Second annual under-21 fest requires patience

Thursday, Jul 7 2005

"I told my mom not to worry ‘cause this is, like, the only night all the white people come to Echo Park," said the blond Valley girl in front of me. Clearly, she didn’t come to this side of town much or she would have noticed the nearby vintage clothing store, Sea Level Records, and a brand new coffee shop right across the street – three sure signs that "white people" had been here for a while. Tonight, however, there were more than usual, with their scruffy alternative hair doos and cute ironic tees. I was one of them, and I was out here on a Saturday night for the same reason: the Second Annual Fuck Yeah Fest, featuring comedy, art and 28 bands three different venues within walking distance of each other.

The whole thing had been arranged by 19-year-old Redondo Beach Resident Sean Carlson and was geared for the under-21 set. Apparently it sounded pretty cool to just about every young hipster in LA, because the line to get tickets at The Echo ran down the block and all night there was a wait to get in. The Ice Cream Man, whose truck had broken down, told the crowd it was his mission to deliver free ice cream to the people and passed around strawberry ice cream bars, so there wasn’t much complaining. These were patient hipsters.

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We finally entered the club only to be confronted with The Dillinger Four--four overweight, tattooed sweaty old-ish guys up on stage.

"We’re from the Midwest, and we’re fat!" they loudly announced. The band opened up with a song they said was about Jesus and the crowd began to mosh. I was a bit fazed by the mass of moshing of drunk guys 60 pounds heavier than me, but decided to give the pit a shot anyway. Thirty seconds later, after nearly getting trampled, I realized that I was not a naïve 15-year-old punk rock chick anymore (I’m 19) and went back to stand with calmer people.

On my way out to have a cigarette, I squeezed past a blonde, geeky looking kid with a paperboy cap and heard a girl shout: "Oh my god, are you Sean Carlson?"

"Dude, Sean, I wanted to talk to you…" a drunk guy blurted out.

"I have to go work," Carlson said, slightly dazed, and pushed his way to the stage. The kid behind the Echo Park invasion may be a budding celebrity, but tonight he was also clearly a busy man. The next time I saw him he was up on stage with the band fixing one of the mic stands with one hand and holding a beer with the other.

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