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FYF Fest, Sunday August 28th 2016

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LCD Soundsystem

 

Sunday at the FYF fest was another full day with even more interesting bands to see and a final apotheosis with Grace Jones and LCD Soundsystem. Jones has been doing a few festival dates lately but she was certainly the legend and icon not to be missed if you were at the festival.

The fest offered many choices and I had to skip the Black Lips because I have seen the Black Lips many times and I was at the main stage and they were playing at the trees stage which had to be a mile away. I also had to skip Anohni because I had found such a good spot in front of the main stage an hour ahead of Grace Jones’ set, that I didn’t want to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

‘The good thing about starting early is that you can only go up ‘ said Julien Baker in the middle of her set referring to the disco balls and upbeat dance music to come. She was the first act of the day and she had already attracted a large crowd. Yes, her music was melancholic and may be too intimate for a giant festival, but people absolutely loved her. She was a tiny thing, alone on stage with a discreet guitar and she sounded as fragile and vulnerable as she looked. However, her voice was amazingly strong, each song started in a quiet whisper, stretching then morphing into powerhouse howls. She seemed to tell us, beware of the quiet that suddenly wakes up and becomes the loudest thing ever. At the same time, her face would transform into madness and anger throughout one single song.

This year was featuring many rappers, contrarily to the early FYF years, and if I missed Young Thug and Rae Sremmurd, I had a glimpse of Denzel Curry, a high energy rapper bringing up special guests on stage, and guests seemed to be the thing of the day as they kept on coming during Banks and Steelz’ set. The duo was effortlessly mixing rock and rap, a sort of Interpol meets Wu-Tang told me Iman, or Sting meets Kendrick as I answered. One thing is sure, they were classic rock meets old-school rap, a golden guitar soothing rap aggression although a dagger was hanging above the stage the whole time. One song added a powerful trumpet played by a special guest, and then NYC hip hop pioneer Kool Keith joined the party.

Special Guests were equally all over Blood Orange’s set as they welcomed Sky Ferreira, Carly Rae Jepsen, Nelly Furtado, and Zuri Marley and a few others I didn’t recognize. It was super populated around the main stage and I could barely see a thing but their music was bringing the happy crowd into a state of oblivion. The music was all over the place in the best way possible, R&B-esque backed up by female singers, but also poppy and bouncy with funky bass lines. It was soulful, blissful with lots of sax and piano, electrifying guitar solos and even an electric cello at one point. The series of female guests became a series of emotional duets, but their soul funk pop was at the end very varied and their great funky numbers were the closest thing to Prince that I have heard for a long time.

Talking about the guest-theme of the day, comedian Nathan Fielder also joined Mac DeMarco, but I was not there,… when you have to choose between DeMarco and Grace Jones, you don’t want to fuck it up, as James Murphy would say.

But before the big event on the main stage, I also saw a few songs of indie band Wild Nothing, which sounded a bit 80’s-like and this was probably due to the abundant use of the synth. Once again, they were bouncy, one or two songs had big hooks, and they had some good energy but they were not so wild after all. Old-school Charles Bradley, with his James Brown’s look and Otis Redding’s voice, had a great success on the Lawn stage. He may have been more static than Brown, but he had his visceral muffled screams and a few of his dance hip moves, so that, after just a few songs, he looked like the real thing. Emo band Saves the Day played ‘Stay What you Are’ in its entirety, and they could have been Best Coast meets Joyce Manor, a pop punk energy producing rambunctious screamed anthems.

I am definitively stalking Father John Misty because I had seen him two days ago at the El Rey and here he was again on the main stage, doing more or less the same set… But who could blame him it was such a good set, delivered with an over the top fury and deadpan humor… Lady Gaga was missing in action but can I say once again he is quite funny? When I arrived the projection on the back of the stage were not working… ‘An error has occurred’ I could read… ‘Is this intentional? Is it not intentional, you never know with this guy’ mumbled Tillman…exactly expressing my thought. He also welcomed Grave Jones on stage and made a throat slash sign to the stage roadies as if there was no time for something that would have been the top of his career? No special guest for Misty, but plenty of iPhone action and plenty of his favorite gimmicks like drum jumping, hip moving,… there was already plenty to see.

As I said it before, Grace Jones definitively stole the show, she was the highlight of the weekend, and I still cannot get over the fact that I managed to send back Lady Gaga to where she belongs and high-fives Grace Jones the same weekend.

LCD Soundsystem closed the fest with a magnificent dance punk bang and a giant disco ball, which was as big as a small planet. They got ‘to play after one of our greatest heroes’ as Murphy said, and, as they knew they were following a giant, they played the humble card all along. However, they were excellent as always, playing all the hits, ‘Us v Them, Daft Punk’, I Can Change’, ‘Losing my Edge, ‘New York, I Love You’, ‘Dance Yourself Clean’…. bringing pure joy and exulting all senses. Although I could not see the crowd behind me, the large screens were revealing a huge one, and since the band has canceled some dates of their tour because they are working on a new album, this show was even more meaningful. Interestingly, they headlined one of Coachella’s night, back in April, confirming what everyone was thinking on Sunday night, who needs Coachella when the FYF fest is happening downtown LA?

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Julien Baker

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Wild Nothing

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Banks and Steelz

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Blood Orange

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Charles Bradley

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Saves the Day

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Father John Misty

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Grace Jones

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