Fun Fun Fun Fest Day Three Recap with Angel Olsen, Yo La Tengo, and Flying Lotus

FFF 2014; photo by Bryan Parker

FFF 2014; photo by Bryan Parker

The third day of of Fun Fun Fun Fest dawned cool and bright and just about perfect. Saturday had closed out magnificently and the lineup for the final day would yield some of indie rock’s most celebrated bands. Pop Press International correspondent Lukas Truckenbrod handled most of the coverage for the final day of FunFunFun Fest 2014. Contributions by Bryan Parker are noted where applicable.

This Will Destroy You; photo by Bryan Parker

This Will Destroy You; photo by Bryan Parker

This Will Destroy You attempt to do so by building song structures as sprawling and epic as they are emotive. Soaring guitars unfold over rolling synths and big, slow drums that rely heavily on crashing cymbals. Although the group might seem a strange fit for an early afternoon show, it worked well–a relaxing entrée into the day, like easing oneself into cool, fall water in a natural spring. –BCP

The Internet; photo by Bryan Parker

The Internet; photo by Bryan Parker

Rapper and singer The Internet is something of a strange fit in the Odd Future collective, but I’ll be damned if Syd the Kyd doesn’t know exactly what she’s doing when she croons R&B lines occasionally punctuated with harder hitting, rapid-fire lyrics. Though the crowd was meager, Syd managed to get their hands in the air and served well to wake up the undoubtedly festival-weary bunch of early risers on the fest’s third day. –BCP

Gardens and Villa; photo by Bryan Parker

Gardens and Villa; photo by Bryan Parker

When a wooden flute is the center-piece of your band, you know that you’re at least going to have an edge that no one else does. You’d think that making it work would be a different story, but Gardens and Villa handle the flute with poise and get the crowd grooving. The band’s tunes toe the line between feeling slightly tongue-in-cheek and utterly entrancing. Just when you think you might laugh at the silliness of the mellow grooves, you find yourself dancing along and realize you’re smitten by the sounds. These relaxed jams did a great job of defining the laid-back vibe of the early part of the day. –BCP

angel olsen_parish-1

Angel Olsen; photo by Lukas Truckenbrod

We saw Angel Olsen the previous night at a FFF Nites show at the Parish with local favorite Jess Williamson complimenting the female singer-songwriter pairing. Now dressed in all black with large red-framed sunglasses hiding most of her face, she and her band recreated their gorgeous set. Delicate and ethereal, Olsen glided over the audience, cooling our faces from the bright sun with a slick demeanor and cooler than cool attitude. “I’m going to take a sip from my beer. What are you guys gonna do?” She barely flashes a smile as she turns to tune her guitar. Influenced by Eastern music modes and emotionally vibrant lyrics she couples with bold confidence, her presence is strong.

foxygen-6

Foxygen; photo by Lukas Truckenbrod

Foxygen set up the Orange Stage following Angel Olsen with lead singer Sam France nowhere in sight. It wasn’t until the first notes were played that France galloped to the front of the stage donning a blazer over his bare white chest, smiling and waving jubilantly at the crowd. His fading dyed hair danced above his head as France bent backwards, looking at the audience upside down. He clambered over monitors and plopped down on his butt at the foot of the stage, making faces and spitting water at the photographers as they try to get the best shot of his antics. Fortunately for them, he offered many opportunities. The music was loud and relentless at times with the extended versions of their new material. They opened with “How Can You Really” and later got to a rare mellow moment with “Coulda Been My Love.”

Dum Dum Girls; Photo by Madeline Harvey

Dum Dum Girls; Photo by Madeline Harvey

After they carried Sam France off the stage strapped to a gurney and tied in a straitjacket, the crew cleared the gear and readied for L.A. dream-gaze group Dum Dum Girls. The all-female group continued the diversity trend Fun Fun Fun Fest has found massive success with. The Dum Dum Girls were heavier today than sets past, claimed a fellow audience member. Taking influence anywhere from 80s goth wave to 90s Brit-pop, the band has a sound that dwells on textural complexities and killer harmonies that sweeten the smoky haze.

Yo La Tengo; photo by Madeline Harvey

Yo La Tengo; Photo by Madeline Harvey

I’ve never seen Yo La Tengo before Sunday. Why? Who the hell knows. They slayed me. Absolutely did they knock me down and drag me around before kicking my ass and sending me packing. Jesus. The abuse Ira Kaplan inflicted on his Strat and Jazzmaster was bloody. During an incredible rendition of “Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind,” bassist James McNew and drummer Georgia Hubley persisted with a wall of rhythm while Kaplan riffed heavily and created a swirl of feedback, detuning his Strat to unrecognizable pitches only to unplug it, plug in the Jazzmaster, and do the same thing all over again: “Well it’s slide slide slide/Down the water slide.”

Flying Lotus aka Steven Ellison was on at the Blue Stage after Yo La Tengo finished proving any disbelievers wrong at the Orange Stage. Mr. Lotus, the nephew of late jazz pianist Alice Coltrane (and widow of John Coltrane), lit up the stage with trippy visuals while his large illuminated eyes bobbed to the beat in the middle of the screen projected behind him. I enjoyed the inclusion of Flying Lotus into the performance rather than your standard DJ fare where kind-of-moving to the rhythm with a hand on one ear and pushing buttons is the main action. With fans including Thom Yorke and Erykah Badu, Ellison broke into Billboard’s Top 20 with his most recent release, 2014’s You’re Dead.

Peruse our photo gallery from the final day below. Click any image to open set in slideshow viewer.

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