FYF Fest delivers emphatic sets

After its eighth year, FYF Fest proved itself as one of the season’s biggest and most impressive music festivals.

This year, FYF grew in size and resources so it offered more helpful amenities — like food trucks, water fountains and staff — and featured a lineup that is thought to be one of the festival’s best to date.

FYF Fest has previously featured up-and-coming and under-the-radar bands like Panda Bear and Best Coast. But this year the festival took quite a turn in putting alternative rock superstars Cold War Kids, Broken Social Scene, Explosions in the Sky and Guided by Voice in the lineup. And the abundance of resources offered to help with the expected throngs of people meant less time standing in line for tickets and more time frolicking in the beer gardens and listening to some good music.

Here are a few highlights from the 12-hour festival:


Under the shade of a tent in the “Splinter’s Den,” Chromatics created a magical ambience with blasé riffs and airy vocals. For a band made up of only three members playing chilled-out tracks, its songs were catchy enough to draw in a surprisingly large crowd.

Cold War Kids

Cold War Kids hit the stage running, serving up energetic beats and powerful vocals. Have you ever been to a concert where the songs sound disappointingly different than they did on the album? This wasn’t the case with Cold War Kids. If anything, their onstage sound was even more vibrant than it has been on their albums.

They played hits such as “Saint John” from their breakout album “Robbers & Cowards,” and newer songs from their most recent album “Mine Is Yours,” giving each song an equal amount of strength and precision.

No Age

No Age was quite a detour after seeing Cold War Kids. Though its sound was a little mushier than Cold War Kids — probably because of the stage and acoustics — its punk rock energy was a reminder of the festival’s origins. Though there wasn’t too much strange, out-of-control festival behavior at FYF, during No Age’s set two teenagers drew attention when they tied themselves together with Saran wrap. But for the most part, the crowd was calm and perhaps even a little unenthusiastic, while watching members of the lively No Age rock their hearts out.

Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene made for a beautiful 7 p.m. slot. With its poppy sound and magical instrumentals, the band made for a captivating performance as it played hits like “7/4 (Shoreline)” and other nostalgically upbeat tracks. Because the main stage was conveniently located next to the beer garden, listeners could grab hot dogs and drinks while still watching the band play its dreamy vocals and pretty trumpet solos.

Guided by Voices

It was dark by the time Guided by Voices came on, and in true rock star fashion, each member had a cigarette dangling from his mouth as the band emphatically hit the stage with a vibrant sound that was viciously energetic and tightly rehearsed. The band’s ability to rock hard without sounding muddled or messy was reiterated by Robert Pollard, who introduced the band as a “professional traveling rock ‘n’ roll band.” Because Guided by Voices has so many one- and two-minute songs, the band was able to play several tracks like “Bee Thousand” and “Alien Lanes.” Among the most entertaining songs were the dark, bluesy “Hot Freaks,” the catchy “Game of Pricks” and the famous, lo-fi hit “I Am a Scientist.”


The late-night hours were filled with high-energy bands that ranged from punk rockers Descendants to smooth dance jammers Simian Mobile Disco. Death From Above 1979, who went on hiatus in 2006, played the late-night 11 p.m. slot; and though it is five years later, the band still retains the dark dance feel that made it so popular around 2005.