Clear skies, the promise of a killer lineup, and a new location. FYF had a lot of promise this past weekend, but as with any major change (like a venue move), there were bound to be hiccups, and hiccups there were.
Yes, the layout was less than ideal, the lines were unbelievable, and the craft beer section ran out of everything. Yes, there weren’t enough Spicy Pie stations. Yes, we know the first day of FYF 2014 had its issues. Luckily, the musicians who represent the core of FYF held true, and if you could make it to the performances in time, the overall experience was worth the price of admission.
I watched Joyce Manor on a screen from the sidewalk as I entered into my second hour waiting to get inside the venue. The LA locals recently celebrated the release of Never Hungover Again and consistently expressed their gratitude for those who came to support the performance. The light-hearted pop-punk was a perfect start to the day, and with songs averaging a 2-minute running time, the extra breaks allowed for more crowd interaction.
As I made my way through security and onto the grounds, I headed to the arena to really see bands perform and start FYF off right. As frustrated as I may have been, nothing could have washed that feeling away better than air conditioning and Chet Faker.
The arena had started to set the mood with multiple disco balls and euphoric lighting, but you add Faker’s textured, layered beats and the next thing you know, you’re hopelessly lost in Nicholas Murphy’s voice. Cherished are the artists whose vocal ranges are so wide that they can harmonically remix their own songs on stage, and Chet Faker did just that. “I can barely hold my tongue, the shit we do could warm the sun” — between the Australian accent and charming crowd banter, Murphy seduced the audience within the first few lines of “I’m Into You.” The artist from Down Under played his classics as well as newer work he’s been creating with LAMB favorite Flume.
Across the opposite side of the grounds, British shoegaze quintet Slowdive calmed things down for a bit at the Lawn stage. After learning the lay of the land while walking the half mile distance between the two largest stages, weaving between accompanying and opposing pedestrian traffic, nothing could be more relaxing than “When The Sun Hits.”
As the sun dissolved into the skyline backdrop, Tycho was the next to take the Lawn stage, keeping with an ethereal theme. With the trees and walkways lit up and the subtle breeze blowing, the soothing, tracked beats of “A Walk” swelled and pulsed in ambient perfection with no words needed, setting an idyllic mood before the final acts of the night.
I was apprehensive about making the trek back to the Main stage to see Phoenix, but the French indie rockers made it well worth everyone’s travels. After a day of trial and error, the band’s energy in their opening song, “Entertainment,” was overwhelmingly contagious. Much like MGMT at Coachella, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Phoneix wasn’t afraid to play their singles first; it’s not like people were going to leave with a live set like theirs going on. The crowd literally embraced frontman Thomas Mars as he left the stage to sing from the security barrier at the helm of the audience.
Up next: Day Two!