PHOTOGRAPHY AND WORDS BY RAYNEUTRON
Attending a Southern California music festival is a type of rite of passage for 20 something’s it seems.
There are several to choose from and having lived here for nearly two years while approaching 30, I’ve missed them all—only to see my Instagram feed chock full of all-access wristband shots and group selfies with Skrillex on stage in the near distance. FYF Fest 2015 was my crossing of the coals into being that annoying person you know on social media, fan-girling over their favorite performers.
In short, Tennis sounds like a dream. Toro y Moi sounds exactly like the record. Chet Faker is the funkiest white dude from Down Under. Run The Jewels will make you fight somebody’s mother. FKA Twigs is an artist in the strongest sense of the word. D’Angelo and The Vanguard was the best thing to happen to this festival. Solange is, well, Solange is everything.
Not to beat a dead music news horse, but as you’ve read by now, Frank Ocean pulled out of FYF less than 72 hrs before he was set to headline. Kanye West stepped in to fill the headline position for day one of the festival. Mr. West’s appeal and fan base has grown tremendously since I last saw him as a young teenager. The tickets were $5 and he performed in a yellow Polo and a Louis Vuitton book bag fastened to his back. It’s been a minute.
But back to this fan base. I could tell many of them were only casual fans until Yeezus. This was evident when they moshed during the trap influenced “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”. Unwelcome elbows were pressed against my body as I fought to merely stand upright and bob my head—you know, how hip-hoppers do? Midway through the set, I forfeited my great seat for a more comfortable view of Ye. Noticing he had only 10 minutes in his set, he announces he’ll give us one hit per minute. And that’s exactly what he did. The Kanye West catalogue became a live iTunes sampler without the data charges, much to the audience’s delight. But something eerie and beautiful happened. Suddenly Nina Simone’s sampled voice echoes throughout the USC campus, “Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, strange fruit hanging from the Poplar trees, blood on the leaves”. Meanwhile, Kanye has taken a step back and leaned his head to the side as if he were hanged.
Mr. West has left the building.
I crossed the coals, flooded Instagram feeds and my feet are fine. I’m a cool kid now.
Check out the photos of FYF Fest below! (shot on the Canon AE-1 and the Canon Sure Shot WP-1 with Ultramax-400)