Friday, September 21, 2012

FYF Fest 2012, Los Angeles.

There Will Be Dust
FYF is like a hipster wet dream. It's a smaller scale Coachella held annually at Los Angeles State Historic Park in Chinatown. The festival has grown in popularity over the years and now attempts to be an all encompassing music event/mecca for the different LA "underground" music scenes. Art school hipster types, indie rock dorks, electronic dance fiends and even punk/hardcore aficionados were all accounted for at this year's fest. Dr. Egon Spengler once warned in Ghostbusters that one should never, "cross the streams," but it seems like the promoters of FYF Fest (which literally stands for: Fuck Yeah Fest Fest) could care less.

This was my second FYF experience. I went in 2009 to watch The Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge and Torche all play on the smallest, most remote stage of the fest. I arrived late, saw "my" bands and bounced. Their performances were awesome but the festival didn't leave much of an impression. Well 2012's lineup once again featured Converge and the mighty Refused making a special pit stop in some other bands I actually don't hate/was curious to see.

Day 1:
 Girlfriend got off work a bit late. Unexpected carpool shenanigans. Parking was horrible and we ended up arriving later than expected.

I heard Hot Snakes finishing their set on the Hill St. Stage as we made out way to the entrance. Bummed I missed out. Caught the beginning of Sleigh Bells performing on the Main St. Stage to a huge crowd. Everyone seemed to love them...except me. I was bored to tears actually. We headed over to the Spring St. Stage to wait for Quicksand.

Some of you might recall I have a man crush on Walter Schreifels and how giddy I was over the Rival Schools reunion last year. Well, now he's back with his 90's post-hardcore band Quicksand and they fucking rocked. I'm familiar with Quicksand's music but never expected them to be so rad live. Of course, they've been broken up since the late 90's so, I never expected to see them period.

Headed over to the Main St. Stage and caught the end of M83 while waiting for Refused. I guess they have a big song on the radio these days but I never heard of them before. Way too synth for me. Not enough, um, balls I guess. Anywhoo, Refused came out and rocked my fucking world once again. Their reunion show in San Francisco was amazing. The crowd chanting, the rafters shaking, etc. This performance was something entirely though. The band played a shorter set but just ripped through every song. The festival was pretty huge and the diversity of the lineup meant there was a good number of people in attendance who didn't give two shits about Refused, so the band wasn't just preaching to the choir like in SF, they were hellbent on winning the entire festival over. Well, mission accomplished I'd say. Under the full moon, with the Downtown Los Angeles as their backdrop, Refused owned FYF 2012.

Day 2:
Girlfriend and I arrive on time and luckily, luck out with a sweet parking spot near the front entrance.

We wandered inside and catch the middle of Against Me!'s set on the Main St. Stage. I've never been a huge fan of this band but have to admit they totally won me over with their performance. A bunch of punks playing honest to goodness rock 'n' roll, Against Me! was like a breath of fresh air. I'd actually listen to the radio if I knew I'd hear stuff like that all the time. Also, the band's singer is transgendered and in the process of becoming a woman. Kudos for her. She's not quite there yet physically, I just hope her transformation doesn't effect that awesome punk rock howl/voice that's so integral to the band's sound.

Next, we scurried across the park to the see Lightning Bolt tear the Spring St. Stage to shreds. This band is literally insane. A duo that creates more noise and spastic bursts of energy than should be humanly possible. Much to my delight, the drummer is the star of the show, his kit is triggered and creates a bunch of distorted/electronic sounds. The dude also "sings," while wearing a kooky Mexican wrestler mask over his face with a built in headset microphone. His co-conspirator on bass absolutely shreds and would make Cliff Burton proud with the sheer amount of distorted awesomeness he creates. I heard good things about this band but was totally blown away.

Dinosaur Jr.
was next on the Main St. Stage. These guys are true rock legends. It pains me to admit that I barely got into them this year, knowing that so many bands I like are huge Dinosaur Jr. devotees. Anyways, I was overdosing on their music with Pandora leading up to FYF in anticipation. Thankfully, the band did not disappoint. Loud fuzzy guitars, over a snappy back beat and down home vocals that make me want to BBQ and smoke weed (too band I'm sXe eh?). As the sun was setting during their performance and the oppressive heat began to subside, everyone was just really stoked to watch their set.

Up next, was food! It was time to eat. We marched across the grounds and headed back toward the Spring St. Stage where many a food truck were located. The lines were long and the grub a bit pricey but I understand that's how these festival things work. Either way, the pastrami sandwich we got was damn delicious and well worth the wait so, I guess it all worked out nicely. We, almost nicely. See, Paul Banks (singer from Interpol) was doing his solo thing on the Spring St. Stage and the man bored me to tears. I was like, hey, Paul is in one of my favorite band's and now I can see/hear him while I order some much needed grub. Then I heard he and his backing band playing and thought, "I better swallow this sandwich whole, there's no time for chewing!" So yeah, Paul Banks, please don't quit your day job.

We browsed around some of the vendor booths and took in the sights, people watching, as we made our way across to the Hill St. Stage on the opposite end of the park. Converge was next and I needed to get a good spot. Here is where things get silly.

As some of you might remember, I just turned 27 years old in August. I've been going to concerts since I was 17. It's been a crazy decade of sweat filled mayhem. Mosh pits, stage dives, crowd surfing, dust storms, blood, bruises, busted glasses, I've seen it all. Well, I'm officially OLD now and Converge's performance at FYF 2012 confirms this.
Converge is easily one of my favorite bands around. Their popularity/legend has grown over the years, and with good reason, they're damn good. Anyways, they had quite a crowd at this year's FYF. We staked out a good spot near the right hand side of the stage to avoid the chaos/dust storm that was bound to happen once they started playing. Well I was right, shit got crazy during their performance and my girlfriend and I were pushed to the sidelines. However, even here from the relative safety of the outskirts, away from "the pit," people were still getting wild but mostly, just rude. There is a certain etiquette that exists in the underground metal/hardcore world. These obnoxious people slamming into us weren't regular Converge fans, these were random festival goers who were acting belligerent after spending a full day in the sun drinking and dancing to synth pop or whatever. Sooooo, I got a little annoyed that these hipster brats (or "tourists" in Fight Club speak) were enjoying the shit out of MY band Converge, while I stuck on the sidelines. I decided to stake my claim and ran down to the front of the stage and enjoy the end of their set like I did in the old days.

Well, I learned my lesson. The torn shirt, lost shoe, body aches from the many pile-on's and crowd surfers but most of all, the nasty sinus infection I endured the following week after eating/inhaling a mountain of dust, all helped reiterate what sadly, I already knew in the back of my mind. If you're over the age of 25, you have no business down in the front of a Converge show...unless you have a lot of sick days saved up at work.

Converge was actually amazing as always. So much passion and energy in their performance. I can't believe they played "Jane Doe" either! Oh yeah, and some dude found my shoe and returned it to me as I limped back toward my girlfriend's waiting arms after they finished playing. Needless to say, I was done after that. I wanted to stay and see American Nightmare and Turbonegro but alas, this old man ran out of fuel.

Overall, FYF 2012 was good times...sinus infection be damned.

This was how FYF 2012 went down. Hot hipster chicks, and goofy ass dudes. God I love the internet.


  1. The one time I got to go to a festival like this I enjoyed every second of it.. And then they stopped coming. I'm jealous of the Dinosaur Jr as well as a handful of other bands, but that's not what these things are about.. These are all about finding everything else and having it be amazing. I want your experiences, sir. Give me your soul.

    'Cept for the age thing. I don't know how I'd feel if I just COULDN'T be at the front of the stage.

  2. I'm so with you on the M83 thing, I really don't think that they're that special, Beirut on the other hand is a favourite of mine, love that guy even though the music is unconventional. Great post man, the festival really does sound like a whole lot of fun!

  3. That's one of the advantages of things like this. Seeing bands you're not sure you'd like, or you'd never even heard of, and being turned on to them. Some of my favourite bands were actually introduced to me when my brother went to a festival.

  4. Sounds like it will surely be a blast and yeah seeing new bands even if they turn out to be not so good, at least you'll know.

  5. Semms kinda hipster xD

    But you just wanna have fun and thats fine

  6. the bonus instagram creeper pic, priceless

  7. I have the weirdest boner right now.

  8. Looks like it was a lot of fun. I wish I had time to go to events like this with my girlfriend. :(

  9. Lol @ lost shoe. I think I was born too old to go to shows. Just thinking about being out in a hot, dust pit all day with a million other sweaty, stinky people makes me cringe.