When AwkwardSound put together a list of the 10 must-see acts at this past April's Coachella, an unusually lackluster / mainstream lineup made decisions pretty obvious and clear-cut. That honestly cannot be said about this year's FYF Fest, an event that packs one incredible punch of a lineup over the course of just a single day at Los Angeles' State Historic Park on September 3rd. With punk and hardcore excellence as its foundation alongside a smattering of indie pop and rock, the FYF Fest has been growing in quality and getting bigger with each passing year since its inception 8 years ago. The 2011 installment is a testament as to just how far it has come. From seminal acts to BUZZSounds, FYF Fest has it all. Below are a list of a few bands AwkwardSound thinks you shouldn't pass up the opportunity seeing (on some bodacious Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-themed stages!) Regardless of whether you take AS' word for it, you should be guaranteed one very unique experience that no other festival out there this year can match...
(P.S. There's also a surprise set to be announced the day of the FYF Fest.)
Touché Amoré & Title FightWhen: 12:40pm & 2:00pm on Donatello's Stage
Two bands that go hand-in-hand that you may recognize from early BUZZSound posts, Touché Amoré, and Title Fight bring their ongoing joint tour to LA and will open the Fest up on a high note. Both bands are steadily breaking through and gaining wider audiences following the release of their acclaimed 2011 efforts (The Walter Schreifels-produced Shed for Title Fight and Touché Amoré's Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me) making their appearances at this year's FYF Fest a glimpse into the hardcore landscape's future.
Touché Amoré - "Face Ghost"
Title Fight - "Stab"
Who: OFF!When: 3:35pm on Donatello's Stage
Frontman Keith Morris is no stranger to the FYF Fest, as he's credited to helping build the event from the ground up and championing its many early incarnations. It will also be a repeat performance for him and his latest project, the hardcore supergroup OFF!, who played last year well before the release of their debut The First Four EPs. Since then, OFF! has traveled around the globe alongside friends and counterparts such as Dinosaur Jr. and Fucked Up, making their return to FYF somewhat of a victory lap for the hardcore vets.
OFF! - "Upsidedown"
Who: JapandroidsWhen: 4:15pm on Michelangelo's Stage
The Canadian duo defines youth nostalgia and should make Japandroids' debut appearance at FYF Fest this year a memorable one for everyone at their set. Since their critically-acclaimed debut Post-Nothing satisfied the palettes of gen-x'ers yearning for a return of fuzzy '90s indie rock riffs while introducing a new generation to the style, their balls-to-the-wall live performances has also made them endearingly fun. Japandroids' sing-a-longs such as "Young Hearts Spark Fire" and "Younger Us" will without a doubt give listeners of all ages a mid-day adrenaline high.
Japandroids - "Wet Hair"
Who: No AgeWhen: 6:00pm on Michelangelo's Stage
No Age took AwkwardSound's top honors last year by releasing the best album of 2010 in Everything In Between, and so it goes without saying that the duo of Dean Spunt and Randy Randall are an always-dependable, not-to-be-missed set. In recent live outings, The Smell scene alumni have scaled back their live show's three-man set-up to just the two of them and include a firecracker cover of Black Flag's "Six Pack" in their sets. While it might be wishful thinking to expect No Flag to make another appearance, No Age's set should indicate where the experimental noise pop duo are going with future releases.
No Age - "Cappo"
Who: Kid DynamiteWhen: 6:40pm on Raphael's Stage
Alongside their former band, Lifetime, Dan Yemin and Dave Wagenschutz helped evolve hardcore into the new millennium alongside Jason Shevchuk and Michael Cotterman as part of Kid Dynamite. While the band only put out two LPs and EP (albeit, in a three year time span,) the influence they left on the melodic post-hardcore movement (see: Title Fight) is far from forgotten. Kid Dynamite hasn't been consistently active since 2000, making this another rarity reunion-esque set that makes the FYF Fest memorable and unique year after year.
Kid Dynamite - "S.O.S."
Who: GIRLSWhen: 7:45pm on Michelangelo's Stage
The next few months are going to be huge for the San Francisco indie pop quartet, so you might as well make room for GIRLS on your Saturday schedule before all eyes are on them. AwkwardSound has already told you about Christopher Owen and company's solid new sophomore effort, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and their brand of California sunshine-glazed pop rock will be a relaxing break away from all the rough-edged bands stacked at the beginning and end of the day's schedule.
Girls - "Honey Bunny"
Who: The DescendentsWhen: 9:40pm on Leonardo's Stage
Before the final band takes the stage is one who has defined southern California's punk rock scene and has arguably influenced every hardcore band on this year's lineup. The Descendents' back catalog speaks for itself and having played just a scattered number of live shows in recent years across the States, expect anticipation for the beloved Hermosa Beach band led by nerd icon, Milo Aukerman, to be at a fever pitch level by the time they hit the main stage to help close out the FYF Fest.
The Descendents - "Suburban Home"
Who: Explosions In the SkyWhen: 10:45pm on Donatello's Stage
As night falls over the State Historic Park, Austin's post-rock innovators Explosions in the Sky will light it up with their always-captivating live show of head-charged instrumentation. The band released their solid sixth effort, Take Care Take Care Take Care, earlier this year and their autumnal sound will be a fitting late night soundtrack to celebrate the beginning of the end for summer's dying days.
Explosions In the Sky - "Trembling Hands"
Who: Death from Above 1979
When: 11:05pm on Leonardo's Stage
Closing out the fest is this year's hottest reunion act, Toronto noise-punk duo, Death from Above 1979. If you recall, the band -- made up of Sebastien Grainger and Jesse F. Keeler -- started their official return at this year's Coachella and has been running the festival circuit gambit ever since. Aside from this year's Austin City Limits, DFA 1979 doesn't have any more Stateside tour dates scheduled afterward. There also hasn't been any further indication that the once-rifted team will be making anything more out of the band after they play a sold-out homecoming show, so this could very well be your second-to-last chance to see Death from Above 1979 here in the U.S. Oh, and the fact that they're playing right after The Descendents makes for a heck of a one-two punch in the pit.
Death From Above 1979 - "Going Steady"