What began as a parking lot show thrown by a DIY kid named Sean Carlson is now LA's premier music festival, right up there with Coachella as one of California's greatest contributions to the fest-space. (Which sense: Both fests are now owned by Goldenvoice.) FYF Fest takes over Exhibition Park for three days starting today, and for the first year ever, it has a livestream!
So for those of you who have tickets, I'll see you there. And for those of you who don't, you should really consider streaming at this Twitter link.
Because not only is this year's FYF packing an absolutely stacked lineup of legendary headliners like Björk, Missy Elliot, and Nine Inch Nails — and the legendarily reclusive Frank Ocean, who is going to make his first US performance since 2014(!) — but its undercard is also a curatorial delight for those interested in breaking genres and learning something new.
For starters, make sure to see all the headliners each night. Obviously.
On Friday's undercard, begin with BadBadNotGood (7:20PM), the Canadian instrumental outfit whose off-kilter sonics and plucky syncopation have made them a favorite collaborative source for hip hop heavyweights from Kendrick to Ghostface to the Odd Future crew. (Hear their full album IV here.) At 7:50PM, head to the Lawn to catch Angel Olsen, the heavily poetic singer-songwriter with the voice of gold, whose 2017 LP My Woman is one of the year's best. You'd do worse than to catch Florida's prog-inflected music-school wizards Hundred Waters, signees to Skrillex's label OWSLA, at 8:05PM. Then at 8:35, check in with the '90s-tipping rap/R&B stylings of Kamaiyah.
Now, did you watch the Netflix sensation Stranger Things? Did you dig its zonked-out eerie music? Then be sure to check in with Austin's Survive at 10PM, whose use of synths and the '80s are a cinematic-stoner's delight.
Other obvious choices for Friday: the incomparable legend Björk at 8:50PM, Barcelona's best late-night balearic DJ John Talabot at 9:30PM, the song-and-dance-and-plan-and-sing-and-rap man Anderson .Paak at 10:10PM, the incomparable legend Missy Elliot at 11:15PM, the Brainfeeder capo and polyglot genius of Flying Lotus at 12:20AM, and if you are able to clone yourself, maybe consider jumping over to catch some of OVO's sensual R&B duo Majid Jordan at 12:25AM.
On Saturday, my big picks are Mitski at 5:10PM, then Princess Nokia at 5:20PM, then bass-hero/weird-maestro Thundercat at 5:30PM. An hour later it's the return of MGMT (6:30PM), the Wesleyan duo who ruled the world on the back of their 2006 jam "Kids" and who have made fascinating aesthetic choices ever since. Where are they now? This is when we find out. One of the best albums of the year belongs to Mike Hadreas aka Perfume Genius, and he's bringing his florid, hyper-color queer-pop angst to FYF at 7:45PM on Saturday. And then of course, the only place to be is right in front of the legendary A Tribe Called Quest at 8:30PM. Things stay good from there: At 9:05 it is the peerless, classical-inflected producer Arca along with his visual collaborator Jesse Kanda. (Arca has worked with Björk and you can expect his handiwork to be on display during B's set on Friday night, too.) At 9:50PM, saunter over to spend time with the one and only queen Erykah Badu, maybe catch a few minutes of the stoner-metal legends Sleep at 10:35PM, then brace yourself for Frank Ocean's first US performance in three years. When that's over, you can celebrate the fact that Frank actually took an FYF stage (remember when he canceled and Ye saved the day back in '15?) by hitting a set by another FYF legend — the young electronic mastermind Nicolas Jaar, whose 2015 set still gives me shivers.
On Sunday, the rundown goes something like this: Whitney (3:45PM), Joey Purp (5:45PM), Mac Demarco (6:20PM), Little Dragon at 6:25PM, Moses Sumeny at 7PM, Omar-S also at 7PM, the perennially shirtless punk legend Iggy Pop at 7:20PM. Then get your spot for a highly visual-concept performance from Solange at 8:25PM. 6;ACK will be worthwhile at 9:10PM, but only for a few minutes, because you have to get your spot for the kinetic mind-meld taht will be Run The Jewels at 9:35PM. (In 2015 El-P and Killer Mike brought out Rage Against The Machine's Zach De La Rocha and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker. What happens this time?) Make some time for Kehlani at 10:30PM and Canada's TR/ST at 9:40PM, but the big news here is the first American live performance since 2014 of Trent Reznor's god-like Nine Inch Nails. They looked and sounded amazing on Twin Peaks. Bet they'll do it again for LA.
See you out there.