[Photos and capsule reviews of selected sets from the Hill Street Stage at Sunday’s FYF Fest:]
Turbonegro, Liars, Aesop Rock, Father John Misty, Wild Nothing, White Fence, Kishi Bashi
- ||| Photos by Laurie Scavo
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After the jump, more photos and capsule reviews:
You Should Have Been Here Because: If you had made it this far along in the festival and wanted one last shot of adrenaline to get you home, Norwegian death-punks Turbonegro were the band to do it. Sporting their ever-present sailor hats, neckerchiefs and denim jackets, Turbonegro was ready to party, and so was the crowd. The original lead singer having left the band in 2010, new front man Tony Sylvester (who was previously the President of the London chapter of the Turbojugend fan club) growled out “All My Friends Are Dead” and stoked the frenzy of the loyal fans. “So we’ve got Adderall addicts, attention whores, and anal sex addicts ”¦ Los Angeles!” Classic tracks like “I Got Erection,” “Wasted Again” and “F*ck the World” were peppered through a set filled with songs from their latest release “Sexual Harassment.” A frothy mix of rock, punk and glam, Turbonegro has inspired a rabid cult following (including one Steve McDonald of Redd Kross, who was in the crowd shouting along during the older numbers) who dress up in sailor hats and denim jackets bearing the Turbonegro logo. These members of the Turbojugend (their fan army, as it were) got a song dedicated to them: “Denim Demon” from 1996’s “Ass Cobra” album.
The Downside: The jokes about LA being the land of porn stars and beautiful people got old after a while, even if it was all in (sorta) fun.
– Mo Herms
You Could Have Missed This Because: Unless you’re into continuous waves of repetitive doom-and gloom electro, you should have gone and seen Glass Candy instead. Clad in black and white, the trio hit the stage with synthesizers, a drum kit, and guitars and proceeded to produce an incredibly somber, dull set. The lyrics were completely unintelligible and what could be made out was chanted over and over again. You know what, though? The crowd loved every minute of it. Bobbing their heads in perfect time with beat, everyone appeared to all be sharing the same dream. It made us wish we could find the Liars’ Kool Aid stand and get on board with everyone else.
The Upside: Half an hour into the set after our eyes had glazed over in boredom. Then suddenly out of nowhere there was a dance song, “Brats.” It was awesome. The whole crowd rippled with joy and for a moment, we got what the Liars was all about.
Postscript: Spent a good portion of time watching a young man meticulously roll an enormous joint with a dollar bill.
– Molly Bergen
You Should Have Been Here Because: For the combination of entertainment value and musicality, Father John Misty stole the whole damned festival. The former Fleet Foxes drummer has advanced the folk music he made as J. Tillman, and he has quite possibly one of the best albums of the year just out, “Fear Fun.” Normally, the narrative quality of such lyrically rich music would be enough, but Tillman, now performing sans guitar or drums and just as a singer, played raconteur to the hilt. He’s got moves (some of them kitschy), he’s got songs (some of them rock) and he’s got lines (most of which dripping with irony.) He acknowledged the Metro line adjacent to the Hill Street Stage, deadpanning “Trains make me feel wistful.” On the scene: “This is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in my goddamned life; I was raised in a basement.” On FYF: “F*ck Coachella … You think I wanna go to the desert when I can get a slice of pizza right here?” On the lineup: “When does Radiohead go on?” Overall, Father John Misty’s set recalled a great show you might see from a Vegas crooner – you swore from some of his shimmying and gesticulations you were watching a young Dean Martin, especially when he cracked wise about having sampled some of sponsor’s Sailor Jerry products “I’m feeling very sponsored right now,” he said. To which a fan shouted: “We love you!” “I’m thinking,” he came back, “that’s not a proper response to a thinly veiled reference to being drunk.”
Downside: Only that I wasn’t into the Sailor Jerry’s with him.
Postscript: Beers sometime?
– Kevin Bronson
You Could Have Been Missed This Because: While Wild Nothing is awfully pretty, they aren’t awfully exciting. The brainchild of Jack Tatum, they traffic in a lovely kind of indie pop perfected in the late ’80s by Brit bands like the Ocean Blue and Trashcan Sinatras, jangly sweet stuff with reverb-y effects and dreamy vocals. The kind of stuff that causes them to apologize for tuning up so much, because they did. Tatum records on his own, and then puts together a band for the tour, so this may explain the lack of interaction between band members and the audience. A very dedicated group of dancing fans, however, went wild when they broke into “Chinatown” from their first album, and happily contributed “whoa whoas” when necessary. Wild Nothing’s latest effort, “Nocturne,” puts more of a synth spin on things, causing a little bit of a Cut Copy and New Order sound to emerge. “Paradise” and “Only Heather” also perked up the crowd somewhat, but overall, the whole thing stayed very low-key.
The Upside: It was the perfect soundtrack for some tea and crumpets while taking in some valuable shade under a tree.
– Mo Herms
You Should’ve Been Here Because: The dapper Kishi Bashi put an orchestral swoon into the lunch hour. Using various pedals to loop his violin, the man became his own string section, building the melody until he was satisfied and then chopped it up at will with percussion and majestic choirs built from his own voice. Kishi Bashi is the solo project of violinist K. Ishibashi who usually can be found playing with Of Montreal, but Sunday shone on his own. Despite the early morning set there were quite a few fans clustered in front of the stage, and a lot more taking refuge under the shade of the trees. After the first three songs, he brought out his backing band the Last Bison, who apparently are all family members. Last Bison brought a fullness to the set adding a drum kit, upright bass, banjo and guitar, giving Kishi Bashi the extra oomph he needed to turn his single “Bright Whites” into an all out rumpus. Kishi Bashi made an attempt to teach the crowd the Japanese lyrics with no success, but the crowd made up for it by whooping and clapping along as if they had known it all their lives.
The Downside: The sound man seemed completely uninterested in fixing glitches during the set, so there were a lot of crackles, pops and microphone failures.
Postscript: If the sound man wasn’t on Kishi Bashi’s side God was. During the middle of the set church bells began ringing from Chinatown in time with the music.
– Molly Bergen
Kishi Bashi photo by Bronson