FYF Fest: The Strokes

One of the most anticipated performances of FYF since their name was announced on the lineup was The Strokes. Only recently have they started playing shows again ending a three-year tour break and after being fashionably late, they started pumping out the tunes. The 17-song-set had something for every fan, with hits spanning across all five albums and stage presence reminiscent of their past performances with leather jackets and messy hair. While most seasoned artists grow tired of playing their hits, The Strokes fed into the fans’ requests for the classics and didn’t disappoint. 

Photos: Amanda Rae Stephens

FYF Fest: Haim

The only female-fronted band to take on (and ultimately shred) the FYF Main Stage was Haim, finally finishing up their tour circuit for their debut album Days Are Gone with this performance. While many in the crowd were trying to squeeze in and get a spot for The Strokes performance right after, it’s safe to say they were visibly impressed and enjoying the unique and fearless sisters taking time out for drum solos, jam sessions, and asking everyone in the crowd to “shake their asses and grind” to their new single “My Song 5.” As always, they did their hometown proud and definitely gained new fans in the process. 

Photos: Nikki Scoggins & Amanda Rae Stephens

FYF Fest: Benjamin Booker

We had quite a few Vans House Party Alums at FYF this year and one we were particularly proud of was Benjamin Booker. Shading the early afternoon sun with a pair of Ray Bans, he introduced the crowd to his just-released, self-titled debut album that’s already getting buzz from NPR and Rolling Stone. Booker’s music is the raw, edgy rock we’ve been yearning for which also ends up being oh-so easy to shimmy to. You couldn’t stop toe-tapping or head-bobbing the whole time he was on stage. 

Photos: Amanda Rae Stephens

FYF Fest: Earl Sweatshirt

Leave it to Earl Sweatshirt to pull a fast one on us and start off his FYF set on Sunday with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” inciting giggles and cheers from the audience. Although the young rap star just announced his break from non-stop touring since the release of his album Doris, he gave his all for his last performance at FYF and managed to put some smiles on the crowd after the day drama of long lines and way-too-hot temperatures. 

Photos: Amanda Rae Stephens 

FYF Fest: Ty Segall 

Ty Segall and crew “were Manipulator,” playing a full set of songs off Segall’s upcoming album Manipulator for FYF on Saturday. There was no time for talking as the grunge rocker zipped through the tracklist and caused everyone to move, shake, and mosh around “The Trees” stage. There’s been a lot of buzz about the new album since its announcement and he’s been tearing it up on Late Night television already, so it was no surprise that he gave a performance just as strong for FYF saturday night.  

Photos: Amanda Rae Stephens 

FYF Fest: Mac Demarco 

When Mac Demarco wasn’t casually strolling around the FYF venue or causing a huge line to snake around his Origami Vinyl meet and greet, he was inadvertently charming the pants off concert-goers who came to see his Sunday afternoon set. Donning his signature backwards-flipped hat and a Simpsons tee, he played songs off his new album Salad Days while providing some banter with bandmates in between tracks, making it hard not to love the down-to-earth Canadian rocker.  

Photo: Amanda Rae Stephens

FYF Fest: Kelela

The LA electronic-R&B singer Kelela filled the Arena on Sunday for the second day of FYF with songs off her mixtape Cut 4 Me. Overwhelmed with the great reception from the audience, she stopped to reveal how much love she had for everyone and how far she’s come since working at a call center in the valley two years ago. Kelela had no problem getting into the zone with on-point vocals and danced all around the stage much like everyone in the crowd after she began her set. 

Photos: Amanda Rae Stephens 

FYF Fest: Grimes

Packing the Lawn stage for the first night of FYF was electronic princess Grimes. When dancers weren’t popping out from the sides of the stage, the one-woman show was spectacularly entrancing and fairy-like, with choreography accompanying every turn she made. It was safe to say that the Canadian producer had tons of fans out here on the West Coast and it was hard not to get elbowed in the ribs or inhale tons of smoke from everyone trying to get a look at the show. But it was well worth it when she played hits like “Genesis,” “Oblivion” and new single “Go” accompanied by collaborator Blood Diamonds, making the whole crowd go crazy for the full-on dance party. 

Photos: Amanda Rae Stephens

FYF Fest: Thundercat

Thundercat brought back the definition of jam band to FYF this weekend. Frontman Stephen Bruner absolutely shredded his 6-string bass to bits during the often 7-minute-plus long songs while his bandmates kept the tempo jazzy and upbeat. It was hard to find a person in the audience not bobbing up and down or secretly wanting to steal the fox pelt on top of Bruner’s head. 

Photos: Nikki Scoggins

FYF Fest: Blood Orange

With a huge crew of musicians and dancers in tow, Dev Hynes of Blood Orange led the performance with finesse, bringing a polished funky sound everyone could get down to in between all the indie rock and electronic acts of the night. During hits like “You’re Not Good Enough” off of his 2013 release Cupid Deluxe, girlfriend Samantha Urbani would come out to amp up the vocals (and the cuteness). The hard-to-duplicate chemistry Hynes had with his whole team on stage ended up creating a enticing and cohesive performance at FYF on Sunday night. 

Photos: Nikki Scoggins

When there was downtime between FYF Fest’s many musical acts, there was still fun to be had taking photos in front of the art installations, grabbing a bite to eat or some dessert to munch on, and deciding what merch to buy from all the pop up shops around Exposition Park. 

Photos: Amanda Rae Stephens