Category: FYF Fest

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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Pop music review: FYF Festival works out the kinks

The daylong event shows a thriving punk spirit

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This post has been updated. See below for details.

They were peppered throughout the 20,000-strong crowd at the exuberant FYF Festival in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday: first-generation punk band T-shirts worn by indie kids, twentysomethings and Gen X-ers alike. A chubby man wearing Minutemen; a pixie in a sleeveless Conflict jacket; the Big Boys on a sound guy; M.D.C/Stains shirt and knee-high black Doc Martens on a glum (and surprisingly young) skinhead. And of course many versions of the Black Flag bars. There was even a Slovenly shirt.

Most impressive were the couple who looked as if they'd just helicoptered in from Malibu: she in an elegant floor-length pattern skirt, perfect hair and nails, and a form-fitting Circle Jerks "Golden Shower of Hits" tee highlighting her Pilates physique; her man dressed casually sophisticated in a weathered Minor Threat shirt.

Punk rock long ago transcended class, age, gender and ethnicity to become a signifier not necessarily of outward rebellion but of the symbolic, crazy-on-the-inside variety. That sense of internal defiance continues to permeate the entire underground and has become a secret handshake that united not only the artists who made traditional-ish punk rock over the course of 10 hours of the FYF -- the Descendents, No Age, Off! among them -- but from a wildly divergent cast of in-yer-face artists including beat makers Nosaj Thing and Dan Deacon, the deeply sensual, self-referential house music of Portland's Chromatics and Glass Candy, and the catchy, arena-aspirant bands like Broken Social Scene.

"It's a punk rock festival. That means we're going to play ... in the wrong key," declared Guided by Voices singer Robert Pollard during his band's sturdy, hook-infused rock set featuring acrobatic kicks, monster choruses and a sexy girl delivering between-song lighted cigarettes to guitarist Mitch Mitchell.

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FYF Fest 2011: Video clips of Dan Deacon and Nosaj Thing

Dan Deacon at FYF Fest

In the later evening hours of Saturday's FYF Fest at Los Angeles State Historic Park downtown, I started snapping iPhone shots of artists to try and capture a sense of the moments. But I unknowingly triggered the video camera and began shooting split-second videos of a few artists during their performances.

So Sunday morning when unloading the camera, these tiny, boiled-to-the-essence clips popped up that capture moments in time. Are they instructive? Perhaps. Below is Nosaj Thing in an epic 3-second snippet.

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Big Freedia brings bounce back to L.A. on Tuesday at the Echoplex

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It's taken a while for the rest of the country to catch up to the second wave of raunchy bass and break-neck pace of New Orleans bounce music currently rumbling the city. In the last couple years, the gritty, good time hip-hop ringing through the Big Easy has made its way through the indie underground to become one of the music blogosphere’s shiny new toys. After receiving national attention during the music's first wave in the early '00s, which arrived via landmark New Orleans labels No Limit and Cash Money, the influential booty music movement has been taking the sound to new heights (and bottoms) courtesy of a diva with a powerful package.

Enter Big Freedia -- one of the genre’s most visible and unique gay rappers. With a barrel of sweat-soaked energy, a lionesque baritone and an asymmetrical rainbow haircut, the man born Freddie Ross has become a ubiquitous MC on a six-days-a-week performance schedule. Chances are if you’re new to bounce, he’s the one that brought it to you. And in recent years, Freedia’s role as the genre’s flamboyant ambassador has him traveling all over.

“They blew my mind last night in Bloomington [Ind.],” Freedia said in a recent phone conversation. “They knew the words before I taught it to them. They came with their little high booty shorts on with their .... ready to shake.” Criss-crossing the country on his latest Go Homo Tour, Freedia (pronounced Free-da) drops a sparkly anchor once again in L.A. on Tuesday night for a show at the Echoplex with Limp Wrist, a gay queencore punk band from Albany, N.Y.

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Guided By Voices, the Descendents lead a Goldenvoice-bolstered FYF Fest

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Less than 24 hours after the conclusion of 2010's FYF Fest, promoter Sean Carlson issued an apology. The Labor Day weekend event, a celebration of underground and adventurous music, was soured by a lack of water, interminable lines and an overall dearth of organization. Yet Carlson promises a more grown-up fest for 2011, having turned to local promotion powerhouse Goldenvoice to anchor Sept. 3's FYF Fest, to be headlined by punk vets the Descendants, alt-rock forebears Guided By Voices and gloomy instrumentalists Explosions in the Sky

"We wanted their expertise," Carlson said Tuesday afternoon of Goldenvoice, the AEG-owned promoter behind the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. With Goldenvoice at the helm, the fest has shifted from its location the past two years, moving out of Chinatown's Los Angeles State Historic Park and onto the streets surrounding City Hall. The area around First Street and Main Street had been previously used by Goldenvoice to stage the LA Weekly-sponsored Detour Fest.

Tickets, $35, go on sale at 3 p.m. Friday via TicketWeb. Other artists booked for FYF include the militant dance rock of Death From Above 1979, Canadian indie-pop act Broken Social Scene, Philadelphia's beloved late-'90s hardcore act Kid Dynamite, local noise rockers No Age and the playful retro pop of Mister Heavenly, among many others.  

Yet the very fact that FYF is returning for Year No. 8 is something of a local rock miracle. After last year, in which the purchase of a $4 bottle of water on one of the hotter weekends of the summer could take more than an hour, The Times wrote that it was "time to stage an intervention," adding that "a great lineup means nothing if you spend half your time beneath punishing, shadeless sun unable to meet any basic human needs."

Carlson said he heard the criticisms loud and clear. "Running the festival and dealing with all of the logistics burnt me out," Carlson admitted. "I didn’t want to do that anymore.

"I just wanted to focus on the booking, marketing, promotion and layout of the event. I don’t want to deal with all the small details. That’s what hurt FYF last year. We were spread too thin. People think this is a massive festival. It draws 20,000 people, but about six people worked on it. Things fell through the cracks."

A few of those "small details" came up in a short conversation with Carlson. While casually talking about some acts on the bill, a pair of oversights popped up. Like that Sub Pop's Mister Heavenly was not on the initial promo poster that FYF would be using in advertisements this week. 

Carlson was suddenly heard furiously typing and apologized numerous times. "It's very common that this happens to us," he said. Yet when the conversation resumed, Carlson caught another error on the poster, noticing that Off!, the latest punk project from Keith Morris (an FYF Fest founder, no less), was also absent. 

"Amazing," Carlson shouted when he saw the error. "I just caught another one that was not on the flier. Off! This is incredible. I’m sorry. Wow. God. This is amazing. I think a person forgot a whole line. "

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Grammys 2011: If local promoters FYF Fest and Team Arcade Fire ran the Grammys

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Everyone loves a good mystery. The members of Arcade Fire have long been practitioners of secrecy, and this week was no different. News has gradually trickled out via numerous Twitter accounts -- the band, the band's manager and promoter FYF Fest -- that the band would be playing an intimate venue Friday night.

As champions of the independents, the Arcade Fire promised to "avoid people sleeping outside" by staggering the info, performing at an all-ages venue and keeping tickets cheap. All fine and dandy, except ticket locations were revealed last night via some far from cryptic images that ensured, essentially, that people would have to sleep outside to have a shot at getting in to this exclusive concert. Here's hoping the band's younger fans were able to ditch school to hang all night and buy tickets at noon. 

To be sure, measures to keep scalpers away were inspired. Those buying tickets would have to give the name of their guest at the point of purchase, and then names would be checked at the door (in a super fast moving line, no doubt).

Yet whether it worked remains to be seen. Throughout the night, silent auctions have been popping up via Craigslist, as those in line at Fingerprints, the El Rey or Origami have been asking fans to e-mail their best offer to get their names on the list for their second ticket. Thankfully, the Craigslist community has been adamant in flagging the posts

Yet was unleashing the ticket info early Thursday night via Twitter the most fan-friendly approach? Or should the band have done something a bit more open, "given back" in a manner similar to Vampire Weekend who performed in a Boyle Heights park? Or maybe, perhaps, everyone should follow FYF Fest's lead and turn all promotion into something of a scavenger hunt? 

To wit, Pop & Hiss presents how Sunday's Grammy Awards, airing on CBS at 8 p.m., would have looked if FYF Fest handled the promos:

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Live review: Despite failures, FYF Fest gives crowds a lot to cheer about

Bestcoastfyfest The annual FYF Fest, now in its seventh year, experienced serious growing pains Saturday at the Los Angeles State Historic Park downtown, even if the music onstage offered gratifying highs. The daylong concert featured 35 buzzing bands, a combination of rising, boundary-pushing underground acts and seasoned rock stalwarts, and drew an enthusiastic crowd estimated to be 20,000.

But just as last year, those arriving early to catch the first roster of bands were left stranded in interminable lines. Although the musicians onstage played to eager enthusiasts, the behind-the-scenes organization was visibly lacking throughout the day and night, as evidenced by overflowing trashcans, lack of water dispensaries and endless queues.

Festival-goers are nothing if not a dedicated bunch, though, and despite the many problems, the patient and the persistent experienced a hefty offering of musical joy. Here are highlights and lowlights:

Best costumes: The Dead Man's Bones children's choir was called Warm Glass of Milk, and it arrived decked in period costumes. The kids, ranging in age from preschoolers to teenagers, came portraying (among others) Charlie Chaplin, Audrey Hepburn, Janis Joplin and Ludwig van Beethoven, stood behind Bones' founders Ryan Gosling (yes, the actor) and Zach Shields and belted out a wonderful array of couplets, the best of which was "I raise my flag up into your heart / You let the winds come tear it apart."

Best singalong: It's hard to imagine that one year ago Local Natives were hustling the Eastside residency circuit. Because if the crowd's instant, rapturous reaction to the boozy piano intro to "Airplanes" was any indication, they were born to play to fields of thousands. It takes a special skill to make a line like "Every question, you took the time to sit and look it up in the encyclopedia" into a lighters-up moment, but the Natives' crystalline harmonies could make a cookbook feel anthemic.

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FYF Fest headliner Panda Bear talks about his 'authoritarian' songwriting

Pandabear In the strange ecosystem of Animal Collective, Panda Bear is the difficult one. That’s saying something for a guy in a band with barely a phonetically discernible lyric in its long catalog of tongue-wagging acid jams. But while co-frontman Avey Tare supplies a lot of the melodic heft that kicked the band onto the Billboard charts last year with “Merriweather Post Pavilion,” Panda Bear (Noah Lennox to the government) brings the tangles of synthetic samples, errant noise blasts and the woozy harmonies that make the band’s albums immersive worlds all their own.

His solo breakthrough “Person Pitch,” a cracked take on Beach Boys bliss run through a beatmaker’s hall of mirrors, was Pitchfork’s favorite album of 2008, and expectations are simmering for its followup due later this year. The minimalist drum patter of the first single “Tomboy” gave a hint at its direction, but we talked to Lennox from his home in Lisbon, Portugal, (where he relocated after stints in Baltimore and New York) to hear more about his unusual knack for making drippy psychedelia sound like pop hits in anticipation of his headlining set at the FYF Fest this weekend.

How has living in Lisbon affected what you’re interested in pertaining to your solo career, considering you’re pretty isolated from your band?

It’s definitely forced me to be more responsible, as far as being organized and answering e-mail and things. But it hasn’t really changed how I approach it creatively, even in the band one of us always comes in with a pretty finished foundation and then we work on it from there. I’m a big believer in that your environment affects the music you make, so I’m sure things like walking the streets here affect it, but it’s hard to put my finger on it.

So many people have found a kind of childlike wonder and sense of exploration and repetition in your music. How has raising two actual young children informed that sensibility?

The kids have definitely changed me, not taste-wise necessarily, but I feel a lot more responsibility to do my best with music and cover all my bases.

In the sense they made you more open to commercial success, knowing that a family depends financially on your music?

Not that exactly. I always start by doing exactly what I want to be doing in a kind of creative vacuum, but having a family has really moved me to make that music be as successful as possible. It’s a tough balance to maximize your potential, but to do that you’ve got to tour all the time and I don’t want to leave my family in the dust.

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FYF Fest: The must-see acts and the maybes, an hour-by-hour guide

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The FYF Fest marks the unofficial close of the outdoor rock 'n' roll festival season in Southern California, bringing it to an end with dissonant guitars, vocal yelps, disaffected beach-bum punks and even a song or two inspired by the Civil War. Thirty bands and three stages, the all-day affair at the L.A. State Historic Park falls somewhere between a neighborhood block party and Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival, taking a smaller, more targeted approach to the multi-act bill.

Plenty of it is adventurous, and some of it is even a bit tuneless. Yet the celebration of the underground, the niche and the weird is also a bargain. Tickets started at $20 for early-bird buyers, and in the days leading up to the fest, now in its second year in Chinatown, have risen only to $30. 

Rare, indeed, is an affordable all-day fest that is as pridefully left-of-center as FYF. With a bill built for discovery -- as well as one that contains plenty of local heroes -- Pop & Hiss breaks down the must-see-acts and those you may want to investigate, time permitting. The hour-by-hour guide is below.

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Set times announced for Sunset Strip Music Fest: Smashing Pumpkins, Common close it with a taste of Chicago

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Nestled between this weekend's Sunset Junction and the Sept. 3 FYF Fest is West Hollywood's three-day celebration of rock 'n' roll riffage and crossover hip-hop. The third annual Sunset Strip Music Festival closes with an all-day street fest and headlining sets from Billy Corgan's current incarnation of the Smashing Pumpkins, as well as former Guns N' Roses slinger Slash and rising psychedelic rapper Kid Cudi. 

Though events start happening at West Hollywood clubs on Aug. 26, only Aug. 28 will feature two outdoor stages and a host of nationally known acts. 

Set times for that day's fest, which will close down a stretch of Sunset Boulevard to house the two stages, were unveiled today, and will feature a closing hand-off of sorts from a pair of Chicago-bred artists. Veteran rap lyricist Common will finish out a stage near the corners of Sunset and San Vicente Boulevard, ending his set moments before the Smashing Pumpkins take to a stage closer to Doheny Drive at 8:20 p.m.

The Aug. 28 portion of the fest, in which music starts at 1 p.m., will involve a host of Sunset Strip venues, including the Cat Club, the Key Club, the Roxy Theatre and the Whisky A Go-Go, with bands playing throughout the afternoon and into evening. Tickets for Saturday are $49.50 in advance, and $60 at the gate. Other acts on the bill include Semi  Precious Weapons, Travie McCoy, Neon Trees and the Binges. Fergie is slated to guest with Slash.

Full set times after the jump:

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