Any music festival that is dubbed “Fuck Yeah Fest” and seamlessly combines hip-hop, electronic dance and mellow indie-rock artists gets my vote for top summer festivals this year. The brain child of Sean Carlson, who was 18 at the time when he came up with the genius idea with friends, is now in its 12th year and is arguably SoCal’s most authentic and heterogenous festivals, if not in the whole country.
Headliners Morrisey and Kanye West (who uh, mysteriously filled in for Frank Ocean who “canceled on his own terms”) speak to the diversity of the festival this year, and other notable acts like Bloc Party (yes, their first confirmed show in over two years), Belle and Sebastian and the always soulful Aussie Chet Faker round out a seriously decent lineup. But besides the recognizable superstars, FYF’s history of grabbing lesser-known, diverse L.A. acts and international power players is what makes it the ultimate two-day festival for serious music lovers. Plus, it’s not in a dusty ass desert filled with girls wearing flower crowns, guys.
Both days of the festival are super solid, but here’s my pick for 8 artists you should consider keeping on your radar if you’re heading to the Sports Arena this weekend.
Go. See. Goldroom. Do it for me because I can’t. L.A. based producer Josh Legg is a pure genius when it comes to creating melodic electro-pop bangers that will get any crowd dancing. On the heels of releasing his new EP “It’s Like You Never Went Away,” he’ll be performing around sunset Saturday night, and expect to hear tracks like “Fifteen” and “Embrace.” Even if you’re not into anything remotely close to electronic music, Goldroom is a happy medium of mellow-ish lyrics with upbeat dance tracks that’s hard to ignore.
THE JESUS AND THE MARY CHAIN
Remember these guys from the ‘80s and '90s? It’s okay if you don’t, but they are back and still pretty damn cool. After splitting up in 1999 only to reunite in 2007, the Scottish band is known for their power punk albums from back in the day. Jim and William Reid make up The Jesus and Mary Chain, and you’ll need a good dose of rock music after being hammered by the wave of electronic and electro-pop music that now takes up most festival lineups.
So this spot was originally where I talked about seeing Frank Ocean * RIP * but he canceled, so now I’m going to talk about why you should see Kanye West who is now headlining. I don’t really need to say too much though — he’s just one of those artists you need to see a live performance from once in your life.
Here’s hoping Frank Ocean canceled FYF Fest, because he’s actually going to finish his album. #PrankOcean— Patrick K (@DaftPatrick28) August 20, 2015
RUN THE JEWELS
A little bit of the Brooklyn and Atlanta rap scene comes to DTLA with Killer Mike and El-P of Run The Jewels, and it’s a set you should consider attending at FYF. This the second year in a row they are playing FYF, so they are clearly doing something right. The two have both achieved moderate success as solo acts, but together they have created a unique sound that solidifies them as true hip-hop veterans.
Kevin Morby has transformed as a solo artist with albums that straddle the border between folk and mellow rock. The former Woods bassist and Babies co-founder is playing Saturday at 2:35, so it’s the perfect mid-day set to attend before heading into the rest of the day.
Sydney-based Harley Streten, a.k.a Flume, brings the Aussie electronic scene across the pond to FYF for his second time in three years. DJ, producer and music instrumentalist, Streten kinda does it all. It’s no secret how strong Australian DJs and producers have been over the past couple years, so catch him and see for yourself why.
Get a little weird on Sunday with British singer, songwriter and producer FKA Twigs who might be one of the most exciting acts at FYF this year. Not only is she pushing the boundaries of what being a female pop star means in 2015, her sets are out sort of out of this world. Her brand new record “M3LL155X” just dropped, so expect to hear a lot from that record. Plus, her silky vocals are a dream to listen to live.
D'ANGELO AND THE VANGUARD
There’s no stronger case for regarding FYF as a “mixtape” festival than with D'Angelo and the Vanguard. In what world can you listen to Morrisey, Chet Faker and D'Angelo all in the same weekend? The R&B icon takes the stage Sunday, and after 10 years and only a few albums put out, they’ll have a pretty damn good show. This is also one of those shows you should probably light up to.
Here’s the complete lineup of FYF, and yes, official set times have been announced. Have fun kids.
Nicole Theodore is an editorial assistant at Playboy. Follow her on Twitter.