Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Soloange, The Orwells,The Oh Sees, Death Grips, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, TV on the Radio....Why "Fuck Yeah! Fest" is the Right Name for FYF.

Port-a-potties are just nasty (c'mon-haven't we figured out a better alternative yet?), and the dust could be choking to the point of making you puke at times- but those were minor inconveniences.
The food and booze was kinda expensive but a better deal than going to see a game or at many concert venues.
Maybe there should have been more shaded areas to sit where you didn't have to deal with the potential of splinters in your ass...but? Not bad at all, all things considered.
There -all the bad shit is out of the way.
Damn. What a great weekend.
Between FYF and taking the time off the day-job it took me this long to get caught-up

I have been fortunate enough to be at some great music festivals, but this was my first 2-day affair where I wasn't camping and had to come and go each day.
No complaints. Easy-as-hell.

L.A. is way more transit and bike-friendly than anybody thinks and L.A. State Historic Park is a great central location.-If you don't believe me look up Union Station on Google and then give me an excuse for why you couldn't get here from much of California (or any place else) by bus or rail or from LAX.

NOT held at a 'venue' with contracted concession stands charging ball-park prices there were food-trucks and local vendors supplying food and drinksand free water.

The other really nice thing about L.A. State Historic park is the layout.
To cram three stages and other performance tents in such a small area could really start sucking pretty quick if not for some good planning and a little topography.
There is just enough space (32 acres) and two little hills to help separate the sounds from multiple sub-venues so you can hear what you want, when you want.
Pretty awesome.
All that would mean nothing if the the acts weren't great.
One of the reasons I wanted to go so bad was the mix of music.
MGMT, TV on the Radio, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs.....Indie bands who are now headliners are just part of the story. There were many I bands I had never heard of and some names I didn't get to see (Roky Erikson among others).
I go to these things not just to see artists I know I want to see, but to see others who seem promising.
I wasn't disappointed.
Here are a few sonic highlights-then I'll move on to other awesomeness.
I'll go in order of  best surprises based upon not knowing what I was getting into:
1.) The Orwells.
I had heard one or two of their songs on KCRW and dug the tunes. I knew their name but nothing about them. When they were about to start on Sunday there weren't many people by the stage so I got up close and in front of me were a couple of guys in their late 40s-early 50s talking about how great they were...the rest of the crowd was high school aged....
Always a good sign.
One of the older dudes commented that he thought they looked like they were in middle school...and I think, last year, they were.
And they were great. Many of the 'smaller' bands at the show could take some lessons from them about how to project to a large crowd.
And they had a large crowd by the time they were done.
2.) Solange.
For those of you who don't know, she is Beyoncee's sister.
Or, from here on out she is  the one who is to be known as the talented member of the Knowles family.
Not because there is anything wrong with Beyoncee-but because Solange is amazing.
I say this because her music sounds like the soundtrack to a bad 80s movie:
You know the one.
The one where someone goes to the 'Big-City' and as they are being awed by all the tall buildings and the hustle and bustle a generic song with all of the cliches of common popular music at the time plays?
Well, that is her sound.
And she is amazing at it.
I hated that music back then-but she is just so damn good.
And not just because she has a great band backing her up (which she does).
Because she gets what and where that sound came from, and because she is a kid and not a music snob, she just loves it and sings it.
If you told me when I was watching one of those movies in the 80s I would enjoy the soundtrack some day I would have stabbed you in the face with a soup-spoon.
3.) Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs.
I'll make this as brief as possible. So much has been written about this band and will be for years ...
For Christ's sake, David Fucking Lynch wanted to work with Karen O....and DID.
When I first heard YYYs (at one of the greatest bars on the Planet, TT Roadhouse in South Scottsdale, AZ. U.S.A.) in 2003 I knew they were great.
I had NO idea that they would maintain their greatness and become a sparkly-jacket-wearing stadium-quality headliner.
They are great fucking Rock stars.
Karen O.'s way with a crowd is just fucking beautiful.
I honestly can't think of a band that can be that musically spare and still project to a crowd like an over-produced, multimedia circus does.
And I love over-produced multimedia circus Rock stars.
Even Pearl Jam in their early days (sonicly)seems like U2 in comparison.
One of my favorite things in the whole two days was listening to to Karen O. start laughing at interactions with the crowd while she was trying to talk in between songs.
It was so obvious and honest.
4.) Death Grips.
I have only heard a few of their songs, the most obvious of which is "I've Seen Footage". I know of them by a few friends on FB but mostly via SIRIUS XMU.
I spent too much time watching YYS Saturday night to get close enough to Death Grips to feel the full force of their show, but....WOW.
This is a band-and they area band-that will be a future influence well beyond any commercial success they have.
It was like watching something from the some thing the prison band from Alien III would cover in their barbershop quartet.
I had no clue they were a band until I saw them live.
5.) TV on the Radio
How are these fuckers still playing Indie festivals and not selling-out Wembley ?
They should be a festival..
6.) Thee Oh Sees.
The first time I heard 'Stinking Cloud' I was grabbed in a way that I only was by my first listening of Soul Coughing almost 20 years ago.
Johnny Dwyer is just the shit. Out of all of the acts I saw he was the most 'old-school' professional about being a gracious host to their stage, thanking everyone, and promoting themselves and the other bands.
Oh, and they nailed every tune like motherfucking snipers.

Okay, on to the other stuff:
From the FYF Festival website FAQ:
Q: "Will there be WiFi?"
A: "No, please turn off your phone and enjoy the show."
Okay, the fact that even my 3G and LTE didn't work there was fucking lame (it cost me some money, seriously, you should have warned us in advance), but, mostly it was awesome. I didn't shut-off my phone-but I did refrain from phone-related avoiding taking some awesome pictures I wanted to take.
But, I will say this, it was part of what made the visuals I will always remember more memorable. Next year I will bring a camera and take some awesome pictures of some of the awesome people a-la
My best and briefest sketches of my two favorite mental images I wish I had taken pictures of?
1.) A kid-about 15. Chucks. Khakis. Faded blue Flaming Lips t-shirt. Glasses. Nerdy. Didn't care about being nerdy. Curly brown hair. Standing alone, calmly watching a band from a distance. Red satin cape. Not to get attention-just because he wanted to wear a red satin cape.
2.) A beautiful mom in her mid-30s and son about 12(-ish) who totally looked like a So-Cal kid.
She had short, spiked hair, he had long hair.
I saw them 2 times.
Once running, hand-in-hand from one stage to another, and then once just kicking-back in the dirt, out in the middle of nowhere, natural as can be, his head on her belly as he reviewed the days day's pictures on his iPod.
The two happiest people in the world.
Enjoy! Cheers, C.

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