It was one FOMO Fest you shouldn’t have missed

Moon Honey at FOMO Fest 2016 (Photo by Maximilian Ho)
Moon Honey at FOMO Fest 2016 (Photo by Maximilian Ho)

Warning: If Fear Of Missing Out is a real condition (and there’s no place it’s more pervasive than L.A.), then those who passed on Sunday’s FOMO Fest 2016 at the Echo should be petrified.

Fourteen artists in all played the day-long festival, an annual preview of things-to-come, and the evening’s final act summed up the sentiments of the big crowd.

“It’s good to see friends and the music community here, we all made this happen,” said Sun Drug singer Steven Wilkin to a packed main room during the night’s final set.

||| Photos by Maximilian Ho

Sun Drug opened with “Easy In Your Attitude,” and the crowd was electrified, the room shaking at a decibel level that probably registered on the Richter scale. When he wasn’t taking pictures with audience members’ phones, Wilkin was up front playing tambourine and dancing on the stage ledge. “Flash Flood Warning” started with a noisy intro as jarring as the iPhone alerts it’s named after, similar to noise heard at Radiohead live shows. The band closed with a new song titled “Analyze the Stars” which featured a house breakdown, and left the crowd feeling sun-drugged.

Other highlights from the day included:

Eyes widened and jaws dropped for Moon Honey, a last-minute addition to the festival lineup. Vocalist Jessica Ramsey and guitarist/shredder-extraordinaire Andrew Martin transported listeners to another plane of existence with their surreal magic-rock. Accompanied by keyboard-wizard and tempo-time-machine Logan Baudean and Anders LaSource, the band played songs from their 2013 record “Hand-Painted Dream Photographs,” including spine-chilling renditions of “The Cathedral” and “Self-Portrait Beneath Woman’s Mask.” They previewed a few new tracks as well; a loss for those not in attendance. The crowd cheered for an encore, but the band had to adhere to the strict time schedule. Martin quipped, “… It was gonna be a Bowie cover …”

Veronica Bianqui and her six-piece band, all in sparkling apparel, utilized every inch of the patio stage, cramming a sax/trumpet combo in the corner and bassist on a side step. She carried her equipment in a “God Bless David Bowie” tote bag, fitting, considering tribute happening later Sunday night downstairs at the Echo and Echoplex. The band played a tune called “Paris,” which Bianqui explained was written about “a friend of mine whose acid trip I was guiding him through. He was freaking out, and I put on French Bossa-nova love songs. I told him we were in the streets of Paris eating croissants and that ultimately you can escape whatever darkness you’re in through imagination. … And beer.”

A finely timed schedule allowed fans to alternate stages without missing a beat.

Dressed in white and brightly lit, Miya Folick appeared as a hard rock angel. Her band played through a set of songs from the “Strange Darling” EP including, “I Got Drunk,” displaying impressive dynamic range. She could wail in such a lovely manner, only to recede with heartfelt whimpers, singing with her hands at times, underscoring the lyrics. The set featured heavier tracks as it progressed; Folick’s writing possesses raw emotional intention. A very full room loved every moment of the surfy closer “Pet Body.”

“This is the first time we’ve played a lot of these songs” Tim Foley commented before the Cobalt Cranes played a handful of new tracks, clearly a preview of continuing work. Their set also contained songs from 2013’s “Head in the Clouds” and 2014’s “Days in the Sun.”. Foley said this was the band’s last show in Los Angeles before heading on a 32-day European tour. The California grunge-rockers had listeners bobbing heads across the room.

Accompanied by a psychedelic projection, Draemings delivered some new mystic pop with a song called “Don’t Even Worry” and took a moment to celebrate, “because we are now single as a band, separate from [label] entities …” Speaking of which, they closed the set with their latest single, “Like A Ghost.”

Earlier in the afternoon on the patio, Northern American kicked things off as a trio with songs from their mellowed-out debut album “Modern Phenomena.” All but one phone was away during the performance of the album’s title track, which touches on lyric themes considering the role of technology in today’s relationships. The mellow rockers played a fitting soundtrack for a cloudy L.A. afternoon.

“A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I call bullshit” exclaimed James the Human, the one-man R&B a cappella show. The audience got to laugh and reflect before the end of the set, with a new track titled “Laid,” in which James sang, “I got laid on my phone today.”

“I hit myself in the nut! Fuck man!” exclaimed Prettiest Eyes drummer Pachy after jamming in near-darkness. Bassist Marco, frantically paced the stage, running into the crowd on more than one occasion, making for a wild set.

Bird Dog pleased fans with their anthemic folk-rock single “The Ocean and the Sea,” gave attendees a chance to ease up halfway through the festival. While introducing “I’m On My Way,” singer Maxim Helmerich noted “this is a song about knocking my wife up.” They band will release an EP this Friday via IAMSOUND.