The daylong event shows a thriving punk spirit
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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.