Waking up the following morning for the second day, anyone who had downloaded the FYF app, or had been keeping up on his or her social channels learned of FYF’s apology to its fans. After reflection on the first day’s trials and some of the complications fans had sent to the organizers, they began to try and make up for it swiftly. Offering free bottles of water to compensate for the lack of availability. This wasn’t the only alteration. Their process for the lines as the entry seemed to be streamlined further allowing for quicker access and less time counting the clouds. The Arena had also been made much more accessible. With the floor being the only part open for audiences the day before; the seating that sat above the floor was now opened.
In an attempt to see the new opened areas of The Arena, and to have a cool dark place to go and rest, Kelela was the first and most obvious choice of the day. Kelela is an LA local who over the course of the last year has begun to truly take off. Her modest nods to this exponential growth were present throughout her set as she talked about working in a call center only miles from where we were, only a few months prior. This sort of trajectory is enough to send anyone’s head spinning, but Kelela, manages to keep her head on a swivel taking in everything this outrageous ride has to offer.
The cool dark atmosphere of the Arena was driving us into a weary state. The electronic mixes of Daphni, (alternate ego of Daniel Snaith, front man to Caribou,) weren’t enough to heal the pains of missing Caribou the night before. Honestly there wasn’t much keeping us in the Arena at that point, and so to the fields we left, in pursuit of a warm spot to rest our weary minds. With a sky full of clouds, and a gentle breeze wafting through, The Presidents of the United States put on a highly engaging afternoon show. Playing to the later 30 something’s in the crowd, these alt-rock legends seemed happy just to be part of the party, an appreciated sentiment that added much to their charisma with the crowd. Once we were able to find out how many peaches there were, (about a million or so,) it was time to make the trip back into the arena for Darkside.
A masterful creation out of the minds of producers Nicolas Jarr, and David Harrington Darkside has been tearing it up at festivals this last year. Their down tempo beats climax in a traditional rock and roll format that would leave any guitar heavy enthusiasts enthralled. As the news about their forthcoming split in less than a month just recently broke on the wires, this show was made especially more important. After nearly a year on the road touring some of the biggest cities and festivals the world has to offer, Darkside bid a fond farewell through the destruction of their now iconic mirror. With just a spotlight shining at its back, and the room clouded in darkness, there’s hardly a more rock n roll moment I’ve witness come out of FYF. Their performance, certainly a highlight to the weekend, will live on as highlight of the festival itself.
What could be seen of Haim walking out of the arena, suggested that the show itself would’ve been enjoyable to thrash around too. This coalition of sisters has grown into well skilled performers unabated by any complications that may come with a new festival arrangement. As the crowd grew to accompany the masses funneling out of the Arena, the energy and excitement grew with them. Haim in response began to shred louder and prouder than before… or perhaps it was just their way of ending the set. Whatever the case may be, these vixens of vociferous verses have begun to herald a resurgence of powerful female led rock, and frankly it’s about damn time!
Rounding out the weekend were The Strokes. Another modern rock pillar hailing from Brooklyn New York. The Strokes have been a steady fixture in the music industry for the last 15 years, with each passing cycle around the sun bringing with it exciting heights for the band, and its members. As a festival closer they were adequate. They bring with them a high-energy fast paced performance that allows for anything from spastic dancing, to rhythmically aligned head bobbing. Although it’s hard to believe that there would be a percentage of onlookers unfamiliar with The Strokes, it’s hard for me to believe that they picked up any new fans. This isn’t to say that their set wasn’t good, it just didn’t bring anything special to a performance that is also supposed to cap off an already amazing weekend. They played their hits, and that’s really anyone can ask for.
In the end, FYF 2014 delivered some memorable performances, some surprising curveballs, and a display of festival organization that seemed to appall and impress throughout the course of the weekend. As festivals grow, so will the bars at which patrons set their expectations. After a decade of cultivating a specific style and sound for FYF, promoters have done well to continue bringing in big names, and impressive lineups, (impressive not only in the names on the poster, but the scheduling to boot!) As this was the first year for FYF around the Coliseum, it’ll be exciting to see if they are able to iron out the kinks that they began to address on the second day. It should be noted that their constant communication with the fans in addressing the conflicts that arose, has been admirable. Of course easier access to the stages, and less maze-like structuring would be much appreciated, but only time will tell how they want to approach their continued development.