Phono del Sol Music and Food Festival got a bit rowdy this year, but it’s not a huge surprise with local juggernauts Thee Oh Sees topping the music bill for the fest’s third incarnation. The first two years of Phono del Sol, which also took place at Potrero del Sol Park in the Mission District of SF, offered decisively mellow indie fare.
But this year, Phono del Sol curators The Bay Bridged and John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone took things up another notch, adding a second stage and party-starting acts YACHT, Bleached, K. Flay, Marnie Stern and Painted Palms. For the first time at Phono del Sol, people raged.
The main stage’s built-in band shell was packed tightly by the time Thee Oh Sees were ready to begin. As K. Flay continued on with her set at the Mission Stage, Dwyer grew impatient once Thee Oh Sees were ready to go. The powerless stage manager did his best to hold Dwyer off from initiating the performance, but after one false start, Dwyer said, “Fuck it” and launched the first song. Indie moshing, crowd surfing and stage diving would frame the headliners for the entire show, just as frontman John Dwyer always inspires.
Dwyer is one of the most interesting characters in music today, and his manic stage presence and antics are just as entertaining as Thee Oh Sees’ excellent post-punk sound. Dwyer spits, pounds beers, sticks his tongue out and plays his guitar near his neck, which has quickly become his iconic go-to move. And it’s obvious how he’s a local hero, drawing scores of dedicated fans that mimic Dwyer’s moves at every show The Oh Sees play.
Most of the tunes performed Saturday were from Thee Oh Sees’ relentless 2013 LP Floating Coffin, but the most entertaining highlight of the late-afternoon performance happened when Dwyer invited everyone on stage for the final two songs.
The energy transferred to the final act of the festival, YACHT. Props to the festival organizers for placing YACHT last after the headliners — there’s no better way to end a day of music then to dance your ass off. Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans have honed their electopop jams into a tight show. Songs segued seamlessly, feigning a DJ set, as Evens commands you to pay attention and shake your booty at the same time. The set ended with “Le Goudron” and “Second Summer”, a super-fun way to bring Phono Del Sol to a close.