Now in its twelfth year, FYF Fest has become a staple in the Los Angeles music festival circuit. Weekend headliners Tame Impala, Kendrick Lamar, Grace Jones and LCD Soundsystem delivered mesmerizing shows that shook Exposition Park to its foundations.
The two-day festival hosted varied musicians. Artists DIIV, Tame Impala, Mac DeMarco and Blood Orange swept the weekend into a whirlwind of indie vibes and good times with their mellowed soundtracks. Grimes provided a noisy thrill for quirky electronic fans and Young Thug, Vince Staples, Denzel Curry and Kendrick Lamar had the rap game down on lock. Several surprise guest performances, including celebrity cameos by Carly Rae Jepsen, Nelly Furtado and Gucci Mane, added to the electrifying lineup.
Vince Staples commanded the Main Stage at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday as he rallied an enthusiastic audience. Opening with “Lift Me Up,” Staples teased the crowd with many of the hard-hitting, bass-heavy tracks off his 2014 EP “Hell Can Wait” and 2015 album “Summertime ’06.”
Staples launched into a raucous set with songs like “Señorita” and “Norf Norf,” while also introducing the newest singles off of his 2016 EP “Prima Donna,” including “War Ready,” a barrage of drums, chanting and an aggravating beat, which worked well with Staples’ energy. His activity across the stage and aggressive presence kept the crowd in a constant state of motion, as is expected of a Vince Staples show.
Canadian pop star Grimes danced onto the Saturday Main Stage at dusk. The throbbing bass of the experimental pop music held energy high as Grimes and her dancers kept busy on stage. Grimes’ sassy and playful performance was intermixed with the eclectic sampling of her songs, including “World Princess Pt. II,” “Scream” with special guest rapper Aristophanes and show closer “Kill V. Maim.”
Swirling vortices of color beamed in hypnotic geometric shapes as the opening synth to “Let It Happen” rang out by Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala. Despite the lengthy times of each song during the hour-long performance, Tame Impala flawlessly shuffled between singles off the band’s latest album “Currents” and songs off of their 2012 LP “Lonerism.”
Kevin Parker’s signature vocals rang true on “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” as he led the rest of the band on a kaleidoscopic musical voyage.
Rapper Kendrick Lamar closed out Saturday night with a stunning showcase of music, pyrotechnics and vigor. Lamar opened the show with an aggressive rendition of “Backseat Freestyle” as black and white images of Prince, Tupac and a series of other African-American celebrities silhouetted Lamar.
“This will be the livest show of the night,” Lamar said.
A live band accompanied Lamar’s vocals and he traversed through several of his albums. Fans rapped along to hits “Collard Greens,” “These Walls” and “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe.”
Lamar ended the night with “m.A.A.d city” – the audience pulsated and pushed to the fast-paced beat, and he closed the set with bursts of flames from either side of the stage.
Blood Orange took the Main Stage at 5 p.m. and gave the growing crowd an evening set of groovy tunes. Vocalist Dev Hynes’ silken voice wafted out into the audience, sending his electronic new wave vibes through the speakers. Hynes danced across the stage and invited Nelly Furtdao, Carly Rae Jepsen and Sky Ferreira onstage for duets “Better Than Me” and “You’re Not Good Enough.” Ferreira read from a lyric sheet as she attempted to perform “You’re Not Good Enough,” voicing a raspy, unfocused tune against the trilling synth.
Mac DeMarco’s jangle-pop sound rang out over the Trees Stage during his fourth consecutive year at FYF as a sprawling crowd bobbed to the beat of “Let Her Go.”
DeMarco performed several of his more popular songs, including “Chamber of Reflections,” “Salad Days” and “Freaking Out the Neighborhood.” He and the band sped up the tempo of several tracks to create a more danceable vibe from the easy-going ambiance of the 2015 album “Another One.” The twang of DeMarco’s signature jangling, psychedelic guitar guided the crowd through the hour-long set. The audience sang along to “Ode to Viceroy” as DeMarco crooned about cigarettes, and a sprinkling of cigarettes lit up in the crowd in response.
Young Thug’s Young Stoner Life crew captivated the Lawn Stage Sunday night, hyping up the crowd and firing off tracks such as Future’s “F*ck Up Some Commas” and Lil Uzi Vert’s “All My Chains.” The DJ finally announced Young Thug as chants of “Jeffery” roared from the audience.
Young Thug sped full-throttle into his playlist. His grandiose persona and eccentric delivery spat through “Check,” “Hercules” and “Memo.” While he attempted to engage the audience, it seemed most people in the crowd were only familiar with his more recent work on “Slime Season 3,” which dampened the interactions. But he remained unfazed and kept energy high as he performed his more popular hits “Stoner” and “Lifestyle.” He brought out guest rapper Gucci Mane, and the two riffed off each other’s momentum, fazing out the night with heavy trap music and energy.