FYF Fest, Day 1: Dispatches from the Hill St. Stage


[Photos and capsule reviews of selected sets from the Hill Street Stage at Saturday’s FYF Fest:]

Purity Ring, Hot Snakes, Future Islands, the Vaselines, A.A. Bondy, the Men, Sandro Perri, Devin

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More photos and reviews after the jump:”


You Should Have Been Here Because: It’s not often you get to see some Scots play charming pop with grit who also happen to have been one of Kurt Cobain’s favorites and feature some members of Belle & Sebastian as their backing band. Their particular brand of shambling indie rock worked well on the hot summer day, and their interactions with the crowd made the whole outdoors thing still feel like a living room roast among friends. Duo Eugene Kelly and Frances McKeen traded saucy barbs with each other (“Did you notice that Frances has her f*ck me shoes on?”) and with the audience (“Do you want me to sh*t on you?”) before diving into a sweet number like “Monsterpussy.” The band, sadly overlooked until Nirvana covered their song “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam,” performed that track and a crowd sing-a-long broke out. This prompted Frances to state afterwards, “Well, now that we’ve mellowed you out, feel free to take off your clothes and masturbate,” which led to lots of laughter and then the whimsical “Molly’s Lips.” A song from 2010’s “Sex With an X,” “The Devil’s Inside Me,” almost sounded like a thank you to Cobain, as the chord progression could have easily been lifted from his track “About A Girl,” but was layered with classic Vaselines vocal interplay.

The Downside: Being an unashamed fan of Duran Duran, I had to cringe when they did their (admittedly hilarious) “I Hate the ”˜80s,” which cleverly slams that band and their ilk.
– Mo Herms


You Should’ve Been Here Because: Dressed in a tight T-shirt, shades and blue jeans, A.A. Bondy took the stage, looking every inch the American troubadour. In the late afternoon heat the crowd took shelter from the sun in islands of shade provided by the trees that dotted the field in front of the stage. With his three-piece band behind him, Bondy launched into a set that belonged in a Western. He sang about broken men, broken towns and broken dreams, allowing his guitar to mirror the pain rippling out of his voice. The slow tempo of “Down in the Fire (Lost At Sea)” brought a sigh of wonder from the crowd, it’s soft beauty and harsh lyrics, running over the field like a cool breeze. “You are over there with the working girls / All your time in the underworld / and those nights in the shadow factories/ lay, lay us down, down in the fire.” It was one of the few sets that allowed for self-reflection.

The Downside: Because the set was so mellow, a lot of people thought it appropriate to talk through it. I’m sure there’s a seventh circle of Hell dedicated to these people.

This stage would be the perfect place to start a fundraiser for planting more trees in Los Angeles’ parks.
– Molly Bergen


You Should Have Been Here Because: When the five men of the Men take the stage, rowdiness ensues. The Brooklyn band launched into not one, but two brash new tracks (but not loud enough for the crowd, who kept yelling “Turn it up!”) that immediately created a mosh pit up front, sending a tornado of dust up towards the center of the stage. Fans of Husker Du or boozy-era Replacements really should feel some pride when they hear songs from last spring’s “Open Your Heart,” like “Turn It Around” or the title track, as the Men take those same principles of fast, loud and out of control, but with loads of melody, and deliver quality revved-up tunes. And live? Even more rocked out. In true snotty kid fashion, they kept referring to the festival as the “F*ck you fest” before tearing up the stage again. But “Country Song?” No way you could miss the lap steel guitar player at that point, and they pulled you down into a spacey place … and then swapped instruments for the last track before blowing it all up one more time.

The Downside: The surprise clarinet felt a bit forced, because when you rock as hard as the Men, do you really need a squawky clarinet? But the see-through guitar they sported might make up for that.
– Mo Herms