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Frank Ocean

FYF 2017: Still the great contender of all summer music festivals

It’s been seven years since I’ve been attending FYF Fest, and though the festival has gone through many, many changes throughout the years I can confidently say that it still retains a tone that clearly favors music lovers. Even with the higher price tag, and an additional third day, it’s almost as if it still needs to present itself as such. Given that FYF is still not an immediate sold-out event, there’s still a fine line that the event coordinators have to walk. While it’s mostly a given that you invite the likes of Missy Elliott and Frank Ocean to gather crowds into such a costly endeavor, it’s still just as necessary to make sure that your undercard is just as valuable. 

Considering how FYF began as a gathering place for post-hardcore and punk fans with refined taste, there’s always going to be a certain expectation it has to meet. But it had to grow, and if that means bringing forth an Apple-endorsed artist like 6lack and current hot commodity Mura Masa to spike up on sales then so be it. It’s leagues better than succumbing to EDM flavor-of-the-week fodder, and still, they’ll still invite the likes of Blonde Redhead (who had a sizable crowd at the more communal Club Stage even if they didn’t play one of their banner records) and emo purists Cap N’ Jazz (another explosive performance, even if the tambourine tossing was both childish and obnoxious at once) to appease an early thirty-something like myself.

But mainly, I was concerned about how the festival would benefit the good amount of local talent this city has. And though the final tally was scantier than other years, it was still able to deliver on that front. If you were there early enough on Sunday afternoon, the adorably-named Cherry Glazerr did offer a welcome shot of adrenaline to those who needed to cure themselves of Saturday’s post-Frank Ocean hangover. The same goes for genre-bending four piece Chicano Batman, who also brought a large gathering to the Lawn Stage with their 4 pm slot (a time that brought an underwhelming crowd the day before). But I can’t say that all the local acts scored a perfect ten: Moses Sumney was too reliant on the intricate trickery of his recorded material instead of trying to translate it to a more engrossing live experience, and Thundercat affirmatively clocked in as if he had to fulfill his day job. And yeah, Ty Segall once again delivered a knockout performance (he was gracious and honored to be something of an opening act to Iggy Pop, and I can’t imagine anyone else deserving it more).

So aside from the strangely-concocted set times (lining up Built to Spill, Perfume Genius and King Krule so close to each other just, well, cruel), I can say with much assurance that FYF is still the strongest contender of all summer music festivals. Sure, it doesn’t have the allure of a desert landscape or even an expansive park to its advantage, as the main stage has the appearance of a makeshift parking lot even if it works in a logistical sense, but it’s still very convenient to navigate without straining your legs too much. And they’re still intent on bringing special live experiences you can’t find anywhere. With FYF it’s all about that lineup, and thankfully, there was so much to see this year that you were bound to miss some things. And that’s not a bad problem to have. 

FYF Fest 2015 preview: much-beloved local festival continues to feature some of LA’s best talent

Now in its 12th iteration, FYF Fest should no longer be considered the underdog of all Summer music festivals. And yet, even as it has continued to grow in both size and scope, and put some top dollar on some of today’s most sough-out acts in indie music right now, a sense of familiarity continues to punctuate the festival’s old roots. I mean, another year, another Simian Mobile disco appearance, right?

Though we’re excited for some of this year’s acts making their first appearance (Frank Ocean, Jesus & Mary Chain, Belle & Sebastian) and others returning after having considerably raised their profile (Purity Ring, Death Grips, Dinosaur Jr.), what still makes FYF an exclusively local affair is how it continues to support and foster local talent. And this year’s undercard isn’t any different, with a slew of bludgeoning acts who will be performing at more intimate levels of interaction. So get there early, because as the festival has proved throughout the years, it’s that there’s no shortage of quality regardless of the time slot.

Below are some of our top local picks for FYF this year:

1. Frank Ocean: That new album should be coming soon, right? Though the Long Beach native has kept mum on any details regarding the follow-up to his breakthrough album Channel Orange, we know it’s coming soon. FYF is guaranteed to be the first place where he’ll preview some of his new material, and who knows, maybe he’ll drop that new album prior to his performance. Fingers crossed.

2. Goldroom: I have to admit: the first thing that comes to my mind when I read the name Goldroom is having a Happy Hour tequila shot with a cold PBR on the side. I’m not sure if he got his name from the famed Echo Park dive bar, but what I do know is that producer Josh Legg comes up with straight-up bangers that should get attendees dancing as the sun begins to set. His sun-dappled electro-pop precedes the more abstruse sounds of Shlohmo on Saturday night, another LA-based act whose impenetrable and more cerebral electronica should also not be missed.

3. JUNK: The retro-fitted indie rockers are not only opening this weekend’s ceremonies, but they’re also releasing a 7” inch via the festival’s own imprint. Prepare for a pulverizing 30 minutes of highly-charged tunes with a tinge of self-deprecation that evoke the likes of classic ramshackle rock n’ roll bands like The Replacements and The Damned.

4. Kevin Morby: The former Woods bassist/Babies co-founder has made a name for himself throughout the years with his outstanding solo material. His albums teeter between introspective folk and mellowed-out roots, with melodies that seem lackadaisical but are held together with a taut technicality to them. It’s the perfect match for his 2:35 Saturday slot.

5. Joyce Manor: A band that almost needs no introduction, the Torrance natives are no strangers to the festival. Expect another rousing set from a band who continues to follow through in pursuit of the perfect two minute pop-punk song.

And that's just a small fraction of all the acts playing this year. For more info on this year's set times, head on over to FYF's official website. - LA Deli Staff


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