Dusty hipsters covering up expensive designer outfits with one dollar bandanas, Tobias Funke conducting social experiments in person and lots of music — this is the atmosphere of this year’s FYF Fest held at Los Angeles State Historic Park the first weekend of September. As a mix of distinct musical genres, FYF had no particular expectations to live up to and perhaps this is its greatest asset.
As a still dazed and slightly confused festival attendee, these are the pivotal images that stand out to me when I think of my first time at FYF.
How those Tom Ford eyeglasses did not stop dust from infiltrating the nasal passages all of those beautiful, coughing L.A. supermodel/actress/waitress hipsters.
How incredibly young-looking kids with hair to the side were encouraged and even pushed into mosh pits by the watching eyes of people I’m assuming were their parents. How surreal it felt to be in a large, crowded white tent commanded by David Cross in a Milgram-esque experiment, though no pain or torment was involved.
Also, a friend of mine spotted someone unconscious being crowd surfed out to EMTs. Apparently Katy Perry and John Mayer were there too. And finally, the lines for the pizza were really long. Really fucking long. As in, you went to get a slice of six-dollar pizza in between sets of bands if there was a two-to three-hour gap.
While the majority of the lineup was split mainly between the genres of electronic and punk, it sometimes worked and it sometimes did not. Obscure and not so obscure bands populated the stages and garnered interest, but the duality of the musical offerings made for a surprisingly limited overall experience.
David Cross, venerated performer and sacred idol, headlined the comedy set. A highlight from this performance, which included discussions of bowel movements, was when Cross decided to tell the audience to fake-laugh until they started laughing for real. Being far too stoned for a social experiment at this point, I had lost all possibility of comprehension as I ended up wandering off to a nice performance of some chill wave band that remains forgotten but readily enjoyed.
Interpol’s Paul Banks played a fucking awesome set because he is motherfucking Paul Banks. One can only hope for an Interpol reunion soon, but in the meantime, his releases that were played, including “Skyscraper” and “Games For Days,” belong on every fan’s playlist.
The first night’s headliner, Simian Mobile Disco, played a fantastic smorgasbord of their hits that could only be described as a spiritual experience — and this is coming from a then-sober point of view. It was almost religious. If I believed in God, he would be a traveling DJ set.
The second night’s headliner Beirut was a disappointingly low-key, anticlimactic ending to what seemed like a fitting end to a mishmash of a festival; perhaps morose music tinged with European influences really doesn’t translate well to crowds of over 20,000, or perhaps frontman Zach Condon just wasn’t feeling it that night.
I have faith in FYF working out the kinks and making a solid name for itself in coming years, but I do have to wonder how it’ll take shape. It seems that the festival is in its awkward teenage years of the festival, gangly and lanky and growing at such a rapid pace it can’t quite figure out what to do with itself just yet.