The Best and Worst of FYF Fest 2014

Categories: festivals

Debi Del Grande for FYF Fest
Another FYF Fest has come to an end. It's likely one that people will remember for a host of reasons, good and bad. After all, it's hard to forget those times in our lives when we've encountered a major growth spurt. That's exactly what Sean Carlson's annual festival endured over the weekend after moving from LA State Historic Park and settling on a newer, bigger location at the L.A. Sports Arena and Exposition Center. It doesn't take more than a few seconds on social media to see how the crowds and the press reacted to the changes. And while there's much to be discussed regarding how things went, we narrowed our praise and complaints down to a select few. Here's our recap of the Best and Worst of FYF 2014.

The Best

Kelsey J. Heng for FYF Fest
Julian Casablancas and the Voidz:
There's something romantic about a band showing up for a festival completely unprepared. The rawness of a live show it seems has disappeared in favor of slicked up pop production. That's what made the Strokes frontman's side project (or is it?) so endearing. Seemingly flying by the seat of their pants most of the set, there were a number of production fails that would have frazzled a band solely dependent on sizzle instead of substance. Yet the haphazardness (in the best sense of the word) was charming in the sloppiest sense, and the new music the outfit performed was some of the most ambitious the singer has performed since the Lakers last lost in the Finals. When things didn't go right, the group didn't seem bothered nor it didn't prevent them from rockin' out on Casblancas' 36th birthday. --Daniel Kohn

The fashion
On a hot afternoon, most attendees managed to be stylish, but not offensive. There was plenty of variation, from the ultra punk look to vintage gear that brought you back to your childhood. Who didn't do the Jump For Heart as an elementary school student? And who didn't like Randy "Macho Man" Savage? These vintage outfits were a refreshing nostalgic trip and even better, the gear wasn't even of the Urban Outfitters variety. In this case, the definition of offensive in the sense that, gasp, there were no headdresses! Congratulations FYF, your attendees have common wardrobe decency that's escaped other major events. --Daniel Kohn

Nate Jackson
The Blood Brothers at the Trees Stage
It seemed like there were two kinds of people at FYF on Sunday: the people who came for a festival and the people who came to see The Blood Brothers. The Seattle quintet is just one of those bands who, despite calling it quits in 2007, still remain relevant to those with a thirst for thrash. The throat-shredding carnage from Johnny Whitney and the disturbing bellows of Jordan Blilie are still a match made in hell. And the atonal explosions of synth, drums and guitar on tunes from "...Burn Piano Island Burn", Crimes and Young Mechetes still hit as hard as ever. As we were sucked deeper and deeper into the pit in front of the Trees Stage, enduring the endless crushing crowd contractions and man sweat is as close as we probably could've felt to dying and being born at the same time. By the end of the set, exasperated fans could be heard above the feedback chanting "Don't break up! Don't break up!" The demand might've been wishful thinking, but considering they all had a big group hug on stage when it was over, it doesn't seem totally out of the question. --Nate Jackson

No dust!
At every festival, it's inevitable that people will unintentionally create a dust storm. That was the main issue with with having the festival at Los Angeles State Historic Park. Yet, all seemed to be well for people with dust allergies. There was no need for surgical masks, bandanas and the like because it was easy to breathe in the dry air without feeling like you were being choked or in fear of hacking up the black lung. If nothing else, people with dust allergies could rejoice, assuming they actually had space to huff and puff. --Daniel Kohn

Thundercat on the Lawn Stage
Few musicians in LA have turned the genre of jazz on it's head like Stephen Bruner aka Thundercat. Born in the backyard of FYF in South Central and nurtured by fellow FYFer Flying Lotus and the Low End Theory crew, Thundercat's sound, style and shredding ability are creatively unparalleled right now. With a beastly six string bass slung over his shoulder at the Lawn stage on Sunday, his acrobatic fingers danced over the fretboard while delivering songs from his to two Space Age R&B albums inspired by The Apocalypse. And of course, no Thundercat set is complete without an insane costume or piece of headgear. That fox pelt chilling on top of his head made him look like he just escaped from the Natural History Museum down the street. --Nate Jackson

Earl Sweatshirt takes us on a Journey
Yeah, we all came to see hip-hop wunderkind Earl Sweatshirt throw down on some Doris tracks on Sunday night at the Lawn Stage. But we also got a good laugh out of watching him warm up the crowd with an uncomfortably long sample of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." Steve Perry should be pleased to know he was relevant again for an entire minute of this festival. --Nate Jackson

Next page: And now for the Worst of FYF Fest 2014

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