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I’m going to avoid using the H-word, since that’s most likely the first thing that came to your mind upon seeing that we covered the FYF, so it’s best if we just get that out of the way. I will say that, surprisingly enough, the crowd at the fest was a lot more bearable than I was expecting. To my surprise, people seemed to be here simply to enjoy themselves, not just to perpetuate the least favorite and most common stereotype known to modern man.
I came expecting the usual drugfish that I had gotten used to stepping over at Coachella, and although there were plenty of ground-dwelling, floppy bodies to step over (or on), the crowd as a whole was quite stomachable. Unlike its desert counterpart, FYF did a decent job of combining all the latest indie rock and cocaine rave garbage while still clinging to a fair amount of punk and hardcore roots, making them all easily separable from one another, which is fairly important if you ask me. FYF is what Coachella should be, only much closer to my house, and without as many hippies.
I’ll try to keep these rundowns brief and, for the sake of our readers, I’m only going to touch on the bands that I am assuming any of you are curious about.
I showed up for the very end of The Men’s set – seemed good; Redd Cross played well as well, but I think they’ll be better in a tighter capacity when they perform with the Melvins on New Years Eve; Vaselines – cool and creepy, lots of awkward innuendo, though I found it odd to book a Nirvana tribute band, clever as their renditions were, for an event of this magnitude (kidding); Fucked Up played their lil’ hearts out, though the band didn’t move around much. Pink Eyes was in the crowd the whole time, sweatin’ his man-boobs all over everybody, and they were happily lapping it up. This was my first taste of dirt inhalation, up close and personal [Editor’s note: FYF takes place in a gigantic, ridiculously dusty field]; Quicksand, being one of the ‘hotly anticipated’ acts, performed excellently. Tight and precise, they gave the crowd what they came for, and everyone was satisfied; Black Mountain – it’s not often that a current band (or any band, for that matter) can make me feel like I’ve been transported to another time period, but they had me placed in some carpeted ’60s/’70s makeout lounge, experimenting with acid, pot, or opium for the first time, keyboard tones penetrating my brain, staring into the colored lights, taking the inevitable ride; finally, headliners Refused delivered from head to toe, the huge crowd pumped and pulsed, squishing each other into a big Swedish post-pre-post-punk mish-mosh. Energy from the stage shot out in bursts and stabs, the band was totally synchronized: they nailed it.
Against Me! delivered an earnest set. Never been a fan, but the energy was there. Lightning Bolt did what they do, which was great; soundwise, I could’ve done with a bit more in the low end, but when you’re outdoors, you take what you can get. They are a band that I can imagine would be better in someone’s basement, though I’ve never had the pleasure. The musicianship among the members of Dinosaur Jr. is hard to match by anyone’s standards. J’s solos squealed out over the crowd like a soaring phoenix, screaming wistful tales of confusion and misconstrued ’90s romance. They even played a Deep Wound song! Also, it was nice to see Mr. Rollins on the sidestage next to Mascis, mentally balls-deep, standing, sitting, headbanging, staring slack-jawed at the supreme axe-wielding, scribbling notes on a notepad like a madman. It was here that I suddenly got barred from the photo pit, halfway through the second day, for not having the other wristband, so instead I shot the screen. Poopoo on you for that one, FYF. Not to worry, before the next act I jerry-fused a broken wristband onto my wrist using gum, ingenuity, and some help from my friends: just in time for the brootal bands. Converge tore the fest an asshole or two. I’m assuming most of you have seen them before, so you know the deal. The crowd was big and dense enough to build a double-decker pit. The dirt was no longer in the air at this point; the dirt was the air. All the boys on stage punched and punished, relentless riffage, impossible drumming, etc., etc. American Nightmare were next up on the same stage, delivering that Boston hardcore they’re known for. A lot of anticipation for these guys what with their checkered past and extremely infrequent performances. Needless to say, they delivered, the crowd went absolutely bonkers, and it was good. Finally . . . to close out the self-coined “best weekend of the summer” [ever!] – the denimed-up dudes of deathpunk, the shaft-strokin’, throat-pokin’, chub-schlubbin’ ass blastin’ Norwegian nasties Turbonegro took the stage! The hits came forth like a stampede of foamy-mouthed sailorboys. New (and might I add totallly adequate) frontman Tony Sylvester commanded the crowd, demanding participation and teamwork through “I Got Erection”, “Get It On” and many others, although with these guys, every song is a sing-a-long. Euroboy showed us what the perfect punk’n’roll guitar tone sounds like. I personally was squished in the pit, shooting and singing to my heart’s content.
We filed out as only fest-beaten sheeple can do – filthy, flambéed, and fucked, with big shit-eating grins smacked across our faces. At this point, there were no h-words, metalheads, or inbetweeners, just a large mass of drunk-n-stoned music nerds, branching off into the night to find somewhere to revel in our individual/collective experiences and drink more beer.
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