This year’s FYF Fest promised the “best weekend of the summer” and it didn’t disappoint its young audience. The music festival, which took place at Los Angeles Historic Park Labor Day weekend, was my first festival and I had no idea what to expect. I was invited by my can’t-admit-she’s-hipster best friend, who described the event as “Coachella before it went mainstream.” Considering I had never heard of a single band on the festival’s line up, I decided this was a great opportunity to experience new music.
The first act to really get my attention was James Blake, a 22- year-old British DJ whose sound stemmed from the new electronica phenomena called post-dubstep. Blake’s rhythm and blues vocals combined with a slow dubstep bass drop hypnotized the audience, as it swayed back and forth to the beat. One of this up-and-coming musician’s most popular songs is a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Case of You.” Covers are rarely as good as the original, but I believe Blake’s version is just as impressive with its soulful tone.
The big closure for the first night was the French band, M83, led by singer Anthony Gonzalez. As my friends and I waited patiently for the band’s song “Midnight City,” I couldn’t help but think it sounded like another famous band, U2. Is M83, with its use of reverb effects and emotional lyrics combined with guitar and drum instrumentals, our generation’s U2? Hipster fans flocked to the stage as if it was some sort of mecca. Although the band maintained the audience’s attention, it still seemed highly overrated.
Day 2 of the festival was considered the “band day”, as the previous day was filled with electronic music. As the sun went down, Nebraska Indie rock band Desaparecidos came onto the Main St. Stage. Named after the 1970s practice of South American governments kidnapping dissidents and tossing them out of airplanes into the ocean, the band talked to the crowd in between songs about social injustice among whites and Latinos.
The night ended with a crowded dance party to the ‘80s sounding indie/ dance punk band The Faint. The band, around since 1998, played countless favorites including “The Geeks Were Right,” “Worked Up So Sexual,” “Desperate Guys” and “Take Me To The Hospital”, which left the audience singing along and pumped up for more. The band closed with a promise to be back in LA before the end of the year for another show.
FYF Fest is the perfect event for an introduction to festivals. The crowd was young and easygoing, the price was reasonable and the wide variety of music offered something for everyone. One of the only complaints among FYF goers was they couldn’t be in two places at once to hear all the bands they wanted.