Show: FYF FEST
12:10 - Magic Kids
Since I had a physical ticket to the festival, I left my friend Tom behind in the hellish will call line and stood in a very reasonable line to get into the Los Angeles State Historic Park, a wide open space with almost no shade protection from the sun on one of the hottest Los Angeles days in memory. After negotiating the line and a thorough pat-down by a security card (including a cup check) I went off to the Oak Stage to see Magic Kids. The crowd was scarce at this point of the afternoon and I was able to walk right up to the stage. I was slightly familiar with the sunny power pop of Magic Kids before the show and their enthusiasm and energy was infectious. I sought out and bought their LP after watching their set at Origami Records pop up store. Then I checked in with my friend Tom and found out that he was still hours from getting out of the horrific will call line. I visited a Philly Cheese Steak foodtruck and bought a Sprite because they didn't have water and I wasn't allowed to bring any in.
12:50 - Lower Dens
After briefly looking around the merchant stands and the ever-evolving merch booth, I made way over to the Sequoia Stage which had some moderate shade and one of several water booths offering ice cold bottles of water for $4. I bought two, hoping to stay nice and hydrated as the sun beat down on my hipster hat and incredibly pale skin. I saw Lower Dens earlier in the year at The Smell opening for Future Islands and I liked their performances both times without being able to actually remember much about the band. I assume they are a band to watch and I should probably listen to their music in the future. I checked in with my friend Tom and his deep frustration with the line was having him considering just buying another ticket.
1:20 - Growlers
After watching Lower Dens, I wandered back to the merchant booths and found some dudes selling very masculine parasols with either Frankenstein or spider webs painted on top. I decided that even with the sun screen and my dumb hipster hat, my pale skin was going to get burnt to hell by the scorching hot sun. Throwing any semblance of fashion to the wind, I bought one and sported it until about 4 in the afternoon. I'm sure it was not a good look but I really didn't give a shit except once when a hot girl passed by and said "nice umbrella dude" while slapping my back. She made me briefly reconsider my policy against violence towards women. I got a text telling me that Tom finally snapped and bought another ticket and was now to be found in the beer garden, a concentration camp looking structure right next to the food stands that required you to stand in line each time you wanted to enter the beer garden (because there's no such thing as wristbands, apparently). I talked to him through the gate until he finished his $7 Heineken. Growlers, a band I had long intended to check out was performing at the stage close to the beer garden, so I made way over to that stage. The first thing I noticed was that the entire band was covered in white paint (which I later learned was actually flour, the result of a backstage flour fight); I assumed this was a reference to Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review concert get-up and I immediately liked the band. They played dance-friendly, surf music with funny banter between songs. The lead singer said that he felt like a "coke snot booger" and it was a colorful and accurate description of how the band looked. The entire band seemed like they were deeply under the influence of drugs and alcohol and they made me wish that it wasn't so damn hard to get a beer or sneak in a joint.
1:50 - Cults
I decided it was time to grab lunch and decided to drop $8 on a pepperoni pizza that was roughly the size of a bagel and tasted like an undercooked frozen pizza. It didn't do much to fill me up and I briefly considered grabbing another one but unfortunately I passed on that option. The next band up was Cults and I found their music fun and catchy and their female lead-singer oddly seductive in the way she lifted her legs up and down while dancing. They put on a fun show and I would be curious to check them out again at a small LA venue.
3:05 - Warpaint
My friend Tom was thirsty for another beer and I so I joined him at the beer garden. After waiting in line to get in, we stood in line for beer for him and more water for me. While we were there, we saw Warpaint from afar. I didn't previously know them and I was very impressed by their set. I wish I had gotten closer to the stage to get a better look at the hot girls in the band (that may or may not have included actress Shannyn Sossamon). I considered buying their EP after seeing their set, but opted to save my money for water.
3:35 - Best Coast
On the way to Best Coast, I watched two security guards tackle and wrestle with some dude who resisted all efforts to be handcuffed. Since I'd seen Best Coast three times prior to FYF, watching security try to handle some dude seemed like a reasonable alternative. After he was subdued to applause and complaint from the various smelly hipsters gathered around, I made way back to the Oak Stage and caught most of Best Coast's set, which was well populated and typically strong.
4:25 - Titus Andronicus
I've enjoyed Titus Andronicus' albums to date and definitely set aside some time to watch their set at FYF which was anthemic and rocking but unfortunately it was set at the Oak Stage, where the audience was placed on uneven dirt which kicked up into a dirtstorm whenever people moved around or danced. I swallowed a lot of dirt while watching Titus Andronicus before finally bailing a little before it ended to check out The Soft Pack.
4:50 - The Soft Pack
I'd seen them before and knew they put on a fun show, so I sort've half-watched their set while also getting a shirt screenprinted and flipping through some records.
5:25 - Wavves / Local Natives
With a mostly dead set I met back up with Tom and we decided it would be a good idea to try to grab food at the Philly Cheese Steak foodtruck while Wavves played the nearby Oak Stage. Unfortunately, the line didn't move for nearly 45 minutes and I started to get incredibly thirsty from eating a lot of dirt and the excessive heat. I went to the nearby water stand and found that they had run out of the $4 bottles of water(!) and weren't being particularly helpful telling me where I could find something to drink anywhere. I decided the Philly Cheese Steak foodtruck line was helpless and decided to try my luck at the American Cafe stand right next to the horrible pizza stand. I watched as the pizza line moved swiftly, turning out their pathetic pizza in a matter of about 30 minutes to the people in line while the line I picked seemed to be moving at a comparative snail's pace. However, I knew that a hot dog, hamburger or chicken sandwich was a better option than that pathetic, overpriced pizza that the next stand was offering. I found a friend in the pizza line and asked him to score me a water, which was some of the best water I've ever had in my life and I passed time talking to the people around me and faintly hearing the sounds of Local Natives on the nearby stage. When I finally got to the front of the American Cafe line they were out of every food item on their menu except for nachos. I'd seen the nachos earlier and considered them a last resort but decided that this was that last resort. I ate the rather sad tray of nachos with dirty fingers on the grass in a somewhat shady spot. I had a bag full of water now though and felt like I was not going to pass out (as apparently many less successfully hydrated people did).
7:15 - Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
One of the main draws of the festival for me was Ted Leo, who've I previously seen four times and always feel brings incredible enthusiasm to his performance. He played a very well balanced set of old standards, peppered with a good amount of material from his solid new album. Unfortunately, this was at the dirt storm stage and I probably inhaled another pound of dirt during his performance but at least I was able to enjoy a great set of rock music.
8:10 - Man Man
I'd seen Man Man previously and their performance was mostly an excuse to sit down for awhile and tap my feet. The sun was now down and the night was actually quite lovely. I had water and the nachos didn't make me violently ill. Man Man played several new songs and have apparently recorded a new album which they intend to release next year.
9:00 - !!!
The line for the beer garden died down by this point, it seemed like now was a good time for me to get a beer. After waiting in two lines, I got to the front of the line and found that the beer garden had run out of beer. I'm not one for mixed drinks and so I took this as a sign that I should just enjoy the taste of water and not complain about a festival that lacked the foresight even to stock up on a reasonable amount of kegs for the people attending the show. Who knows how much money they were throwing away by not being able to charge an arm and a leg for their bullshit beer. I honestly didn't really care about !!! before they performed and I cared less after taking in their set. Maybe if I had some beer, I could have gotten into the dance vibe they were exuding.
10:50 - Panda Bear
My most anticipated act of the day and I must say that I was a little disappointed by the show. He doesn't really move around or outwardly show much enthusiasm for the music he is playing onstage. Instead, he has a very well-compiled video montage set to his offer a psychedelic companion to his music. I enjoyed the new songs that I hadn't previously heard but sadly missed "Take Pills" & "Bros" which were not included in his set.
Overall Scientific Grade for Fest: 37/100
Would You Go Back?: It would take someone like Neutral Milk Hotel or Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 reuniting and headlining. I don't trust this fest to make improvements as they over-promised for this fest and under-delivered. They said they would have a dozen food trucks and they offered only two. They said no lines and my friend had to buy his ticket twice to escape the living hell that they called their will call line. They didn't allow ins-and-outs and they didn't allow people to bring (even sealed) water in from outside. By the end of the night people were referring to FYF as "Fuck You Fest" and it wasn't hard to understand why.