By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
This weekend’s F Yeah Fest, at the Echo, the Echoplex and Jensen’s Rec Center in Echo Park, has gotten a lot of deserved ink over the past few months, the most prominent being a large spread in The New York Times. And last month, L.A. Weekly devoted ample space to interviewing festival co-curator Sean Carlson and tour manager Phil Hoelting about their experience taking the F Yeah Fest on the road. In June, the tour converged in Brooklyn and took to the highways with a bus powered by vegetable oil, crisscrossing America and preaching the gospel of F Yeah.
The exclamation point at the end of the summer is this weekend’s activities, which include a full day of music and comedy on Saturday, followed by a wild-ass scavenger hunt — and more music — on Sunday. All the ink the fest has received? Totally deserved, and co-curators Carlson and Keith Morris deserve a huge round of applause for their taste, which offers abundant proof of rock & roll’s vibrancy. What follow are a handful of recommendations — and one pan — for Saturday’s action, which commences at 2:30 p.m. For a full accounting of Sunday’s scavenger hunt and music, see the Go picks in the Weekly’s Music section. And for a full listing of bands and set times, go to www.fyeahfest.com.
Like the palms that line some of L.A.’s most grit-bearing neighborhoods, the Chino-born four-piece Abe Vigoda bestow an oddly idyllic atmosphere on outcroppings of stratified dissonance. Their just-released and well-loved third album, Skeleton, is a bright and shining collection of relentless rhythm, crashing cymbals, airy vocals and remarkable texture defined by its gorgeous, mbira-imitating guitars. That Zimbabwean edge (along with the band’s choice of MySpace genre tags) has earned Abe Vigoda the now ubiquitous “tropical punk” label, but their dirt-caked pop is more vital and interesting than any of that would imply. (Chris Martins)
2008 has been a stellar year for Long Beach’s Crystal Antlers. They’ve released a new EP, gained scores of fans with their fantastic live shows, and signed to the respected Touch and Go Records, where they join the prestigious ranks of Black Heart Procession, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV on the Radio. The California-cool guitar stylings of Andrew King, shirtless knock-around drumsticks of Kevin Stuart, psychedelic octaves of organist Victor Rodriguez, passion percussion employed by Sexual Chocolate, and Jonny Bell’s full-fisted bass and voice have merged to form an L.A. County classic. (Rena Kosnett)
Out of the small handful of authentically grizzled younger singer-songwriters currently tumbleweeding down the highway, stone-faced David Dondero is maybe the most naturally gifted, lyrically speaking. His tales of doomed loves, crumbling ambitions, dying towns and the wind in the woods are conveyed with a picturesque wordsmithery that betrays much of the sarcasm and irony that many others offer these days, conveying a satisfying sentimentality that skirts the saccharine with rather righteous aplomb. He’s an almost miraculously straightforward singer, too, a reedier version of Bill Callahan, and his folk- and roots-rock material benefits enormously from that. Dondero’s latest is called Simple Love, where his deceptively simple stories are given a resonant twist by the excellent backing band that will accompany him at this performance. (John Payne)
If there’s one band in North America that can do for 21st-century hardcore punk what Marduk and Emperor did for Nordic black metal and Astrud Gilberto did for bossa nova, it’s Toronto’s Fucked Up, who create some of the sturdiest, hardest, fastest and angriest rock & roll — punk, metal, screamo, post-punk or otherwise — there is. These men (and, often, female guest vocalists) reveal nearly every other guitar band of the century to be flaccid and weak. Most impressive, Fucked Up have nearly single-handedly resurrected a subgenre — hardcore — that lunkhead labels like Revelation and Victory Records so ably ruined. (Randall Roberts)
Smoke a doobie, maybe some opium if you can get it, sip on some syrup and wait about an hour. Okay, now slam two Red Bulls and slap yourself hard in the face. Bingo: Glass Candy, whose disco music is way drunk on downers but fizzy with a tinge of speed you need to dance while you’re droopy. Part of the fantastic Italian for Beginners posse, Glass Candy are to new-era disco what chopped-and-screwed Houston syrup-sipper DJ Screw was to the rap game. Someone stepping on the brake, wallowing in the grease between the beats. Like New Yorkers Morgan Geist and the DFA crew, Glass Candy, from Portland, Oregon, have found the artful, colorful mold that lives on disco’s cheese, and we’re all the happier, and creamier, for it. (RR)
Rumor has it that Graham Forest sits cross-legged on the ground while entertaining Native American children, strumming his guitar and spinning tall tales. It’s also suggested that Graham Forest lives in a trailer in the forests of, um, Fresno, and his quarters are overrun with marionette parts, leatherworking tools and ancient mortar holes. Graham Forest, it is said, hones his powers from the Indian burial ground and nonworking satellite dish that his backyard comprises. Whether all this is true or not, the mostly unknown yet easily embraced Central Valley Neil Diamond known as Graham Forest possesses a wholesome goodness that is greatly appreciated amid much of the F Yeah Fest’s chaos. (RK)