Tuesday, July 25, 2017

FYF Fest 2017

This year FYF added an extra day and some new stages to their weekend festival, while injecting some Gen X nostalgia with acts like Missy Elliot, Bjork, and NIN.  Here are some highlights for this music-packed 3-day festival.
Disclaimer:  I skipped last year's FYF, so some things that might be new to me might not be new to others.
  • The entrance was moved farther down the street from the Metro stop (at the end of the block instead of halfway).  The longer walk led the herd of people down the block, split them up into smaller, more manageable lines, then moved them into a winding, Disneyland style line.  Yes, this was a lot more walking, but it definitely prevented people from having to standing around too long.  Also, greatly appreciated Vitamin Water giving out much needed hydration on the way to the entrance.    
  • One of the best things to me about FYF's Exposition Park location is still the abundance of real bathrooms with running water.  They definitely upped the convenience by opening up more this year.
  • Beach Fossils, with their lo-fi, surf style music, was the perfect first act for us to catch. 
  • BadBadNotGood sounded even better at the Trees Stage than they did a few years back in the Sports Arena.  
  • Björk was amazing live.  She came out in the usual crazy outfit and even had a string orchestra on stage!  Her voice sounded great and she had so much energy.  Hard to believe she's already in her 50s. Unfortunately, the video screens didn't seem to be working correctly as some of the coloring was definitely off.  This was remedied by the time Missy Elliot got on stage.  I heard there were even fireworks!  
  • Regretfully, we left early to go check out Survive, which was probably one of the most boring live sets I have ever seen.  Don't get me wrong, they sounded great, but it was absolutely pointless for us to be standing up front, where some of them hardly cracked a smile, slightly tapped their toes, and barely bobbed their heads.  I actually had to stifle a few yawns during the set.  There were some awkward moments where even they seemed surprised by the loud hissing of the fog machines on stage.  
  • Missy Elliot's set was an impressive retrospective of all her greatest hits. So much of her music still sounds innovative today.  I loved seeing all the behind-the-music interviews on the big screen.  I don't think anyone today even comes close to her groundbreaking music videos.  She was full of energy the entire show.  
  • I liked the idea of Flying Lotus' 3D video performance, but FYF probably could've executed it better.  He should've been at the Main stage where it's much easier to see the screen and more accommodating for larger crowds.  The 3D glasses mailed with the festival passes were an advertisement for his show, so of course the Lawn was completely jammed.  It was cool when I could actually see the screen and there was a short break in the constant stream of people walking in front of me.  He sounded great live though and I got a kick out of the Twin Peaks cover.  
  • The Drums sounded great live with their surf pop.  
  • The Faint always know how to rock a music festival and cater to their fans.  
  • Since we stayed for the entire set for The Faint, we missed the beginning of Frank Ocean's show, but apparently we didn't miss much because it turned out he was late.  Now maybe it's because I'm not a Frank Ocean super fan or maybe the set was out of context because we started in late, but I just didn't get it at all.  First, props to him for making a joke about how messed up it would be if he didn't show up to FYF the second time in a row. Second, I thought the cinematography was terrible.  The display menu was turned on and covering up the screen several times. Sometimes we would just see feet, or just the floor.  The camera was often shaky and going every which way.  We joked about how the camera guy was going to get fired or maybe that he was Ocean's 10-year-old nephew.  And we thought that was Brad Pitt on stage (we were watching from a distance), but why was he on the phone?  I kept thinking he was on a call or maybe letting someone on the phone hear the music.  I later learned that they have some sort of bromance.  Near the end of the set list, I found myself getting bored by the song choices.  When I checked reviews online the next day, I expected scathing reviews.  I was shocked that everyone thought his set was mind blowingly amazing.  It turned out that Spike Jonze had been filming the entire performance. What?!  I wonder if knowing a famous director was shooting had any influence on the reviews.
  • What a huge miscalculation on FYF's part in putting Iggy Pop at the Lawn.  Seemed disrespectful to put such a big name on a stage smaller than the Main Stage.  People were cramming onto the lawn trying to get him in their sights.  We knew we couldn't get in there so we just stood on a nearby bench.  At 70, he was rocking out harder than some of the younger acts at the festival and his voice still sounded great.  No old man voice to be found.  
  • So I usually find Run the Jewels' songs annoying, but they were actually pretty good live.  Mind changed, but only live.  
  • Nine Inch Nails left me awash in a wave of 90s nostalgia.  They've never looked so normal or sounded so good.  

More Reviews: