FYF Fest 2014 lead

After many tweets and Facebook and Instagram posts inquiring about a change for Day Two, FYF organizers assured everyone that they would be addressing the issues that plagued the fest’s first day, and doubled security and vendor staffing meant lines moved significantly faster.

Off to a much better start, Chicago natives Twin Peaks kicked off the day on the Tree stage. The rockers got the mosh pits started early within their set and kept them going despite being in direct sunlight. “Flavor” was a personal highlight. The video for the track off their sophomore record, Wild Onion, was filmed here in LA, and the upbeat, jam-friendly song is a perfect soundtrack to summer. When the four-minute warning was given to the band, they promised eight more songs, and as most of their tracks are short and sweet, they came close — kind of.

Debi Del Grande for FYF Fest
Photo: Debi Del Grande for FYF Fest

Mac Demarco played a lot of new tracks off his amazing, recently released album Salad Days. “Blue Boy,” the album’s title track, and the Angel Olsen-dedicated “Let Her Go” were amongst the sun-drenched sounds of the set. Sporting a sweet Simpsons shirt, the Montreal native kept the mood light with jokes and impressively extended crowd surfing.

Carl Pocket for FYF Fest
Photo: Carl Pocket for FYF Fest

Blood Orange took the Main stage next, and the soul-infused crooner set quite a seductive mood for the crowd as day gave way to night. Devonté Hynes was a true performer; delivering dance moves while sporting a knee brace, the NY-based musician didn’t miss a beat.

Kelsey J Heng for FYF Fest
Photo: Kelsey J Heng for FYF Fest

Haim put a whole new spin on Valley girls next. The ’80s-inspired indie-pop sisters have shed any semblance of inhibition and started to venture into harder rock. Much more in the vein of “My Song 5” than earlier tracks, the ladies amped the crowd up with love for their hometown and insanely impressive drum and guitar solos. FYF served as the final show of Haim’s Days Are Gone support cycle, and they will now have time to take a break and hopefully start on something new.

Kelsey J Heng for FYF Fest
Photo: Kelsey J Heng for FYF Fest

No one was prepared for the crowd that came to the Main stage for The Strokes. No one. The chain link fences that were semi-reinforced with wood picketing buckled under the weight of the massive turnout. Before the band took the stage, security and EMTs were being called back and forth to pull people out of the crowd due to crushing weight, claustrophobia, dehydration, drugs, etc….

Rich Fury for FYF Fest
Photo: Rich Fury for FYF Fest

Just in case it wasn’t clear that the band’s first LA show in years was highly anticipated, the crowd erupted in a dancing frenzy within the first few riffs of “Barely Legal.” Never having seen the band live, middle school me freaked out, high achool me freaked out, college me freaked out…we all freaked out. Not dancing wasn’t an option; when the crowd moved, you moved. I was quickly acquainted with surrounding fans and parted with any memory of personal space. It was a huge party.

Refreshed with each new song intro, The Strokes played through their hits. The whole stage was on point, and frontman Julian Casablancas kept conversation with the audience through endearingly awkward banter. Though they may have successful solo careers, the band members played together like they’d never been apart; with their respective solos each member had their moment in the well-deserved spotlight.

Kelsey J Heng for FYF Fest
Photo: Kelsey J Heng for FYF Fest

After a weekend of living and learning, FYF certainly improved from Day One to Day Two, and though most of the flaws of the new location were recognized and what could be immediately addressed was, I’m sure (or perhaps just hopeful) that LA Historic Park will be open for a festival return next year.