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Live: Our Favorite Sets From FYF Day 1

The brashest, boldest, most nostalgic sets from the LA festival.

Photo by Crystin Wiegers for FYF Fest
August 25, 2014

FYF 2014 may have been plagued by logistical difficulties and really overpriced food trucks, but the shows I caught as I walked-ran between the generously spaced stages made up for any inconvenience ten times over. And, really: the beer was cold, the weather was beautiful, and the arena tunnel was air conditioned, so stop complaining (or, in the case of the near-mob trying to see Caribou, freaking the fuck out). My Uber bill may have been $113.50, but as I hit my pillow and sped towards sleep harder and faster than ever before, I was content. I could only stay for Friday, forgive me, but here are the four acts that impressed the most.

Grimes

I've never been to a stadium-sized spectacular before. I either miss the boat on buying tickets, waver too long about spending that much money, or simply have an anticipatory, crowd-induced, mini-panic attack and bail. Grimes' performance let me live a little: her color-shifting, feel-good set with lots of hair flipping and two back up dancers in matching skimpy outfits was more power pop princess than anything I've seen in a while. Grimes' beguiling witchy beauty amplifies on stage: she moans and growls and flips her long blue hair around, she rolls her eyes like she's auditioning for The Exorcism of Emily Rose, but her music is bright and infectious and undeniably pop. As the dancers raised their arms, encouraging everyone to clap along, I laughed on the inside, but on the outside, I danced. Watch Grimes' performance of "Go" with Blood Diamonds from FYF, below.

XXYYXX

XXYYXX had one of the only sets I saw where the fidelity of his sound seemed entirely uncompromised—even completely unaffected—by the elements of the outdoor festival. I may have been forcing my way through the dense crowd in my attempts to catch a glimpse, but XXYYXX's silky blends made me feel vibey and peaceful. Marcel Everett has an uncanny ability to move the crowd, and by the way the people stood staring at nothing, slackjawed and motionless, it was in full force. Watch him work the crowd at the Echoplex last year, below.

Boris

It's difficult to put into words just how good it was to see Japanese metalheads Boris in Los Angeles. I wasn't the only one: when I asked my friend if he could verbalize what we had experienced he typed back simply, "I can't really describe it, it was just so tight." Feeling the crowd thrum against the darkening California sky in some kind of ecstatic unison felt almost religious, and watching Wata walk offstage hand in hand with her daughter—a little metal family—couldn't have been sweeter. Watch a video of their performance that captures the freneticism of their light show but not quite the energy of the crowd at FYF, below.

Interpol

I might have, in high school, dreamt that one day I would have a job that would allow me to write Interpol concert reviews, but the cruel mistresses of fate seemed perversely intent on making sure that could never happen. But then they played FYF in 2014, and now here we are. Interpol was the companion to my tempestuous early high school emotions: their lyrics bracketed my diary entries and Antics nearly burned a hole in my Saab's CD player. On Saturday, they couldn't have looked and sounded more anachronistic, clad in dark suits, foppish hair, and illuminated by electric blue lighting, but as I realized I remembered all the words and group texted with friends about "feeling feelings," they felt very right, even now. Live the throwback through the below clip from Saturday night.

Live: Our Favorite Sets From FYF Day 1