Second day at the FYF fest, the enthusiasm was still there, but my feet were damn tired and my back hurt… But I had to get through the day because I wanted to see Moz at 10:30 pm! The marathon started at the Trees Stage.
2:40 pm King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Trees Stage
What a name, and what a band! Their krautrock-y punk weirdness was reviving the FYF fest’s true spirit, There was something very Thee Oh Sees about them, their frontman was holding his guitar as John Dwyer does and their psychedelic madness had started a very sweaty-dusty mosh pit. They were seven on stage, a wild bunch even going into endless Middle-Eastern jams, adding a flute, an harmonica, and the moshing kids could not get enough of their inventive garage rock.
3: 30 pm Tobias Jesso Jr. – Lawn stage
Who is Tobias Jesso Jr.? People cheered up at his long croon, but I had barely heard of him. What I listened to was very soulful, with violin, piano and horns, a grand ensemble playing poignant and slow ballads, the type of tearful stuff that people listen with a little tear in a corner of their eyes, almost old fashioned, but so good, slowly spreading like a Fiona Apple’s song.
4 pm Lower Dens – the Arena
I hadn’t tried the Arena yet, mostly because it was populated by EDM acts at a few exceptions. The day before, the line to see Flying Lotus there was crazy and I didn’t even tried… but despite the long walk to get inside, the space-y ambiance of the arena was worth to be checked out as it was time to see Lower Dens, a pop band with a singer with a remarkable high-pitch croon, turning in a slow melancholic howl, not really radiohead material but close enough… actually Jana Hunter’s vocals have been compared to those of Beach House’s Victoria Legrand. Jana? I would have sworn she was a guy, but Hunter identifies herself as ‘gender fluid’… and it was very dark inside. Some songs were upbeat and danceable, others were a soothing effort in front of a very busy wall of sound, an intense and fuzzy music echoing inside the walls of the arena.
4: 30 pm Andrew Jackson Jihad – Trees Stage
They had a cello, a song about Linda Ronstadt, and they were quite funny, probably more Mountain Goats than Barenaked Ladies, but you get the picture. The first song I heard was quite slow but the rest had some devilish rhythms, and a heartfelt core, like folk on adrenaline, even getting punkish, they didn’t put jihad in their moniker for nothing. Singing direct lyrics such as ‘God is obsolete/Oh my god thinks my jokes are funny/There’s no one to blame, People are just fucking mean’, harmonizing on ‘I hate my brain ‘, rocking on ‘Open up your murder eyes and see the ugly world that spat you out’ I only had love for them.
5 pm Title Fight – Trees Stage
There was a big thick cloud of smoke and dust around the stage, my throat was itchy and I had a sneezing noise. Their screaming singer had such an aggressive delivery, actually there were two guys alternating on the mic and their full-force but morose vocals were transforming their songs into bizarre punk anthems.
5:45 pm Laura Marling – Lawn stage
I always think she takes herself very seriously in the way she holds her guitar and carries herself, but she was good and her nervous sound and half-spoken vocals worked wonderfully on the crowd. I would have sworn she was covering Dylan during ‘Master Hunter’,… is this a problem? She got very bluesy, impetuous and fierce with a very Dylanesque delivery, and even when she played alone on stage, she got complete silence from the large crowd… Actually, two girls were chatting loudly behind me, but a mean sight was enough to make them shut up immediately. When Laura embarked into some Joni Mitchell croon, I regretfully left to check out the main stage.
6:25 Toro Y Moi – Main Stage
Toro Y Moi was filling the main stage with his smooth funky electro synth-R&B. It was sunny music, evoking Michael Jackson’s 80’s, between disco and funk, then going into electronic swirls and battling beats, but overall very dance-y.
7:10 Mac Demarco – Lawn Stage
There was an enormous crowd for Mac Demarco and I couldn’t find a decent spot or even get close to stage. May be some people were waiting for Solange who was coming next, may be they were all there for Demarco and in this case he is a real rock star. He had a quiet sound compared to all previous times I had seen him, his laid back attitude and languid songs were particularly soft. Plus he was wearing a Nirvana -’I hate myself I want to die’ shirt and was smoking on stage… nothing new there. ‘This next song is called ‘spend some time on eBay’, joked a musician before ‘Chamber of Reflection’, a synth pop tune about spending some time alone, getting ready for the day,… and that may have been an allusion about Demarco very successful sale on eBay?
8:00 pm Flumes – Main Stage
Flumes wanted to make the main stage explode with multicolor fireworks, impressive visuals and his brand of electronica injected of black voices and rap pieces, He was alone, behind his computers, sometimes taping on electronic drums, and at this point I was wondering, what was the difference with Kanye West? Or what was the difference with some big EDM festival? None, I could have been at Electric Daisy Carnival, people were waving and dancing and waiting for the successive big electronic explosions on stage. But there was a surprise, Lorde jumped on stage during projections of royal crowns and his remix of her song ‘Tennis Court’, but she did not do anything beside dancing, smiling a lot and being very happy. Then there was a singer dancer who rapped through more electronic beats.There is something very narcissistic about all these EDM shows, there’s one guy alone, the center of all the attention, even looking for it at each second, asking for the crowd’s cheering, making everyone clap and follow each of his knob hand job… talking about this, his last song was a very hot one, with two people engaged in very sensual kissing, with echoing choir-like voices. The visuals were cool and it was a very festive spectacle but musically all this electro stuff always sounds like remixes to me.
8:45 pm Solange – Lawn Stage
I checked Solange’s set on the Lawn stage, but just for a few minutes, she was wearing an elegant red dress and was moving like a princess but her soft R&B and vocalization didn’t captivate me enough to stay longer.
9:10 pm Death Grips – Trees Stage
Trying to get close to Death Grips was almost impossible, the crowd was dense and ferocious and the stage was dark red, like bathing in blood! Their tribal-primal-scream rap was a traumatizing experience, making you uncomfortable, and people were getting a bit crazy like possessed by the devil. I hardly saw MC Ride’s naked torso but this was an intense and scary vision, some abrasive stuff that had the potential to make the walls of the LA coliseum crumble.
9:40 pm Belle & Sebastian – Main Stage
Switching from Death Grips to Belle & Sebastian in ten minutes was very bizarre. Is there a middle ground between Death Grips’ towering death wish and the lightness and purity of a Belle & Sebastian song? A lot of people were dancing on stage, they had brought a bunch of VIP on stage, everyone seemed to have a lot of fun, and I had no idea that a Belle & Sebastian’s gig would be such a dance-along party, Stuart Murdoch asked to one of the women if she was working the next day, ‘yes at 7 am!’, ‘oh I see, you want to make the most of this day,’ he replied in a Scottish accent.
10:30 pm Morrissey – Main Stage
It was time for the Moz, at last… and the wait was all worth it, starting with a happy welcome, ‘LA, you, me and a stick of butter’, followed by The Smiths’ ‘The Queen is Dead’ accompanied by a giant picture of the queen flipping both fingers… to herself? then by a picture of Kate and William with a ‘United Kingdumb’ for hilarious subscript…
Morrissey was in great shape, getting very political and asking us, ‘Are you ready for president Trump? Please don’t, I beg you!’, then being outspoken about his usual pet issues such as police violence and the horrors of the meat industry. He was very gracious with his Latino fan base, saying a lot of ‘Gracias’, even singing partly in Spanish, and inviting a singer to finish ‘Speedway’ in Spanish. He thanked us to have stood for so long, and my feet were very grateful, two people rushed on stage to hug him or do something else, but despite this, the Moz criticized the security,… ‘I came form so far to sing to… security! Why so much security? Why? Did somebody sneeze? At least 50 of you should go away!’ I was too far to see the faces of the security guards but everyone was cheering.
Very graphic images of police violence were shown during ‘Ganglord’, he sang his anti corrida song, ‘The Bullfighter Dies’, and showed us even more graphic videos during ‘Meat is Murder’, a Smiths’ song which is more than ever relevant, looking at the number of hamburger, tacos and hot dogs stands that had invaded the FYF fest. ‘What is your excuse now?’
Faithful to himself, Morrissey still wants to convince us with bravado and courage… and I love the fact that he is still trying, I am well aware that lots of people may have taken all this for bad propaganda, but did you see these giant middle fingers flipped by the queen? And I haven’t even mentioned that his musicians were wearing ‘Crapitol Records’ shirts… ‘Everyday is Like Sunday’ turned into a singalong and every single thing of his set made me laugh and cheer. Sure I missed Thee Oh Sees and D’Angelo, but it’s impossible to see everything at a festival, I left the place on the clicking noises of FKA Twigs’ music in the background,… ‘see you next year’, told me a security guard… we’ll see, we’ll see.
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