FYF Fest Day 2
The Faint, Converge, Dinosaur Jr and Others
September 2, 2012
Better Than: Striking for a 40 hour work week.
After a series of intense showers and professional-assisted dust removal, we were back for day two of the purported Best Weekend of the Summer. Thankfully, Fuck Yeah Fest Fest delivered on its promise; after all, no one wants to suffer tinnitus, sausage legs and black lung for the Most OK Weekend of the Summer, do they? No. They don't.
The early part of the second day again featured a great representation of up-and-coming acts. Local favorites the Allah-Las had a formidable set, while King Khan managed to be less weird than usual. The Field delivered a suitable dance party under the tent on a wooden floor.
But it all paled in comparison to Dinosaur Jr. Belying guitarist J Mascis' windswept old uncle look, the group melted faces with the energy of 20-somethings. Bassist Lou Barlow said "Fuck Yeah Fest Fest" a few times. (We agree, that's one great joke.) Mascis and Barlow even played a song from their original punk band Deep Wound. After a few jam-outs, the Massachusetts trio did their much lauded "Just Like Heaven" cover -- including Barlow's out-of-place punctuating screams. Their MTV single "Feel the Pain" went off with very little crowd air-guitaring, despite its place in the Rock Band game franchise. Drawling punk, even if it's by middle-aged, is a great way to close out daylight.
As the evening wore on, the perpetual fog of weedsmoke merged with the Okie dustcloud somewhere over the Beer Garden, creating the perfect festival haze.
Lest a lull settle into the festival attendees, Boston's Converge arrived to obliterate eardrums and stoke a pit of savage rage release. Occasionally referred to as our generation's Black Flag, Converge managed to obviate Crossfit and Lexapro in one set -- giving the brave pit denizens a hardcore workout, while erasing collective depression.
Call it thrash, call it metalcore, call it whatever, Converge has evil tenacity. Jacob Bannon's shreiking woven into Kurt Ballou's blistering metal chords -- all driven by the machine-gun throb of Ben Koller's rapid drums. Bannon took exactly one break, to let the crowd know that they were about to play "Axe to Fall" from Axe to Fall. Thanks Jacob. Some old guy got kicked in the face but kept jostling with kids half his age despite the blood. Good for him.
We needed a breather after that, considering we may or may not have been kneed in the neck. Soon thereafter, two bros in Beirut t-shirts were seen blowing off Beirut. That may not have been a diss as much as a nod to the power of the balls-out synthtacular that is The Faint (where we were all headed).
Contrarian to the perpetual whine-fest that usually comes out of Omaha, The Faint perfectly combined dance-y synth and punk sensibilities (as well as college nostalgia), completely encapsulating FYF 2012. The crowd also deserved kudos for managing to dance on the wood-chip blanket covering the area in front of the Spring St. Stage.
The band vacillated between tracks old and new-ish before forcing the dancing throng to lose their collective shit over their early hit "Worked Up So Sexual." As practiced and competent as the band is, they merely serve back-up to the electro prowess of keyboardist Jacob Thiele -- who, rather than merely pushing buttons, manipulated electricity with the brilliance of a sentient sound robot. Closing the whole festival with their 2001 single "Agenda Suicide" seemed appropriate.
From there forward it was agenda Gold Line then agenda taco stand then agenda pass out.
Personal Bias: We last saw Converge in 1998 when they played our mutual northeastern hometown -- we saw ear guages get ripped out and supposedly some dude lost an eye. Ah, the '90s.
The Crowd: Lots of tribal chic this time around. The dress-wearing guy we saw on day one gave way to mumu-ed dudes and head-scarf-wearing types on day two. Overall, just a beautiful mess of subcultures and post-punk sects -- all of them grimy, exhausted and sonically sated.
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