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FYF 2014: Day One

This year’s FYF music festival took place in the L.A. Exposition Park, home of the Los Angeles Coliseum, as well as the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Though both have housed their fare share of amazing events, games, and festivals, (EDC of course having made it their home for several years,) FYF organizers had their own logistical hurdles to navigate. From traveling to and from the festival, and figuring out the festival itself, this was definitely a growing year for FYF.

Gates to this year’s fest opened at 2:00pm sharp, with the first act starting at 2:30pm, wanting to beat the crowd the decision was made to head in early. It’s hard to say whether this was for the best or not. After waiting in a line that was slowly wrapping its way around the park for nearly an hour and a half anticipation was quickly turning into frustration. Eventually we managed to make our way in.

Though it was hard to imagine Man Man playing an early afternoon slot, it was the best way to start of FYF 2014. They’ve always been a welcomed show, as I can be found eagerly sprinting to any show I can get to. Additionally their chaotic performance also stands as an accurate parallel for the weekend ahead.

As we began to traverse the maze we would come to call FYF 2014, one couldn’t help but feel the congestion beginning to build. Fortunately it wasn’t the same congestion the dust clouds at the Historic State Park, had caused during the last several years of FYF. In an attempt to familiarize ourselves with the lay of the land, we decided to take pursuit in discovering the rest of the grounds. At least that was the plan until we realized Slint was playing in the Arena.

Walking into the Arena, you were greeted with the comfort of air conditioning. The best feature of the newly acquired digs would definitely be the climate control for where the brunt of the dancing occurs. Unfortunately figuring out how to get around the arena proved to be easier said than done. Arriving just in time to watch Slint wail for their last few tracks it was a set long overdue. After years of missing this band it was great to finally kick out some of that angst that they helped to foster for so long. I would never have pitted them in front of an electric starry sky like the arena, but it didn’t take anything away from their set.

Shortly after Slint left the stage, Chet Faker began to play his set. It was at this time, unbeknownst to myself, that the Arena had begun to fill to capacity, making Chet Faker’s set a pipe dream to a large number of already frustrated patrons who had waited in line for hours to get in, only to find another line, and another obstacle. Chet’s smooth harmonics fuse well with his synthed up down tempo, bringing with it a sensual atmosphere. He took a second to thank his fans for helping promote his career and download his tracks, essentially propelling him to his current heights, right before leading in to his most well known song and cover, “No Diggity,” needless to say, the crowd went crazy.

Leaving the arena we began to realize the craziness that had grown outside, the congestion and amount of people had grown exponentially, and there was no change change in sight. Though the Arena led out to the main stage area it was a decent ten or fifteen-minute walk for a few hundred yards to the stage. This is because FYF decided to put the only entrance to the main stage right in front of two beer gardens, and the access point into the Arena. Creating a true cluster-f@#k of bodies ramming into one another in hopes of escaping detainment in the sea of anxious fans. This unfortunately made enjoying Future Islands next to impossible.

It took no time at all for Sam Herring to whip the crowd into a frenzy. This was the third time in four years for Future Islands and FYF. Most certainly at the peak of their careers, this crew from Georgia have proven time and time again that they are vying for that top spot on the contemporary boards. With a visceral experience to be almost guaranteed thanks to Herrings harrowing animation, Future Islands is, and has always been a band to see. Perhaps they should have been forgone to see some else, but frankly that’s a laughable thought. Although had I known that getting back into the Arena was going to be next to impossible, I may have sacrificed this opportunity to sing Tin Man in hopes to catch Caribou. After Future Islands, it proved to be a fruitless endeavor to try and get into the Arena. The wall of people that had formed around the entrance effectively blocked all egress from the main stage area. Thank God there weren’t any emergencies, otherwise it would’ve been a terrible scene to witness.

With all access points cut off, the only area offering respite were the beer gardens close to the main stage, that was if you fought for a spot, biting and clawing enough to make it there. Watching Julian Casablancas sing to the setting sun seemed like a decent consolation prize. The Strokes frontman was pulling a double header for this particular festival, under his own solo moniker he’s allowed the creative freedom to play and arrange however he desires. Ultimately this produces…a sound similar to The Strokes. Then again this may have helped build the perfect anticipation for Interpol who were quick to follow.

Interpol, led by Paul Banks, and the boys from Brooklyn, strolled out in all their glory. The warm summer temperatures weren’t enough to knock them out of their stylish three-piece suits. With El Pintor, Interpol’s new album recently released, you would assume that this would become a focal piece of their set…In actuality there were few clips from El Pintor, as Interpol gave the audience what they wanted in their older tracks with a little Evil, PDA, and even Slow Hands.

As is customary with all lineups there’s always that one artist you want to see, but after looking at schedules and festival maps you have to learn how to let them go—unfortunately this was the case for Grimes, that was until we had to scour the festival for water and ended up at “Lawn” stage. Our search for salvation in hydration left us with front row seats to this young Canadian transplant. Describing Grimes’ performance is much like describing her musical style; it’s not impossible but it does come with some confusion. Her eclectic sound is self-described as “ADD music,” in its quick and dramatic shifts, so her shows have to reflect that. With the crazy accompaniment of dancers, and minimalistic strobe lights, it was hard to imagine such an eccentric display coming from such a young performer, but they energy and excitement she displayed while bouncing on the stage definitely reflected her age and experience.

Phoenix was kind enough to grace FYF 2014, making with it their last scheduled show after a tour that’s kept them on the road for the last year and a half. After watching Phoenix several times during their last tour it was easy to tell that the road had take its toll on these fabulous French bards. This isn’t to imply that their show was any less enthusiastic, or anything less than a great time—it really is more something you could only notice having watched them several times over. By this point in Phoenix’s tour in support of their last album Entertainment, they have mastered their set lists, and set transitions beautifully, everything has grown to become second nature to them. Their show is packed with explosive points of confetti, some increasingly obligatory crowd surfing, and of course the iconic statuesque posing that seems to be a French standard, (see: Justice.)

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