This year, I was able to relax a bit on Friday as I was with out photo pit access. Once all that was remedied, it was full steam ahead. I had plenty of fun chasing the sound. We’ll start with a Top 5 bands and then hit on festival observations.
1) Trust – This one is number one for me. It was the perfect storm of low expectations, catching me at a good moment, a solid group of photogs in the pit and a great crowd at the rail. To say that Trust is in the wheelhouse of my electro tastes is an understatement. There is just enough retro with plenty of current trending. Loved this.
2) De La Soul – I got called out. It wasn’t me. Midway through the second of the three songs the photographers can be in the photo pit, De La stopped everything, told us that the show would not go on unless the photographers danced. And so we danced. Except for the guy next to me. Of course, I get singled out when they stopped things again. Later, Pos took time to shake my hand; he knew it was the curly-haired kid next to me. Heh.
3) A Place to Bury Strangers – Hot mess isn’t enough. It is insanity on stage. Part of playing their instruments includes throwing their instruments. At one point, a guitar appeared to be headed right for my head, but the cord stopped progress and it harmlessly bashed a monitor. They should be sponsored by a wood glue company.
4) Gold Fields – This was another surprise set for me. I was just meandering by and camped out when they played the super catchy song “Dark Again”. Aussie Friendly Fires, catchy stuff. Not sure I will stick with them much past that moment, but they sounded great and had fun.
5) Helio Sequence – Ack. Maybe this should be higher on the list. Massive talent on drums, great vocal. Engaging for a two-piece that relies on backing tracks. The opened with new stuff and backwards and forwards and solid festival set. I met them a few years back during SxSW, not a post set chat or in passing hello, we were sitting in the backyard of a studio on the east side one-upping and telling a few lies. Good people, I will always root for them.
Honorable Mentions: Flesh Lights, Ume, Cult of Youth and Penguin Prison. Omar’s new project is a departure.
Suggestions for a Better Fest
1) Go Green – A friend of mine had a great observation. FFF, don’t be too proud to take a good idea from ACL. Crowd-source the recycling effort. ACL was cleaner and greener for it since they started that program.
2) Loosen Up – …on the free water thing. Not letting people bring in empty Camelbak bladders seemed pretty silly to me. Making them throw the $35 bladder away seemed sillier.
3) Invest in the Shores – If you plan to stay here a while, please work with the city to get the grass rooted and green. The dust at the Black stage was choking out canaries.
4) Pepper It In – Give a local or two per day a middle spot. I would have loved to have seen Flesh Lights pwn a crowd on Black around 6pm.
Things I’ll Mis Until Next Year
1) My People – Festival season is over and we all won’t be in the same place until SxSW, and we’ll be far more diluted. Sad face.
2) Themed Stages – True strong suit of FFF, of you are in the mood to mosh, you know where to go.
3) Malick Mania – The cast members eating popsicles, the Red pics hanging from steadi-cams, the drool from starlets digging the same band you dig.
Here is a little slice of Gold Fields and some best of pics.
Download:Gold Fields – Dark Again (bandcamp) [MP3]
Big best of FFF7 gallery at the photo site…