Solange | FYF Festival | August 25, 2013

To check out pictures of other bands I was able to catch at the festival, CLICK HERE.

Solange
Solange

Having been blown away by Beyonce when I saw her perform at the Staples Center earlier in the year, I thought it was only right to see her younger sister, Solange, perform. I had heard good things about her latest album, Solo Star, and even better things about her EP, True, so I ventured over to the stage where she was set to perform.

As it was when I saw Beyonce perform, I felt a little out of place. Most of the audience members were young women, but casting any uneasy feelings aside, I held my ground and braced myself for the experience. As an aside, for me, there’s really no more uneasy feeling that going to a concert “blind” without having any knowledge or sense of what was to come.

Beyonce, to put it bluntly, blew my mind. It’s hard for anybody, let alone a sister, to live up to the “Beyonce standard”. When Solanage took to the stage, all I could think about was how Solange personally reconciles the comparisons and expectations. From what I had read, Solange’s music leaned more on mid to late ’60’s soul or eccentric synth-funk than modern hip-hop, pop sensibilities of her older sis.

Solange
Solange

The crowd warmly greeted Solange to the stage and backed with a full band she commenced her set. Lacking the kind of big-budget, stage production that Beyonce incorporates into her shows, Solange relied on her personality and “vibe” to engage the audience. Her music was mature and smooth, and carried with it a style classy and sophisticated. There were no choreographed dancers, but Solange used the entire stage effectively, addressing the entire audience.  When digging deep into emotional songs, close up shots of her face projected on the video screen monitors showed someone crafting her own style and meaning to the music.

I enjoyed her set, and though I can’t visualize her having the type of career or stardom her sister has already achieved, she can, and most likely will, carve out her own path and will be making her brand of music for years to come.

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Solange
Solange.
Solange.
Solange looking eerily like her sister.
Solange looking eerily like her sister.

Shlohmo | FYF Festival | August 25, 2013

To check out pictures of other bands I was able to catch at the festival, CLICK HERE.

Shlohmo amidst the mist.
Shlohmo amidst the mist.

Earlier in the day I had watched Tom Krell p/k/a How To Dress Well perform, and having done some research before the festival about different projects he had worked on, I found a video on youtube of a track How To Dress Well performed on produced by Henry Laufer p/k/a Shlohmo called “Don’t Say No”.

Intrigued by the sound and the fact that he was apparently working with Tom Krell, I decided to buy his latest LP “Bad Vibes” and after a couple spins on my record player, I decided that I’d put him on the list of acts I wanted to check out at the Festival.  I’m not a big fan of DJ sets- I’m more of a live band kinda guy- but having enjoyed Flying Lotus in the past year at the Hollywood Bowl, I decided to swing by the tent where he was performing to check out a bit of his set.

As the “house lights” dimmed, and the smoke machines started pumping out a thick mist over the stage, Shlohmo came up to his DJ console and started his set.  His live set was a little different than I had expected. “Don’t Say No” and “Bad Vibes” are very moody records, extremely ambient in there overall approach . The live set still carried the eerie mysticism of the music that I had purchased and watched before the festival, but during the fifteen minutes that I watched, it didn’t feel as lo-fi as maybe I had wanted. Missing was the interstitial feedback and ambient hisses that gave “Bad Vibes” its unique sound. The live show was almost too “clean.”

Don’t get me wrong.  The music was good … the filled tent of bobbing heads was proof of that, and I  love “Bad Vibes” (which sounds amazing on vinyl)  …. but like I said, I’m more of a live band kind of guy.

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Shlohmo and lazers.
Shlohmo and lazers.

!!! (ChkChkChk) | FYF Festival | August 25, 2013

To check out pictures of other bands I was able to catch at the festival, CLICK HERE.

Nic Offer of !!! (ChkChkChk) getting into the audience during their set.
Nic Offer of !!! (ChkChkChk) getting into the audience during their set.
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!!!’s latest album cover.

Over the past 5 months, while perusing a local store, I kept noticing an album cover for a band that I wasn’t familiar with (see right).  The band’s name was !!! (pronounced ‘ChkChkChk’) and a record store employee told me that they were from Northern California and described their style of music as dance.  I didn’t ask to hear any of the music play on the store sound system, and for some reason I neglected to look them up online each time I got home, but I was often reminded of them often because the cover to their LP was always staring me in the face whenever I entered that record store .

Fast forward to the FYF Festival, I noticed that they were listed as an early evening set.  I decided to check them out, and anticipated an energetic set. I was not disappointed. A large band consisting of 8 members, the music was groove centric, the band was tight, and the lead singer was singing and busting moves all over the stage. In fact, the lead singer’s energy was off the charts and it spread into the audience as everybody around me was bouncing to their  tunes. My first impression was that !!!’s sound was if David Byrnes of the Talking Heads started up in the 2010s, with splashes of LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip. Take a listen/look at the video clip below to make your own opinion.

Nic Offer of !!! "saluting" the crowd.
Nic Offer of !!! “saluting” the crowd.

The photographers in the press pit left after their second song, and Nic Offer, the lead singer, yelled out, “Hey, where you guys going?!?! I’ll only get cuter and cuter as the set goes on!” He laughed into the mic, and the band kept the set rolling. His stage manner had a likable, cocky air to it and it was infectious, as everybody was, while eyes transfixed on the stage, moving to the rhythm. The vibe was so positive that time seemed to pass instantly. When their set had ended, I was left wanting more, and it was a good indicator that I should probably purchase that LP to add to my collection and catch them when they are back in town.

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Tyler Pope of !!!.

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs | FYF Festival | August 24, 2013

To check out pictures of other bands I was able to catch at the festival, CLICK HERE.

Karen O's mic.
Karen O’s mic.

I’ve already professed my love for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs earlier this year after I saw them at Coachella back in April, so I’m going to limit this entry to pictures that I took at FYF Festival. The band still kicks ass. Karen O is still a rock star.

I got the set list from setlist.fm.

  1. Mosquito
  2. Phenomena
  3. Under the Earth
  4. Rich
  5. Gold Lion (We Will Rock You  Intro)
  6. Zero
  7. Cheated Hearts
  8. Runaway
  9. Despair
  10. Sacrilege
  11. Heads Will Roll
  12. Maps
  13. Date With the Night
Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
My favorite pic that I took of Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
My favorite pic that I took of Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Confetti released towards the end of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs set.
Confetti released towards the end of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs set.

The Breeders | FYF Festival | August 24, 2013

To check out pictures of other bands I was able to catch at the festival, CLICK HERE.

Kelley Deal of The Breeders
Kim Deal of The Breeders

Since I was already up at the front of the stage for Charles Bradley, I decided to stay put for the next band to grace the main stage: The Breeders. The Breeders were very popular during my high school days in the early 90s, but truth be told, during that time my alternative rock tastes leaned more toward Nirvana , Nine Inch Nails and Pearl Jam. Don’t get me wrong, I liked The Breeders’ music a lot, I mean who can resist their hit “Cannonball”, but I think adolescent guys being adolescent guys, I was a little hesitant to hold a torch for a band that my younger sister was really into.

Knowing that the band would be playing their second album, “Last Splash”, in its entirety (which album, by the way, is celebrating its 20 anniversary, and was reissued as a “deluxe edition”, this year …. Yowza!!!), I was looking foward to hearing “Cannonball”, which I knew was the second track on the album. Because I wanted to also check out another artist whose set overlapped with The Breeders, I planned on catching at least half of their set before maneuvering away from the crowd … And a big crowd it was.

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The massive crowd for The Breeders

Their fans came out in droves and cheered like  mad when they took the stage to set up their equipment. The album’s original lineup was on stage: vocalists/guitarists Kim and Kelley Deal, bassist Josephine Wiggs and Drummer Jim MacPherson.  There was an additional band member on stage, but I didn’t recognize who she was. I couldn’t get any photos of Jim MacPherson since I didn’t have a good angle.

Without greeting the crowd, they opened with a Guided by Voices cover of “Shocker In Gloomtown”. Afterwards, Kim Deal greeted the massive crowd and expressed the band’s gratitude for being able to perform at the festival, and with that they jumped into playing “Last Splash”. They played the album in order, so I got to hear “Cannonball”. I didn’t get to hear their other big singles (“Saints” and “Divine Hammer”), as I left after about 4 or 5 more songs, but I got what I needed to satisfy my music craving. I made a note that I was amused with how in between songs Kelley or Kim would gleefully point out that they were using some of  the same musical instruments that were used for the original recordings. If that isn’t being faithful to the original album, I don’t know what it is.  As I left my spot from the front of the stage, the girls behind me squealed with delight beholding their newly, unobstructed view.

As I was walking to the next band on my list, I swear could hear The Breeders sing the lyrics “Come back to me right now”. I kept walking, but I did stop to pause for a second to think about it.

Setlist (pulled from setlistfm.com):

  1. Shocker In Gloomtown (Guided by Voices cover)
  2. New Year
  3. Cannonball
  4. Invisible Man
  5. No Aloha
  6. Roi
  7. Do You Love Me Now?
  8. Flipside
  9. I Just Wanna Get Along
  10. Mad Lucas
  11. Divine Hammer
  12. S.O.S.
  13. Hag
  14. Saints (with Bradford Cox)
  15. Drivin’ on 9 (Ed Redeeming Qualities cover)
  16. Roi (Reprise)
  17. Fortunately Gone
Josephine Wigg of The Breeders
Josephine Wigg of The Breeders
Kim Deal of The Breeders
Kelley Deal of The Breeders
Kim Deal of The Breeders
Kim Deal of The Breeders
The Keyboardist for The Breeders
The Keyboardist for The Breeders
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Kim Deal of The Breeders
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Kelley Deal of The Breeders