I shocked a lot of people when I told them that this year’s FYF Fest would be my first music festival I have attended. I’ve done Sunset Juntion and the early incarnations of the FYF Fest when it was still known as the “Fuck Yeah Fest”, but an actual music festival, no. I haven’t been to Coachella. I’ve never done Lollapalooza. I didn’t even go to This Ain’t No Picnic during its only incarnation in 1999. Since I’ve been a music junkie most of my life, it comes as a surprise to most people.
But the lineup came out, and for some reason I decided that this was the music festival I had to be at. Perhaps it was M83. Or maybe it was Dinosaur, or the Vaselines, or Simian Mobile Disco, or Liars, or James Blake or whatever else I wanted to listen. All I knew is that I had to drag my bloated sack of fluids, fat and bones to this thing $90+ be damned.
One of the things I learned is that this business of music festivals is best left for the youth. They’re the ones who can tolerate crowds, the tons of bad music and the dehydration. They have no problems dealing with the mixture of cigarette and pot smoke combined with dust and sediment and whatever animal excrement left on the ground constantly creeping into your sinuses.
It certainly is a sad thing when age creeps up on you. Words like “blood pressure”, “sciatica”, “aching” and “naps” start invading their way into your vernacular. It’s awful and absolutely barbaric. I have eased my way into my 30’s, or to more accurately phrase it, my 30’s have crept into my life like the succubus, and this FYF Fest certainly made me feel it.
Of course it started nicely on Saturday. Despite the near 90-degree weather, a steady breeze blew through the LA Historic Park making it suprisingly pleasant. Being the old fart, of course, I stood and waited to see The Vaselines after giving myself a grand tour.
The Vaselines did their thing playing the crowd favorites “Molly’s Lips”, “Jesus Don’t Want Me for a Sunbeam”, “Turnaround”. For some reason there was a heckler to which Frances in her Scottish lilt said, “You’re being a bad boy. You need a spanking. Then I’m gonna shit on you.”
Seeing The Vaselines brought about the same emotions as when I saw the Pixies back in 2005. I kept wanting to cry but managed to hold on to a small shred of dignity and merely bobbed my head back and forth to the tunes.
I made my way over to see Pains at Being Pure of Heart while sitting at a safe distance on a shaded hill which was fine. I had more than enough exposure to the sun while watching the Vaselines, and despite the distance I still felt like I should have been in the middle of a Gregg Araki movie.
Most annoyingly though all my fault was making my way over to see the Chromatics play at the northern-most stage. For some reason I get them mixed up with the Coachwhips. So instead of lo-fi noisy punkish bullshit, there was lo-fi dancish stuff. Oops. I met up with a friend and we went over to see Hot Snakes play which reminded me of Blonde Redhead if they went hardcore.
I cut out of there right before they allegedly played a Drive Like Jehu song to go see James Blake. In hindsight I had no regrets.
James Blake was an epiphany, a cross between Antony and the Johnsons, D’Angelo and an electronic cocoon. I first came upon James Blake thanks to a local gay porn/experimental film collective and now defunct Black Spark. For the uninitiated, the films were a travel to the underworld of the psyche, a battle between good and evil, and, most importantly, hardcare gay sex between almost mythical chiseled twinks. Sadly all of the videos have disappeared into the ether, and no word has been heard from them since.
The last time I felt this moved was when I saw Ladytron for the first time at the John Ford Amphitheater. Then I felt I was a part of a gothic rave. For James Blake, I felt like I was getting ready for a good all-night orgy although I did conveniently close my eyes so I didn’t have to see any of the double-x chromosomes.
I ended up going back on the knoll where I saw Pains of Being Pure at Heart to take in M83. I then realized how boring that band is despite the couple of head-bobbing songs they have in their repertoire and decided to take off.
I felt great leaving the park and walking to the Gold Line Chinatown station. The energy of the festival was still brimming inside me, and I couldn’t wait to come back on Sunday.
When I woke up Sunday, it seemed that every dust particle I inhaled on Saturday decided to attack every part of my sinus. I sneezed and sneezed and was just a snotty mess, which also happens to work well with a beard. I felt attacked my every cell in my body, but I still felt determined to go.
As I was driving to the Artesia Transit Center so I could Metro it up the festival, I thought about the line to get in, having to deal with my camera, sitting in the sun, being around people and the pain I was feeling.
I figured the bands I really wanted to see were Dinosaur Jr., Liars and The Faint. I’d seen Liars several times already, and the thought of catching the two other bands didn’t outweigh me wanting to return home and become a vegetable. So I made a detour to the market and went back home.
I really try to keep age at a distance, refusing to let it get the best of me. But it has started to claim me.
I’ll live I suppose. I also suppose I’m spoiled since I am usually separated from the unwashed masses occupying the press box in local arenas and stadia. But fuck it. No matter the aches, the pains, the age, the allergies, the dust or what not. I had a shit ton of fun on Saturday. Fuck yeah!