FYF Fest 2015 Highlights – Mac DeMarco, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Run the Jewels (FESTIVAL RECAP)

Two days of beer, artisanal corn dogs, 90’s inspired clothing, and a whole lot music made this year’s Fuck Yeah Fest the party you didn’t want to miss. A little something for everyone, the diverse mixture of musicians made it so you could customize your day and enjoy the flawless LA weather while enjoying some of the best tunes of the festival season. With unexpected surprises and an act for every mood, the lineup was undoubtedly one of the summer’s best.

Every bit as lovable as his heart wrenchingly honest ballads, Mac DeMarco provided a feel good, uplifting performance at this years festival. Wearing a Nirvana shirt and his signature gap toothed smile, DeMarco played hit tracks like “Salad Days” and “Chamber of Reflection” in addition to songs off his new album Another One. With interjections of humor between numbers, Mac Demarco and his band kept the crowd swaying and the atmosphere light, as the cloudless afternoon meshed with delicately constructed, folksy pop melodies proving sometimes simplicity is key. A desirable reprieve from the electronic heavy festival, Demarco set a relaxed environment that had all the comfort of sipping a cold beer on a hot summer day. With a fragile combination of vulnerable lyrics kissed by hints of 80’s influences that twirled and drifted with toasted vocals,  Mac Demarco brought a hint of sweetness to the energetic LA crowd as he crooned his way through a memorable set. Mellow and unintrusive, Demarco provided a breath of fresh air that set the mood for the rest of the afternoon.

Melody’s Echo Chamber: Rocking a white dress with a pair of John Lennon glasses, Melody Prochet cultivated a retro psychedelic wonderland, as her airy vocals fell in colorful droplets over a fuzzy synth and spiraling guitar melodies that twinkled and shimmered in translucent soundwaves. Highlights included “Bisou Magique”, “Crystallized” and an alternative version of “Mount Hopeless” that burst in funk rhythms curled up in mesmerizing, blurry beats. Performing towards the early evening, Prochet’s sound flickered through the hazy oncoming sunset, creating a dreamy atmosphere even with minor technical issues. Drawn out guitar solos fell against pulsed percussion providing a trippy buzz that continued to hum until heavier acts took the stage.

The Jesus & Mary Chain: Providing the punk, shoegaze edge that was much needed, The J & MC cruised through their album Psychocandy rounding out Saturday evening as the show was every bit as bangy, hard, and loud as the leather clad, “other side of the Los Angeles hipster scene” wanted it to be. With Jim Reid floating in and out of an array of brightly colored lights, the timeless early 80’s band took no prisoners as they started with “Just Like Honey” and then descended to dancier, beer soaked tracks giving the more rock inclined crowd a spectacular performance. Keeping introductions minimal, The Jesus and Mary Chain lit up the sky with punchy melodic fireworks in songs like “Cut Dead” that set over the crowd in a cosmic glow matching the tree engulfed venue. Rowdy tracks like “You Trip Me Up” cemented J & MC as a timeless staple, giving younger acts a run for their money.

Belle and Sebastian: Belle & Sebastian brought their latest dream pop release to life, with wild splashes of synth and staccato tinged guitar in catchy tracks like “The Party Line” and “I’m a Cuckoo” making their performance one of the best in the festival. Known for their heavily melodic lines that are interspersed with cheeky lyrical structures and dulled, soft drums, Belle and Sebastian provided a hip shaking rendezvous with a youthful veneer. Striped shirt wearing Stuart Murdoch caressed the crowd’s ears along with his band, playing off the cavalier, end of the festival cheer that was kept alive with “The Stars of Track and Field” and “The Boy with the Arab Strap.”

Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Ruban Neilson brought the heat, playing off his new album Multi-Love which was the perfect afternoon treat for the relaxed Sunday afternoon crowd. Performing on the Lawn Stage and rocking a pair of kooky white sunglasses, Unknown Mortal Orchestra played their sugary new favorites “Unnecessary Evil” and “I Can’t Keep Checking My Phone” which were some of the best in their set. It wouldn’t be a UMO show without “So Good at Being in Trouble” which was played in the middle of the show, and met with vigorous excitement from the hawaiian shirt and crop top donning millennials.With Neilson swaying on stage and tearing up the guitar with mixed tempos and indulgent harmonic tonalities, UMO’s organic musicality kept things vibrant as the tanned, summery city girls couldn’t stop moving until Neilson and his band left the stage.

Bonobo: Playing his half hour set in the Arena nestled against green and pink flashing twinkling lights, Simon Green or more well known as his moniker Bonobo, fostered a blissful retreat for listeners as he performed cerebral songs from Black Sands like “Eyesdown” and “Kiara” matching the jungle like ambience that made for a peaceful haven in the slightly underground venue. A last minute addition to the lineup, Green made his deceptively effortless sounds come to life with the classical twang he is known for. Tracks like “Emkay” gave a layer of sophistication to the short, but welcome show. Departing from the usual EDM fare, Bonobo’s use of world music styles masked in soulfully structured measures continue to put him a tier above the rest.

Run The Jewels: With an unmatched stage presence, Run The Jewels came in as the underdog and came out on top. On the main stage and cracking jokes with the audience, Run The Jewels was a force to be reckoned with as they laid down their politically charged lyrics on top of heavy percussion with drummer Travis Barker making a guest appearance. Going between their first two albums, the duo had everyone singing along to “Lie, Cheat, Steal” and their namesake track “Run The Jewels.” Without any pretentious facades, Run The Jewels’ humorous comments and friendly interaction with the crowd throughout the performance countered their emotionally charged songs that shed light on heavier issues. With an old school style and a sociable disposition, Run The Jewels is making strides in the industry without inflated egos.

Kanye West: As Frank Ocean’s replacement, Kanye West didn’t disappoint. With one of the largest crowds over the two days and as one of the most anticipated acts, it was every bit as over the top and loud as you would want West to be. Starting with “Stronger” and  his best being classic “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”, Saturday evening of FYF became Kanye West’s playground, even having Rihanna make an appearance. Not performing too many unusual antics, West gave everything Los Angeles wanted and more.

Morrissey: Another coveted performance, Morrissey gave the hipsters of LA a taste of the sweeping, swoon worthy numbers that had couples romantically dancing and basking in the honey whiskey voice of The Smiths’ frontman. Perhaps the most interesting part of the performance was when he asked the crowd to not vote for Donald Trump, making this FYF fest more political than those in the past. One of the biggest names to play, Morrissey’s musically sporadic performance provided an apt closing act with prominent songs like “Suedehead” and The Smiths classic “Meat Is Murder” being some of the most memorable from the set. Like The Jesus and Mary Chain, Morrissey was the antidote to those seeking something a little different and was a welcome conclusion to the festivities.

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