I was amazed to see that 2-day tickets were still available a few days before the festival,… which didn’t sell out? I read this comment somewhere on the web (‘sales are so poor, Goldenvoice decided to pay Frank Ocean off and bring Kanye who will obviously sell tickets,… Fuck GV and FYF’) and now I don’t know what to think!