It is two days later and I am still coughing up dirt. My body aches from all the moshing. My feet are worn out from all the walking. My nose is still crusty. It was a great weekend.
FYF curated what had to be one of the best and most unique lineups in 2012. The amount of veteran hardcore bands that played was remarkable: Quicksand, Converge, Refused, American Nightmare all played to fans of all ages.
You could tell that Sean Carlson has learned a lot from curating this festival since 2004. Dubbed the “best weekend of the summer” it is hard to argue that the festival did not live up to its slogan. At $90 bucks for the weekend, this had to also be one of the most affordable festivals. Even if hardcore music is not your thing, the festival brought many other genres for your pleasure. With headline-worthy sets from Tycho, Simian Mobile Disco, Gold Panda, Black Dice, Desaparecidos, and Nicolas Jaar, there was something for everyone.
Some of the positives were the accessibility of the location and the almost non-existent entrance lines. I waited 10 minutes and 20 minutes accordingly on Saturday and Sunday. The backdrop of the city in the skyline, and the train running past the stages every 10 minutes added to the excellent sets performed all weekend.
But the dust. Oh the amount of dust that there was during later sets. Grass at the park was limited to beer gardens and the VIP area. Most of the venue consisted of dirt and woodchips. This led to a ridiculous amount of dust flying around for the later heavier sets. You cannot really blame FYF for this however. In the last month the park has been used for many events including a two day rave. The reality sets in by day 2 that there is really nothing FYF could do about this sans moving the festival.
It was a brutal weekend. Everyone who attended will tell you that. But seeing all the amazing reunion acts along with an eclectic mix of genres made this year’s addition rival many larger and more expensive festivals.
Saturday September 1st
One of our favorite alt-Americana bands took the stage in the blistering sun with an energetic set filled with new and old tracks. Saddle Creek mainstays Two Gallants recently returned after five years with an awesome new full length, “The Bloom and the Blight”. The duo powered through classic hits such as “Despite What You’ve Been Told” and “Nothing to You” while relying heavily off tracks from their new album. The emotionally charged “Halcyon Days” and “My Love Won’t Wait” were the most memorable off the album. Powering though the heat they made it worth it for all those who showed up early.
Fucked Up played with the energy you have come to expect from our favorite hardcore band from Canada. Damian Abraham appeared in a track suit which was quickly taken off while jumping from the stage to sing in the crowd- where he remained for the entire set. Practically letting the fans sing half the songs, Abraham never let up the entire set. Closing with “Son the Father” Fucked Up did not let their fans down. It was also during this set that I realized just how dusty this festival was going to become.
One of our favorite releases this year has to be San Francisco’s own Tycho’s emotionally drawn album “Givers”. Playing with a new 3 piece live show, the set was one of the bests all weekend. The inclusion of a drummer made all the difference. Playing most of the songs off of his new album, “Daydream” had to be my favorite track he played. Look for a full interview with Tycho later this week.
What is there to say about one of the most influential hardcore bands ever? The Swedish group did not disappoint with one of the largest mosh pits all weekend, if not ever at a festival. Playing a lot of tracks off of “A Shape of Punk to Come” Refused made it worth waiting through all the heat in the dust to see the legends. “Refused are Fucking Dead” came off as incredible. Dennis Lyxzén looked as if he was just as young when the songs came out. Doing incredible splits and backflips, that as a 22 year-old I could not perform, you could tell the songs resonated with him as much now as they did when he wrote them all those years ago. When the starting riffs of “New Noise” occurred the crowd went nuts making it known that the band was just as popular with the fans as they always were.
Sunday September 2nd
With all the coverage of Laura Jane Grace recently, it was good to see firsthand that the band still rocked as hard as ever. Playing cuts from throughout their career, it was good to see that the punk community still had respect for the Florida natives. Older tracks such as “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong” and “Sink Florida Sink” blended well with newer tracks “Teenage Anarchist” and “Don’t Lose Touch”. The end result, a career spanning set that never let up.
This was the set I was most excited for and it did not disappoint. With the presidential elections just around the corner, Conor Obersts’ punk band seems to be just as relevant today as back in 2002 when they first released “Read Music/ Speak Spanish”. Opening with “Greater Omaha” and plowing through angsty tracks such as “Man and Wife, The Former (Financial Planning)” the band did not let down for the entire set. Newer tracks such as “MariKKKopa” fit right in and left everyone excited for what might come next.
Probably the most anticipated set of the weekend, the Boston hardcore legends managed to only play for 35 minutes and still leave the crowd pleased. In typical Wesley Eisold fashion, he looked as if he was singing at a dinner table and not to a rowdy festival full of longtime fans. That is okay because the band made up for it. Closing with an epic rendition of “Farewell”, it did not matter to the fans that they only played 35 minutes because to them it was 35 minutes that they had always hoped for and never thought they would get to see.
The Faint is always a party. As much as many of us would like to forget the years when we worshiped the band it can never go away that The Faint will always have a place in our hearts. Playing tracks that spanned their career, the festival turned into a dance party. “Take Me to the Hospital”, “Agenda Suicide”, and “Worked Up So Sexual” were just some of the highlights from their all to short set that evening. It is kind of awesome that The Faint ended the festival because for many, FYF Fest was a trip down memory lane. With acts that we all loved in high school playing, it was not hard to walk away from the festival with a smile on your face feeling like a kid again.
Stay tuned for a full photo gallery from FYF tomorrow.
Follow Kevin @kpcamps.