Fourteen bands is a lot of music for a single afternoon, but it was a lot of diversity in the music too. Sometimes, small festivals have a tendency to concentrate the same kind of genres, like Burgerama and its innumerable amount of bands playing a mix of surf-punk-psychedelic garage rock,… however, the FOMO Fest was more eclectic, bringing bands from different horizons and genres.
Breakfast was all synth and electronics, combined with the soaring vocals of their female singer, Andrea Adolph, and her high howls were floating above songs that certainly did not belong to any particular genre… I have read they found their inspiration in artists as diverse as Flying Lotus and the Cure. The music was a bit surprising, going in many directions, from straightforward dance floors to songs with lo-fi beats and a samba feel, then another singer joined her to make male-female harmonies over more electronica. It was a bit dark with a real freedom in the compositions, playing with emotions and keeping an acoustic vibe, without letting the music being overwhelmed by electronics.
Blues is a funny thing as it can be embodied in hundred different ways and if Ford Madox Ford was very bluesy, it was done in a very aggressive way, a bit as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club used to do it, so that the band ended up to be completely surprising and empowering. They were not afraid of dark detours with thunderous and violent riffs, trashing-ravaging guitars all-fuzzed-out and a few Velvet Underground textures. They were totally badass and I loved them.
I didn’t have the chance to see much of Northern American who were playing on the patio outside, but their poppy, glittery music seemed to be very cozy. I liked their last song circling around a sweet loop and soft vocals to build a serene and relaxed scenery.
I am not sure of the story behind Kimi, the frontgirl of Draemings but it seemed heavy, like a big cry in the dark with fuzzed guitars. With her red plateform shoes, matching red suit and glam makeup, she could have been a sort of Bowie homage in all his alien incarnation, and she certainly had a rockstar presence, with powerhouse vocals and a rocking energy. I particularly remember about a heavy dance floor number with big synth and funky bass lines.
Veronica Bianqui was another songstress at the opposite spectrum but still very eccentric, with tender ballads or bluesy howls, and a retro touch with sax and trumpet for a few songs. She was an original, with a great and powerful vocal range, some jazzy shades and strong melodies, may be a sort of new Jenny Lewis? Her performance was sweet and light, like delightful cheeky music for lovers under moonlight, and she ended up her set with a cover of the Shirelles’ ‘Boys’, which fitted so well among her other songs.
Talking about quirky, Moon Honey was all about weirdness with Jessica Ramsey’s vocals which may have been a mix of Kate Bush and Joanna Newsom minus the harp. She was frolicking in many directions, going from honey to weird in a second, bringing a chaos of sweetness with a large touch of 70’s psychedelia, while unleashing a few real guitar fights.
On the patio, James the Human was giving large doses of humanity with his almost-acapella songs, just backed up by loops of organic voices and beats that he was eventually recording along his set. His soulful style reminded me Moses Sumney, he certainly brought humor and passion with expressive voice and gesture, and when he took his guitar, he played a luminous song, recording loops of beats and noises to layer it up.
Bird Dog brought some new bombast inside the Echo, the type of music coming from the mountains, very uplifting with a drum in the front and a large chorus of voices. They were a large ensemble of musicians, playing a very heartfelt big bang in a sort of echoing-grandiose way, which turned to be more modest when their frontman took an acoustic guitar.
The charming duo Jim and Sam was making sweet and close-to-perfect harmonies on the patio, only accompanied by an acoustic guitar, even going flamenco on a song. They had fire and energy and their strong voices were harmonizing with ferocity or the sweetness of the Milk Carton Kids.
Prettiest Eyes took everyone by surprise, and their performance was simply amazing. With a loud ravaging bass, a mad synth-electronic table and a drummer with a singing-echoing voice which reminded me of Thee Oh Sees, they crafted a very aggressive sound bringing noise and chaos. As soon as they started, there was an instant danger, and they simply annihilated the place at the first song. The black-cowboy-turned-bassist was holding his instrument like a gun, he jumped several times in the crowd, moshing and attacking from all the sides of the stage, while everyone around was hypnotized by their killing skull-crushing number, immediately asking for more when they were done.
You could probably easily identify the inspiration behind the Molochs‘ sound, a sort of dark vibe of 70’s psychedelia, largely accentuated by the organ and the tambourine, combined with the monochord-morose tone of their singer. However, there was something a bit more contemporaneous and often more upbeat in their music. Their fast tempo certainly got many people dancing, which continued shaking their bodies all set-long, transforming the patio into a 60’s music festival dance party.
‘You are a babe!’ said a guy to Miya Folick during her set, and of course, that was a bit misogynist considering her obvious talent. Very fast, the pretty, leggy, tall blonde showed us was she was capable of, with a big emotional howl, and a powerful music sometimes turning loud and furious. Her young age had certainly not prepared us for all these heavy riffs, fuzzy guitars and dark emotional monster screaming… She simply rocked the place, looking laid back and relaxed but freaking out at the right places, while her last song was a light surf-fun number.
Cobalt Cranes brought a rebellious sound and a sort of outlaw country mixed with psychedelia. Fronted by Tim Foley and Kate Betuel who shared the vocals, the music was wild with savage howls and mad bass lines, distilling a sort of post-punk darkness that they have called ‘California Grunge’. I realized I had seen them before during one of these music festivals, but I didn’t remember their sound being so fully layered and electrifying, which was a really good surprise.
Sun Drug closed the fest with a truly epic set, leaving people all energized… Actually they were another band I had seen before, under another moniker, and not only they switched from Vanaprasta to Sun Drug but they also changed their sound. With layers of electronics and guitars they built expensive soundscapes that touched dark psychedelia, noise distortion and intense dance floors. But it was singer Steven Wilkin who brought the show to the next level, with long falsetto howls and a dramatic and stormy performance… leaving the audience with their jaw on the floor.
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