Category: Downtown

FYF Fest 2012: Refused, Wild Flag, M83, Yeasayer booked

Carrie Brownstein of Wild Flag
Now in its ninth year, the independent-focused FYF Fest is returning to the Los Angeles State Historic Park and for the first time since moving downtown will expand from one to two days. The lineup for the Labor Day weekend fest is an adventurous mix of acts young and old, leaning heavily on punk and veterans of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Top-billed artists this year include the reunited Swedish punk band Refused, reunited local rock band Redd Kross, the trippy M83, indie-punk supergroup Wild Flag and electro-soul artist James Blake. 

Once again the FYF Fest is working in conjunction with Coachella promoter Goldenvoice. This marks the fourth straight year that FYF has been stationed at the Chinatown-adjacent State Historic Park, also the site of this summer's dance-focused Hard Summer. While FYF has long specialized in promoting punk and noise shows in and around Echo Park, this year's lineup was first unveiled on Santa Monica's non-profit KCRW-FM, a sign of FYF's growing influence on the local scene.

Other acts booked for the festival, which will take place Sept. 1 and 2, include the reunited Desaparecidos, the politically inclined scrappy punk outfit led by Bright Eyes architect Conor Oberst, and the global influenced music of Yeasayer. All told, more than 50 acts were revealed Monday morning. Among the highlights: hard-core act Quicksand, noise-pop aficionados Sleigh Bells, '80s revivalists Twin Shadow, electronic act Purity Ring, the patiently ambient rock of Warpaint and in-the-news punk band Against Me!

Weekend passes will start at $77 and will go on sale Friday via Ticketfly. FYF Fest is all-ages and will run from noon until midnight each day. Tickets will also be available at independent record stores in the L.A. area and select Chilli Beans locations. Visit the FYF Fest site for a complete run-down of outlets. 

Complete lineup and poster is after the jump:

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Public Enemy puts spotlight on skid row

At Operation Skid Row, Chuck D and Public Enemy, and other acts bring attention to downtown Los Angeles' homeless district with a politically charged free show.

Flava Flav at Operation Skid Row

The concert stage for the Operation Skid Row festival was set up on Gladys Avenue between 5th and 6th, in the heart of downtown L.A.'s homeless district. As a white SUV turned onto Gladys, a murmur rippled through the crowd, turning into a roar as the hip-hop legend, elder statesman and co-organizer of the event, Public Enemy's Chuck D, exited the vehicle.

The goal of the free show Sunday was twofold: for hip-hop artists to perform gratis for skid row residents, and to spotlight the economic and political plight of L.A.'s homeless. It was no coincidence that it was scheduled the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. As speakers would pointedly note from the stage, this is also the 20th anniversary year of the Rodney King riots and the 25th anniversary year of Public Enemy's existence.

After leaving his vehicle, Chuck D spent a good 15 minutes walking through the crowd (a mix of skid row residents and fans from across the city), hugging attendees and posing for photos.

The crowd at Operation Skid Row

The necessity of erasing lines of privilege between celebrities and civilians, rich and poor, was a point Chuck drove home repeatedly in his roles as master of ceremonies and performer. His group Public Enemy headlined the largely old-school, West Coast-heavy lineup, kicking off the four hours-plus show and setting the performance bar so high it was only intermittently reached again.

With Public Enemy's Flava Flav, Professor Griff and scowling S1W in tow, and backed by a full band and DJ, Chuck D led the collective through a blistering set that included classics "Shut 'Em Down," "Can't Truss It," "Bring the Noise," "911 Is a Joke," "By the Time I Get to Arizona," and — of course — "Fight the Power." The scaldingly political and timely (if not timeless) lyrics, along with the group's high-octane energy level (yes, middle-age black men can jump) sent the crowd into a frenzy that held from the first note to the last.

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