LA’s FYF Festival

Text to Edgar, August 24, 10:10AM: Hey Edgar, It’s Erin. Want to meet after Ty Segall’s set today? Once we’re inside we can decide on a good meeting spot.

Wrong. Phones don’t work in festivals. Always pick a meeting spot before you enter, or you’ll spend two days looking for Edgar Obrand, the photographer who shot FYF for us. 30,000 other festival goers spent the weekend in Chinatown’s Los Angeles State Historic Park, drawn by a solid lineup including Thee Oh Sees, Flag, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kurt Vile, Beach House, MGMT, Devendra Banhart and My Bloody Valentine.

Ty Segall kicked off the afternoon with a strapped back, but far from mellow set. Segall and his band remained seated throughout, like a bunch of mates sitting around a campfire, making the crowd feel instantly at ease. Segall’s distinct vocal wailed out over the packed crowd, carried by a constant cloud of weed smoke swirling around the mass of bobbing heads.

Text to Edgar, 6.22PM: Edgar, I know phones aren’t really working but if you get this I’ll be at the bar next to Charlotte stage.

That didn’t last long, because Classixx were up next and man was I glad I broke from my lonely, little-girl-lost-in-big-festival-holding-my-vodka-like-its-a-soup-bowl-stance. Playing the dance tent anytime after 7pm is a pretty easy gig at any festival. Everyone is buzzed and ready to party. But Classixx could have had people dancing at 10am with their poppy, upbeat electro. When they dropped crowd favorite ‘I’ll Get You’ everybody from front row to the hills beyond lost their shit. Who knows, maybe Edgar was even out there somewhere fist pumping the air.

By the time Californian Dreamboat Devendra Banhart took the stage, the sun was retiring to its pillow for the night. Backlit by the last of its rays, Banhart serenaded us all to a beautiful backdrop of illuminated palm trees and downtown city lights. Tracks like ‘Cristobal Risquiez’ and ‘Hatchet Wound’ had us all in swaying in unison, while ‘Carmensita’ had all the Spanish speakers singing along, and all the drunks pretending they knew Spanish but really just waiting for the universal lyric of “la la la.” Shout out to Fabrizio Moretti, Strokes drummer and best looking man alive, for providing the beats throughout the set.

Text to Edgar, 7.55PM: Helloooooo?

My lost cry for company remains unanswered, so I head to the Miranda Stage, which is like the bottom deck on the Titanic – rough, wild, dingy and full of drunk (Irish) people. With trains flying by in the background, Thee Oh Sees delivered the highest energy set of anyone at FYF. Frontman John Dwyer (reminds me of the singer of the B52’s in a parallel universe where the B52’s are even minutely cool) shouts his first words to the hyperactive crowd “Thank you very much, fuck yeah!”, which are well received by Titanic’s bottom feeders. When ‘Floating Coffin’ kicks in, I feel like I’ve been saved. Saved from my festival foes – the sweat, the dust, the ingenious inclusion of broken glass bench seating, the info tent woman who wouldn’t give me life saving sunscreen until I picked up a bunch of empty bottles for her, the hour long lines for a shitty slice of pizza, large sized festival goers in small sized clothing making out an inch from my face… It was as if none of it had ever happened, and Thee Oh Sees are to thank for that.

Text Message from Edgar, 9.06 PM: Hey I’m shooting Thee Oh Sees backstage. Amazing!

Glad you were there to see it too, Edgar.

To finish the night off, I downed a heavy dose of Flag. Keith Morris, ex-Black Flag vocalist and wearer of weirdest hairstyle ever, opens with ‘Fix Me’, and it’s a straight up riot. After hammering through ‘No Values’, the set stops because they’ve already broken shit. The frenzy ends with ‘Six Pack’, and I’ve never seen so many dudes get that excited over beer – and I’m from Australia.

By the time Sunday afternoon rolls around, I’m on my third vodka sunrise and Kurt Vile is really creating a mood. A really, really, great mood. He opens with ‘Waking On a Pretty Day’, and it feels like he’s singing to me, because hey! That’s exactly what I did. Vile owns the afternoon, and his sun-soaked, laid back tunes set the stage for a perfect evening.  Over the field, No age catapult the crowd back to life, and man do they make a lot of noise for a two-man show. There’s a mosh pit going mad, and a guy who stood in front of me holding a small tree branch for the duration of the set. If you’re out there somewhere, branch dude, shoot me an email and tell me why.

Yo La Tengo brought the mood down 10,000 decibels and taught everyone a valuable lesson in what not to do at a festival – play a set full of ballads that bores the shit out of everyone. Time and place, guys. At least they set Beach House up for glory, who came on next and executed ‘Norway’ and ‘Solver Soul’ exquisitely to a picturesque backdrop of lights illuminated to mimic the starry night sky, a thing you forget exists when you live in LA.

Text from Edgar, 8.32PM: Hey I’m in the VIP getting a taco by the middle stage

Text to Edgar from me: Stay right there!!!!

And that’s when it happened, ladies and gentlemen. I found Edgar. He was a real person. We hugged, we shrugged, we chugged some drinks and then we lost each other again before MGMT came on. The energy for MGMT’s set was electric, and their visuals are outrageous. The psychedelic, pulsating, vibrant patterns and shapes that look like they’re oozing from the huge stage screens compliment their sound perfectly, taking you on one fantastical trip. Sharing much of their upcoming self-titled release, they transported FYF to another world. The only time I came back to earth was to contemplate punching the guy next to me the fourth time he shouted “shut up and play ‘Kids!’” All jokes aside, was a pretty great way to spend a weekend.

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