Ah, it’s Labor Day weekend. If you’re not away at the beach this weekend, you should be at FYF Fest in Los Angeles. Our writer Ace Ubas gives us his picks for the festival. Make sure to get there early!
The Men (2:45-3:25 Hill St. Stage)
If you want to start the festival in a rather blood pumping manner, then I highly recommend seeing Brooklyn’s The Men (not to be confused with MEN). For two years straight, they’ve released albums that cements their place as the top punk rock band today (with a third coming out next spring). Then again, it helps that the band has three different talented songwriters to provide diversity with each and every song that they write, so calling them purely a punk band is a bit of an injustice. Their latest album, Open Your Heart, is one of my favorites this year where they have taken punk elements and infused elements of blues and psychedelic rock into their songs. In a day that’s already punk/hardcore heavy, The Men is a MUST see.
Once you have the chance to get your adrenaline going and looking for another band to keep your mosh on, then look no further than Toronto’s Fucked Up. It’s not often that a hardcore band gets nominated for a Polaris Prize or makes it in nearly every music critic’s year end list, but Fucked Up manages to do so especially with their latest David Comes to Life, an 18-track epic that is actually a rock opera. This should make you realize that they’re obviously not your typical hardcore band, which gives it all the more reason why you need to see them.
If you’re going to go by this schedule for FYF, then you might be tired (or bruised or bloodied or both) from all the moshing. With the sun setting at this time, why not have a nice change of pace with Chromatics and get your dance on. Their subtle yet complex style of synth-pop makes them a stand-out in the electronic music scene. In fact, they’re the only band that has taken the Italo Disco sound and added their own modern spin to it. This has lead to their latest album Kill for Love to be one of the best this year after a five year break.
James Blake had a huge, and I mean HUGE year last year. While he was progressively making an impact in his native England, it wasn’t until his hit and cover of Feist’s “Limit to Your Love” that truly garnered him popularity and success. Having collaborated with Bon Iver certainly doesn’t hurt either. The post-dubstep musician/producer is finally back in the states, ready to build off his success and make waves once again. Plus, he has one of the more mesmerizing voices around that is full of dramatic emotion and soul. Why not have your heart wrenched at least once during a festival?
How can you go through a festival without seeing one of the most important bands in the history of punk and hardcore? You’d be foolish to do so. Refused are fucking back so get ready to get be part of one crazy mosh pit. After 14 years after their initial break up, the Swedish hardcore punk band reunited early this year, going mainly on the festival circuit. But now they’re back in Los Angeles in what could be the last time they set foot in California (at least for the foreseeable future). Having the opportunity to see a seminal and influential band such as Refused is one that everyone has to take, whether you’re a fan of the genre or not!
Father John Misty (3:50-4:35 Hill St. Stage)
Fleet Foxes took a huge blow when drummer J. Tillman announced he was leaving the folk group to focus on his solo project, Father John Misty. Luckily for us, he made a pretty good decision. Father John Misty is his light-hearted and witty approach to folk rock, evidenced by the title of his debut album, Fear Fun. Basically, if you want to start off the second day of the festival on a weird, quirky, (maybe) fantastical note, then see Father John Misty.
This is where things pick up for the day: Lightning Bolt. Known for their guerrilla-style performances, it’s not often you get to see them play in a traditional setting. But who cares what setting you see them in, just as long as you get to see them! It might be helpful and safe if you wear ear plugs because they are LOUD. It’s hard to believe that that amount of noise can be produced by a drummer and a bassist that incorporates a banjo string into his instrument. You wouldn’t have guessed that their influences come from classical composers because of their raucous nature, but their impressive ability to improvise is clearly a classical influence. Simply put, see Lightning Bolt. It’s not often they play shows and in Los Angeles for that matter. This one is a no-brainer.
Dinosaur Jr. ALWAYS puts on a great live performance, even after being in the business since the mid-80s. Watching J. Mascis shred on his six-stringer is always a spectacle, leaving you awestruck. Not to mention that their use of distortion and feedback has influenced many bands in the punk, noise, and garage rock scene. With a new album coming out in a couple of weeks, expect some new tunes but also some classic ones thrown in there as well.
It’s hard to pin down a term to describe Yeasayer. Their sound ranges from psychedelic pop, freak folk, and world music. But it might be accurate to describe them as experimental – taking influences from where ever they can to create a mélange of music such as melodies from the Middle East and Asia. The fact is that their music is highly textured and intricate that it can create a mental visual on their own. Their music is filled with infectious pop hooks, three-part harmonies, tribal beats, and lush melodies. That makes for one hell of a hypnotic performance that is sure to trip you out.
Having Beirut end FYF is a great way to relax after a pretty chaotic line up. Their European-esque folk sounds should serenade and calm you. I had the pleasure of seeing the Zach Condon-led outfit live at Outside Lands last year and they were perfect in an open air setting. Granted the grounds at Outside Lands are much bigger than FYF, but regardless, their signature multi-horn-driven and intimate sound travels beautifully in that type of setting.