FYF Fest in Los Angeles is a haven for fans of indie music. This year's iteration took place on August 24th & 25th at the Los Angeles Sports Arena & Exposition Park. Even though the headliners for the 2014 festival were big names, they still appealed to indie and alt-rock fans everywhere. Interpol, Phoenix, The Strokes, and Haim were some of the bigger names booked this year. That indie ethos carried over to the electronic music acts FYF Fest booked. This year, Darkside, Todd Terje, Ryan Hemsworth, Jamie xx, Flying Lotus, DJ Harvey, John Talabot, Les Sins, and Chet Faker played at FYF Fest. This electronic artist lineup is something you'd never see at a typical EDM festival, and it was glorious.
Aside from The Strokes and Interpol, the two standout sets of the weekend were Ryan Hemsworth and Darkside. Obviously, their music falls on completely opposite ends of the spectrum, and it provided me with great variety on the second day of FYF.
Hemsworth spun a set that was full of hip hop, R&B, and future bass music. One highlight was when he dropped a remix of iLoveMakonnen's "Tuesday." The catchy song enticed the whole crowd to sing along and helped increase the energy level. However, the best part of his set was when he dropped a sample of the "Jigglypuff" song from Pokemon. When he played it, a wave of nostalgia washed over me, and I was taken back to my childhood. I never thought I would hear a Pokemon song being played by a DJ at a massive music festival. Hemsworth is able to seamlessly mix songs from different genres, which is the mark of a talented DJ. He clearly wants to have as much fun as possible while on stage, and his fans are right there with him.
Darkside absolutely blew my mind. Their performance at FYF was one of my favorite sets ever. I had yet to see Darkside live prior to FYF, and shortly before the festival, Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington were taking a break from their Darkside project. This made watching Darkside a necessity. I was not disappointed. From start to finish, I was enthralled by their set. They had everyone's attention with their experimental brand of electronic music. I've heard many people refer to Darkside as the present day electronic version of Pink Floyd, and I'm inclined to agree. Jaar and Harrington are doing things that simply aren't being done in electronic music. There are other acts who try to integrate guitars and other live instruments into their music, but they aren't doing it nearly at the level of Jaar and Harrington.
Darkside's set felt like a story. It had a beginning, a climax, and a conclusion. At the end of their set, they broke a mirror on stage. After walking off stage, everyone stood there in awe of what we all witnessed. The broken mirror signified finality for the crowd on two levels. Not only was it the end of their set, but it could possibly have been the last time we see them perform live in Los Angeles. Jaar and Harrington are only supposed to be taking a break, but who knows where their careers could take them?
Jamie xx, Flying Lotus, and many of the other DJs had awesome sets as well. FYF did an amazing job of putting together a talented electronic music lineup that would still appeal to the indie music fans out there. I can't wait for next year.
Cover photo credit: Autumn Andel
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