It was after 6pm when I parked at the California Science Center. A brisk walk and 20 minutes later the familiar sonic textures of Swedish band Little Dragon’s “Klapp Klapp” slowly echoed with increased volume down Vermont as I stalked the entrance. The band closed with Only One, a slow burner from their latest album Nabuma Rubberband as I made my way toward the stage dubbed “The Lawn”. Not a second after the final note played, a few thousand people moved away from the stage in unison, creating that well known stampede like festival shuffle. Frogger.
My VIP pass and suave speech didn’t get me backstage as initially hoped. Suddenly, the band’s manager appeared out of nowhere, as if God willed it to be so. Front woman Yukimi Nagano posed for snaps with fans while patiently waiting for security to approve backstage privileges for her mom. Dead ass. Upon seeing the band, hugs and smiles circulated with talk of family and sprouting children, the lost art of making full length albums, and their recent 7 days around the world, including multiple dates in Japan, Australia, and the west coast. They were exhausted but exceedingly gracious, genuinely pleased and looking forward to more. Before being whisked away to eat and rest, Yukimi mentioned how LA’s beloved palm trees make the band feel like they’re on vacation. She then introduced me to her mother, who promptly thanked me for my support. Smile.
Stuck in Blackberry mode with a smartphone in hand, I headed toward the front to grab a program. I heard my name shouted through the crowd and spotted fellow KCRW DJ, Raul Campos. He chuckled and reminded me I could download the handy FYF app. While chasing down the rest of his posse, we attempted to catch the last of Todd Terje’s set with no luck, absorbed the ‘boom bap’ of ElP and Killer Mike’s Run The Jewels collab, toured a couple of beer gardens, and hit a pretzel stand near the main stage as Julian Casablancas & The Voidz broke into to some classic punk bass lines and David Byrne tinged vocal inflections. “Hipsters Don’t Kill” was a friends comment after I mentioned feeling safer than usual at an LA event. All guffawed. We discussed pros and cons, like the opportunity for better organization, more art and whimsy, but mostly expressed sentiments of pride and appreciation being this was the first FYF at the Sports Arena.
We trekked back around, hoping to peep English shoegazers Slowdive. On the way I ended up meeting a cousin I never knew. Long story, small world. My new cuz and I exchanged info before we parted ways. The rest of my time was spent being indecisive about food trucks, soaking up Tycho’s modulated waves of bliss, and enjoying some rare psych rock selections from KCRW’s Travis Holcombe from the main stage. Would I do it again? F Yeah.
Photos by: Eric Reid