6 Things We Learned From FYF Festival
FYF Festival Expands to Three Days, Each Filled With Surprises
What started in 2004 as a small, homegrown festival has become a culturally significant event for Southern Californians. FYF is not on the level of Coachella yet, but it will be one day. It just keeps on getting bigger and better each year. As expected, this year had no shortage memorable moments. What follows are some of my key takeaways from FYF Festival 2017.
Every Musician Should Do a 3-D Set From Now On
When my FYF tickets arrived in the mail, I noticed a little something extra in the envelope—a conspicuous pair of yellow- and black-striped 3-D glasses, provided by none other than Flying Lotus. I knew right then and there that shit was about to get real. Well, it was about to get hyperreal.
Dressed like a wizard who just got high with Willie Nelson, FlyLo greeted a crowd of thousands of fans in 3-D glasses. During the set, it was hard to keep from trying to reach out and grab the 3-D shapes (spaceships, exploding faces) that mutated, twisted and floated above us. Visuals are an important part of an artist’s performance, and FlyLo has officially taken it to the next level. Let’s hope more artists follow in his footsteps and push the envelope.
Missy Elliott Plays First U.S. Show in a Decade
Missy Elliott wants you to know she still has it. It’s been 10 years since she’s performed live in the U.S., and she hasn’t skipped a beat. She kept mentioning that her mic malfunctioned and that she couldn’t hear anything, but to us, Missy sounded pretty damn great. We could have done without her badmouthing artists like Beyoncé … and stopping songs suddenly before starting them up again, but hey, Missy does whatever the fuck Missy wants.
Erykah Badu Made Music for the 90s Babies
Bet you didn’t know that Erykah Badu has been waiting for you to grow up these past 20 years, did ya? The 46-year-old artist said she made her music for our mothers (and for us) as we were “sucking [our] mamma's titties.” Badu also said she’s been waiting for everyone “to grow up, so we could communicate.” But you know what? She was right all along. Our much-anticipated night together was well worth the wait. She sang all her hits from “On and On” and “Window Seat” to a summary of her life story, “Me.” After the set, Badu descended into the crowd to take photos with fans, shake hands and spread the love.
Nine Inch Nails Returns After a Three-Year Hiatus
I’ll be honest with ya, Nine Inch Nails have never been my thing. But they’re a legendary band, yada yada yada. And Trent Reznor did not disappoint fans, many of whom had been waiting three years to see him take the stage again. NIN played hits such as “Closer,” “March of the Pigs,” and “Hurt.” The most personal song, however, was a cover of “I Can’t Give Everything Away” by David Bowie, a tribute to a fallen friend and legendary talent.
A Tribe Called Quest Plays Last LA Show
Things got a little teary when A Tribe Called Quest announced that this FYF performance would be one of their last, launching into a heartfelt Phife Dawg tribute. The screens were covered with his image as we listed to an acapella rap by Phife, who lost his life in March of last year. Tribe might have drawn the biggest crowd of the weekend TBH, and they treated us with an extra-long encore set of “Award Tour,” “Can I Kick it?” and “We the People.”
Frank Ocean Still Kinda Sucks Live
Frank Ocean is one of the most talented young artists out there, someone who doesn’t have to rely on catchy hooks or gimmicks. His music is pure, and he might be a genius. But he’s not a performer. After his lackluster performances at the Grammy’s and Coachella, we should know this by now. To be fair, it has been a few years since he’s done a show, but to have to restart a song because you fucked it up … ain’t no body got time for dat. Perhaps the most noteworthy part of Ocean’s set was when Brad Pitt suddenly put on a performance of his own, pretending to listen to a phone call on the big screen as Frank Ocean covered “Never Can Say Goodbye.” Yeah. It was as bizarre as it sounds.
Other performances of the three-day event included Björk, Anderson .Paak, Buit to Spill, Blonde Redhead, Iggy Pop, King Krule, Little Dragon, MGMT, Run the Jewels, Solange, Thundercat and Ty Segall. Watch some of these performances and more by checking out my FYF YouTube playlist.
👆👆👆👆 And, just for fun, here's a video of me and my friends trying to help Mac DeMarco crowd surf his way across the FYF Festival grounds. You're welcome.