10 California music festivals you won’t want to miss in 2022

2022 California music festivalsWritten by Josh Herwitt //

With live music returning to stages across the U.S. during the second half of last year and spring now right around the corner, 2022 is shaping up to be a monumental year for the industry and a big reason for that is the comeback of the music festival. California has certainly played a major part in its revival coming out of a global pandemic, with a number of single-day and multi-day events already scheduled to take place up and down the Golden State over the next six-plus months. So, who’s ready for festival season to begin?

If you’re itching to hit a music festival, here are 10 in California you should save your cash for this year.


CRSSD Festival - Spring 2022 lineup

CRSSD Festival
Location: Waterfront Park – San Diego
Dates: March 5th-6th
Tickets: Buy them here!

One North American concert promoter who wasn’t deterred by the news surrounding the coronavirus’ omicron variant a few months ago happens to be FNGRS CRSSD, the San Diego-based brand that debuted CRSSD Festival back in 2015 and has been going strong ever since with a spring and fall edition of the event each year. Unleashing another electronic-leaning roster for its first installment in 2022 with Glass Animals and SOFI TUKKER as headliners, CRSSD has managed to hold tight with its plans. Four Tet, Get Real (Claude VonStroke and Green Velvet), Gorgon City, 070 Shake, Blu DeTiger, Cautious Clay, Chet Faker, Parcels, Franc Moody, Lastlings, SG Lewis and more stack the undercard.

READ MORE HERE


Smokin Groves Fest - 2022 lineup

Smokin Grooves Fest
Location: LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
Dates: March 19th
Tickets: Buy them here!

Smookin Grooves’ lineup has easily matched what it offered fans in 2018 (read our review here) and 2019 (read our review here) after putting on excellent showings both years sheerly by landing Erykah Badu, Nas, The Roots, Miguel and Jhené Aiko to lead the charge. But adding The Internet, Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Smino, Toro y Moi, SiR, Little Dragon, Hiatus Kaiyote and more to the roster makes this another must-see production. The one-day fest is also getting a change of scenery as it relocates north to the 32-acre LA State Historic Park in the Chinatown neighborhood of downtown LA that once hosted FYF Fest and several HARD events.

READ MORE HERE


Coachella - 2022 lineup

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Location: Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
Dates: April 15th-17th & April 22nd-24th
Tickets: Buy them here!

The three-day, two-weekend event is finally ready to give it another go in April after becoming one of the first large-scale music festivals in the U.S. to postpone its plans when the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm almost two years ago. Harry Styles and Billie Eilish will spearhead the 2022 lineup, with Swedish House Mafia back at Coachella for the first time in a decade since the electronic supergroup’s closing set on the main stage in 2012 and The Weeknd added late to help replace Ye (fka Kanye West). The famed California fest has had a penchant for booking more international acts — from BLACKPINK to Bad Bunny — in recent years, and 2022 will be no different.

READ MORE HERE


BeachLife Festival - 2022 lineup

BeachLife Festival
Location: Seaside Lagoon – Redondo Beach, CA
Dates: May 13th-15th
Tickets: Buy them here!

The three-day event moved to September in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s back to its normal month of May this year with plenty to get excited about. Leading the fest’s third installment will be Weezer and 311 as co-headliners on Friday while The Smashing Pumpkins and Steve Miller Band will have their own days — Saturday and Sunday, respectively — to shine even after the sun dips into the Pacific Ocean. Black Pumas, Vance Joy, Sheryl Crow, Stone Temple Pilots and Lord Huron, in the meantime, anchor an impressive undercard for what’s sure to be a party down by the shore.

READ MORE HERE


Just Like Heaven - 2022 lineup

Just Like Heaven
Location: Brookside at the Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
Dates: May 21st
Tickets: Buy them here!

The one-day music festival put on by Goldenvoice, which debuted in 2019 and was an instant success, has dropped a 2022 roster that should be a dream come true for any indie music fan. And after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show is ready to go on again — although this time it’s migrating north from the Queen Mary Park in Long Beach to take over the Brookside Golf Course at the Rose Bowl — and we still can’t remember the last time heaven ever looked this good. NYC indie rockers Interpol will have the honor of headlining this time around, but sets by Modest Mouse, The Shins, M.I.A., Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, Chromeo, Santigold, Cut Copy, The Hives, Wolf Parade, Peaches, !!!, The Raveonettes and more are likely to leave a lasting impression.

READ MORE HERE


Lightning in a Bottle - 2022 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle
Location: Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area – Bakersfield, CA
Dates: May 25th-30th
Tickets: Buy them here!

After being forced to cancel its 15th edition more than 18 months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the “transformational festival” is returning to Kern County over Memorial Day weekend and The Do LaB has retained a handful of acts on the 2020 roster from headliners like Kaytranada and GRiZ to several undercard standouts such as Purity Ring, Big Wild, Four Tet, Empress Of and Jon Hopkins. But LIB in 2022 will also feature some new blood, starting right at the top of the poster with Glass Animals as well as a pair of Brits in SG Lewis and Little Simz — who are newcomers to the event — on the bill. Other notable names include Chet Faker, Black Coffee, CloZee, Seth Troxler, Monolink, G Jones B2B Eprom, Maya Jane Coles, Goldlink, OPIUO, Chika, Mr. Carmack, Big Freedia, Dirtwire and more, including a Desert Hearts launch party with Lee Reynolds.

READ MORE HERE


BottleRock - 2022 lineup

BottleRock Napa Valley
Location: Napa Valley Expo – Napa, CA
Dates: May 27th-29th
Tickets: Buy them here!

Despite announcing its lineup at the beginning of this year when COVID-19 cases were skyrocketing across the U.S. due to the omicron variant, the three-day event is marching ahead toward its normal timing of Memorial Day weekend after canceling in 2020 and sliding the festivities back to Labor Day weekend in 2021. And much like BottleRock’s previous rosters, 2022’s follows very much in the same vein (i.e. lots of rock ‘n’ roll) with Metallica, P!NK, Twenty One Pilots and Luke Combs topping the bill. The Napa fest’s ninth edition should serve as a special performance for Metallica no less, considering that the legendary heavy-metal band has called the Bay Area home for almost three decades.

READ MORE HERE


Outside Lands - 2022 lineup

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival
Location: Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
Dates: August 5-7th
Tickets: Buy them here!

After being forced in 2021 to push back its 13th year (read our review here) to Halloween weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the three-day music festival is finally returning to its usual timing in August and spring is when we normally anticipate the lineup dropping every year. But the latest installment of SF’s signature event has a slightly different feel than in years past as Green Day, Post Malone and SZA assume headlining duties with Jack Harlow, Weezer, Phoebe Bridgers, Illenium, Lil Uzi Vert, Kali Uchis, Disclosure, Mitski, Polo & Pan and Anitta leading the undercard. And though all three headliners will be topping the poster at OSL for the first time, Green Day’s performance should carry a little extra weight given that the legacy act is originally from the East Bay.

READ MORE HERE


This Ain't No Picnic Festival 2022

This Ain’t No Picnic
Brookside at the Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
Dates: August 27th-28th
Tickets: Buy them here!

Concert promoter Goldenvoice is bringing back This Ain’t No Picnic to SoCal for the first time since 2002 and taking over the Brookside Golf Course at the Rose Bowl for two days in late August (warning: it will be hot) with a killer two-day roster that screams “Pitchfork Fest!” The event has a history of exposing the raw energy of punk-leaning, indie darlings such as Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney and Guided by Voices in 1999 before taking another step toward the mainstream by booking Beck, Yo La Tengo, Built to Spill, At the Drive-In and Modest Mouse for its 2000 edition. A couple of NYC products in The Strokes and LCD Soundsystem will serve as headliners in 2022 while the fest’s undercard offers its own set of highlights starting with the reunion of Le Tigre, another NYC product who last reunited in 2016 to give us “I’m with Her” as their latest single.

READ MORE HERE


Primavera Sound Los Angeles - 2022 lineup

Primavera Sound Los Angeles
LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
Dates: September 16-18th
Tickets: Buy them here!

Primavera Sound has been a staple across the music festival circuit since launching back in 2001 with its Spanish roots firmly planted in Barcelona. But we would be lying if we didn’t admit here that we have eagerly been anticipating the release of Primavera Sound LA’s inaugural lineup, which was originally set to make its U.S. debut in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on things, and that news has finally become a reality with Arctic Monkeys, Lorde and Nine Inch Nails set to headline. That said, Arca, Bicep (Live), Buscabulla, Cigarettes After Sex, Clairo, DARKSIDE, Faye Webster, James Blake, Jehnny Beth, Khruangbin, Kim Gordon, King Krule, Low, Mitski, Stereolab and Tierra Whack have all signed on as well to mark what’s looking like a banner year for live music in the City of Angels.

READ MORE HERE


Which of these music festivals are you going to? Which are you looking forward to the most?

Lightning in a Bottle 2016

With summer near, Skyline festival makes its debut at the new & improved LA State Historic Park

Skyline 2017Photos courtesy of aLIVE Coverage, Banfy & DA BLACK SWAN // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Skyline feat. Duke Dumont, Miike Snow, Lido, EDEN, Michl, ELOHIM, Jason Bentley //
LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
May 20th, 2017 //

Memorial Day weekend is often considered the unofficial start to summer, but for those of us living in the City of Angels, last weekend might as well have been.

With temperatures in downtown LA reaching the low 90’s, Radio Hill Events and KCRW made history on a hot and sunny day as they hosted the inaugural Skyline festival at the brand-new LA State Historic Park, which closed for renovation more than three years ago.

Though not all of the 32-acre open space just north of Chinatown was used for the single-day event, it felt nice to be back at the much-improved park taking in live music as an electronic-leaning lineup that consisted of Duke Dumont, Miike Snow, Lido, EDEN, Michl, ELOHIM and Jason Bentley all shared the somewhat diminutive stage over a nine-hour span.

Skyline 2017 - Miike Snow


Miike Snow

In many ways, Skyline felt like a trial run for potentially larger music festivals to eventually make their way back to the park, which was used for FYF Fest and HARD’s LA-based events prior to its closure. And after a reported attendance of 5,500, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see FYF Fest return to its former home next year after occupying Exposition Park for what soon will be four straight summers following its latest edition this July.

What might be best about LA State Historic Park, though, is the view. Particularly on a clear day, it’s hard to beat the sight lines of downtown LA’s skyline when you look south from the park. And lucky for us, that was the case this time around.

As day turned to night and the crowd’s energy gradually started to build thanks to a hit-laden set from Scandinavian indie-pop trio Miike Snow, it felt like a perfect way to spend a Saturday night in LA in mid-May. So, when English DJ/producer Duke Dumont took the baton and gave the festival’s final performance, he made sure to send us home with some deep-house vibes — deep enough to put us right to bed after what proved to be, all in all, a successful day.

LA Show of the Week // GO4FREE to Skyline feat. Duke Dumont, Miike Snow, Lido & more 5/20 (SAT)

SkylineWritten by Josh Herwitt //

Skyline feat. Duke Dumont, Miike Snow, Lido, EDEN, Michl, ELOHIM, Jason Bentley //
LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
May 20th, 2017 //

It’s been a while since LA State Historic Park has hosted a music festival — almost three years to be exact. The 34-acre open space just north of LA’s Chinatown neighborhood, after all, had been under construction during that time, with progress on the developement getting delayed at one point due to soil contamination at the site.

But in March, Radio Hill Events, a new group of concert producers, talent buyers and festival planners, teamed up with KCRW to announce Skyline, a single-day music, art and food event that will mark the first major music gathering at the recently remodeled park.

Featuring performances by Duke Dumont, Miike Snow, Lido, EDEN, Michl, ELOHIM and Jason Bentley, the fest’s inaugural music lineup leans heavily on electronic acts who play “live” (as opposed to performing a DJ set).

Kicking off the festivities this Saturday at 2 p.m. will be a surprise opener before Miike Snow and Duke Dumont close things out with back-to-back sets each lasting an hour (view the set times below).

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend and are itching to see some live music, you don’t want to miss this brand-new festival in downtown LA. Tickets are available for $50, but you could win a pair of tickets by submitting your full name and email below.

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.

Skyline - set times


Follow Showbams on Twitter for more contest giveaways throughout the week. Be the first to respond to our contest tweets to GO4FREE to these shows:

Ho99o9: May 18th (THUR) @ The Independent
Pallbearer: March 19th (FRI) @ The New Parish
Dead Winter Carpenters: March 19th (FRI) @ Slim’s
Shiba San Poolside Party: March 21st (SUN) @ The Phoenix Hotel


Win-2-Tickets

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10 Reasons to say ‘Fuck Yeah’ at FYF Fest 2013

FYF-Fest-2013_postPhotos by Mike Frash // Written by Mike Frash & Kevin Quandt //

FYF Fest //
LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
August 24th-25th, 2013 //

FYF Fest has earned a rare new title in the Southern California region as the “new Coachella.” Even though many attendees may balk at this tag, it is an endearing way of stating this is fresh, new territory for independent music.

In its 10th year of existence, the event has grown out of the former Echo Park venues to a multi-day romp across thrilling genres of alternative music held at Los Angeles Historic Park. This convenient, downtown-esque locale offers great skyline views and a manageable, if not slightly dusty, venue that allows attendees the opportunity to experience more acts than your average 10,000-plus event.

With a vast array of attractive, buzzed-about artists gracing the FYF’s four stages, here are 10 acts to focus your valuable concert time on for the fest’s 2013 edition.


My Bloody Valentine
Sunday • 10:45 • Carrie Stage

If there is one show where earplugs may be a good idea, it’s Kevin Shields and MBV. Spinal Tap “volume at 11” jokes aside, this will be a triumphant return to the stage and a region for the Irish alt-noise kings and queens. Even more thrilling than their live return to the US is the fact that they will be playing a ton of new music to longtime and new fans alike off this year’s magnificent release m b v. Expect some gems off of Loveless and Isn’t Anything mixed in for good measure. What a perfectly blistering manner to bring the festival to a close on Sunday, even if you hear ringing in your ears on Monday. -KQ



Death Grips
Saturday • 11:05 • Miranda Stage

After a head-scratching ‘performance’ surrounding Lollapalooza in past weeks, the only thing to expect is the unexpected from the Sacramento doom-hop act Death Grips. This line-blurring act featuring Zach Hill and Stefan “MC Ride” have been making waves for a couple of years, and have cemented themselves as a ground-breaking live act committed to off kilter beats and aggressive hip-hop vocals growled over the top. With some new music trickling out this week, it’s sure to create a ton of buzz among festival goers. Well, that is if they show. -KQ



TV on the Radio
Saturday • 9:15 • Carrie Stage

TV on the Radio have released one new song, “Mercy”, in late July, but there are no confirmed plans for a fifth studio album at the moment. In fact, it’s the first music TVOTR has created and shared since bassist Gerard Smith passed away in 2011, and it’s confirmed this excellent new cut and a second unreleased track titled “Million Miles” will be issued by David Sitek’s label Federal Prism. Sitek has grown to be one of the best producers in music over the past 10 years, helping to churn out gems from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars, Foals, Santigold, Beady Eye and of course, TV on the Radio. Might the group produce their next record under Federal Prism? Let’s hope these new songs and this FYF set inspire the creative juices. FYF and its patrons are getting a one-off treat since this is the only performance on the group’s calendar, and it’s only their second performance since touring in support of Nine Types of Light. -MF



Flume  
Sunday • 7:25 • Samantha’s Tent

Harley Streten is an Australian electronic musician that is just about the fastest rising DJ on the planet. Performing under the moniker Flume, Streten’s meteoric rise began when his self titled LP dropped in late 2012, jumping to the top of the Australian charts. At 21 years old, Flume exudes cross-genre originality in his music, mashing together elements of dance, R&B and hip-hop. And on his forthcoming swing through the U.S. starting this weekend, Flume will introduce Americans to the “Prism Tour”. Streten calls it a “bigger, grander show”, and by the looks of it, the stage production is now fitting of his music. He DJs from atop a large prism that looks like it will blow minds live, while live visuals and stage lighting layer visuals appropriately. Flume fully controls the ‘power’ of the complete audio-visual performance, as the visuals are tied into each change he makes behind the deck. Looks (and sounds) pretty awesome. -MF



Holy Ghost!
Sunday • 11 • Charlotte Stage

Holy Ghost! seem to be on the cusp of getting much bigger — and for good reason. The Brooklyn duo has James Murphy’s DFA label on their back, their second LP Dynamics will be unleashed September 10th, and singles “Dumb Disco Ideas” and “Okay” indicate said album will provide fire. Sophomore slump be damned. FYF will provide the premiere performance of the “Dynamics Tour 2013” — but unfortunately this raging electro-pop disco dance party is pitted directly against My Bloody Valentine to end the weekend. Those that can’t stop moving their feet come Sunday’s finale should head to the Charlotte Stage. -MF



No Age  
Sunday • 6:05 • Charlotte Stage

Randy and Dean return to FYF after a glaring absence last year, this from an act that has been a constant over the past decade in the Los Angeles underground music scene. After a quiet 2012, the experimental art-punk duo are amped and ready to hit the road hard to close out this year, touring behind An Object, their latest Sub Pop release. Though some may be bummed that Foxygen had to cancel in order to gain No Age, this duo is sure to kick up a dust storm by the throngs of young kids who have gravitated to these guys over the years, likely through their involvement with LA all-ages, and alcohol/drug free venue called The Smell. Don’t expect your average rock show by two guys who thrive on doing things a bit differently. — KEVIN QUANDT



Dan Deacon
Saturday • 8:45 • Charlotte Stage

A Dan Deacon show isn’t simply a live electronic music performance — it’s an interactive experience that forces all those present to be a part of it. He remixes all sorts of pop-culture like a sword-wielding ninja, almost exclusively curating upbeat energy. Deacon’s live production consistently thrives off tension and release, but so very differently than other EDM artists. There aren’t big drops, but a hodgepodge of hyperactive sounds that draw from the musical stratosphere, then shift after four or eight measures. It’s a mad, glorious, engaging dance party that deserves, at minimum, a 20 minute stop by. -MF



Mac DeMarco
Sunday • 3:35 • Miranda Stage

Need a little break from the craziness of hardcore and garage rock? Might we suggest you spend a little time with Canadian jangle-slacker Mac DeMarco and band. His infectious surf-rock influenced pop songs are sublime slices of the stony life-lessons and nuggets of young wisdom, all crooned over guitars oozing a stylized chorus effect. Mac’s stage presence alone is worth a trip to the Miranda Stage at 3:55 on Sunday. Fun fact: Mac will be following Johnathan Richman, a stated influence on the young Canadian and his quirky music. -KQ



Washed Out  
Sunday • 8:30 • Charlotte Stage

The evolution of Ernest Greene will be on full, blooming display as Washed Out begin touring in support of Paracosm this weekend. Washed Out began as Greene’s computer-based bedroom project, but to make touring a reality in support of his first LP Within and Without, he turned the touring group into a foursome with the aim of performing the material live through a mix of MIDI pads and live instrumentation.

As Greene continues down the chill-wave path he helped start, he’s clearly gravitating toward creating sounds live as opposed to playing a software plugin — a recording method that will only make his live shows better with time. -MF



Baroness
Sunday • 7:05 • Miranda Stage 

It’s been a long and dangerous road for Baroness the past few years after their tour bus careened off the road in England, injuring many of the members. Though there was some personnel changes before the band got things up and running again, they have sludged on, bringing their white-hot brand of progressive metal to the throngs. The heavy metal sound that Baroness brews up is a quintessential part of the variety that FYF curates, so take a chance and see something that will shake you to the core. -KQ

FYF

Best sets from FYF Fest 2012

By Mike Frash //

FYF Fest //
LA State Historic Park – Los Angeles
September 1st-2nd, 2012 //

The location for FYF Fest reinforces some of LA’s ugliest stereotypes. LA State Historic Park has a feeling somewhere between industrial and suburban LA, with billboards, freeways and metro trains ever present. You know you are in Los Angeles.

But the stages are close to each other so it’s easy to get back and forth, and there was plenty of variety to keep full blown 80’s nostalgia from taking over. Here are the five shows that left the strongest impression with me.

MUST-SEE SHOWS

Atlas Sound ~ Sunday 6:10 Hill St. Stage

Bradford Cox is a remarkable solo artist. The frontman from Deerhunter builds songs by looping & layering live sounds from his guitar and mouth with a variety of foot petals. The complexity and layered depth of his songs cannot be overstated – and it’s easy to drift off with Bradford as he extends every song to sonic peaks and back again. This show mirrored the format of the Atlas Sound & Deerhunter albums, variating between songs that feature a psychedelic wall-of-sound with a morose sense of sadness & death with seemingly upbeat low-fi pop that contrasts with clean acoustic guitar. ‘Mona Lisa’ was a stand-out song live, delivering an emotional buildup that peaked with ambient loops that eventually led back into the peaceful refrain. In stark contrast to the overall sad-yet-freeing tone of the music is Bradford himself – he took five minutes before the encore to apologize to his friend for spitting on him for saying something misogynist, declaring that he will always spit on misogynists, added ‘Fuck ya I’m gay’ and led the enthusiastic crowd in a “Thank You Mark” chant, for his friend Mark that picked up his gear from across town. Bradford could talk about the weather and it would be captivating.

Chromatics ~ Saturday 6:35 Spring Street Stage

The Saturday sunset show on the Spring St. stage showcased the first upbeat & authentic dance music (sorry John Maus). The sound of the group lead by Ruth Radelet translates well in a live setting, heavily leaning to the crisp and infectiously danceable side of the coin. Radelet has a stage presence that is as hypnotic as her voice, which blends nicely with grooves that invoke LCD Soundsystem or Hot Chip no matter how hard you try to resist making the comparison. One of the set’s many highlights was ‘Kill for Love,’ which had most in attendance moving in some way, which is quite an accomplishment at FYF Fest. Radelet nonchalantly followed the song by saying “that song was about love’ in a tone that would make April from ‘Parks & Recreation’ proud. Chromatics finished the set with Neil Young’s “Into The Black”, which suits them nicely. It felt like it was just taking off when it ended, and maybe they were up against the (tick of the) clock. They are an act that deserves a full set if possible.

Nicolas Jaar ~ Sunday 8:15 The Tent

Nicolas Jaar has a unique thing going on. Part of it is that he sets his own rules, keeping most of his beats under 100 beats per minute. It’s a weird show in a very good way. The first 8 minutes built ambient sounds coming from the guitarist and saxophonist in his band that ever so slowly built into a beat. Another part is he adds a healthy dose of real emotion that comes from his live vocals. This stands in stark contrast to the button pushing emotion coming from most hooks in today’s mainstream EDM sound. Jaar is mixing, adding vocal effects, matching beats and tweaking pitches all in real time. The improvisational aspects to the building of sounds helps make the moment feel special, like anything can happen. Jaar consistently innovates and surprises with the sounds he coordinates, dropping bass back in off tempo at non standard times. It all adds up to a mind-expanding experience that feels new and exciting.

Tanlines ~ Saturday 7:35 The Tent

Tanlines has quickly shown the professional ability to adapt to their audience and live music situations. Percussionist Jesse Johen & guitarist/vocalist Eric Emm abandoned a typical song-based format and proceeded to put on an upbeat dance show. They would begin a song with a new beat, break it down and back into one of their catchy songs from their debut LP ‘Brothers,’ essentially remixing their own songs. They’ve been touring since the beginning of the year, and as a touring act they clearly aren’t lazy. They’ve evolved their show while playing to their time slot and setting perfectly in this case. “We heard there was a comedy slash DJ tent, so we told them to put us there.” That classification actually fit them perfectly for this festival performance, as Jesse’s banter can be a constant source of chuckles.

The Faint ~ Sunday 10:55 Spring Street Stage

This was the dance show of the weekend and a great time. The light show, the bass turned to 11, & a synth-heavy setlist combined to keep asses shaking and hands up. This was my first time seeing them live, and I hope it won’t be the last because I did not get enough. The Faint proved to be an ideal way to finish FYF 2012.

SETS OF NOTE: SATURDAY

John Maus – The Tent: 2:40

This guy has a stage presence that reminds me of Charles Manson. I like his music to a certain degree, but his live show is weird in a bizarre sense. He started his show by hitting himself over the head in a fit of rage. He looked angry and possessed, a persona that surely works better in a dark setting with plenty of supportive lighting.

Cloud Nothings – Spring St. Stage: 4:15

Founder & lead singer songwriter Dylan Baldi and the rest of the group that comprises Cloud Nothings deliver a live sound that is true to their albums and they do it well. It seems like you shouldn’t expect many surprises at their shows, but the sound was cleaner than I expected.

Chairlift – Main Stage: 4:35

Chairlift put on a great show until the last song of their set, when their best song “I Belong in Your Arms” turned into a bit of a train wreck. Caroline Polachek stopped the band after a minute, saying they wanted to do it right for us. After a long pause, the song started again, but someone clearly missed their mark again as a long, seemingly unintended instrumental interluded happened between verses. You could almost tell Caroline wanted to stop it again but she couldn’t as this is a festival. She left the stage quickly before the last notes without saying a thing, then her creative partner Patrick Wimberly awkwardly said goodbye.

James Blake – Spring St. Stage 7:50

James Blake’s post-dubstep subtleties were overshadowed by Tanlines’ driving bass next door in the tent, but Mr. Blake is a legitimate artist that deserves serious attention. Right at a quiet moment during the minimalist auto-tune dominated “Lindisfarne I,” one concert goer loudly inquired “T-Pane???” to many people’s amusement.

Purity Ring – Hill St. Stage: 8:25

The take-away from a live Purity Ring show is that the music is pretty unique in it’s form and glitchy live vocals, and that they have a fitting, custom made light show that is controlled by beat & A/V genius Corin Roddick’s live percussion elements. Megan James’ presence blends into cocoon-light show aesthetic, and her confident, angelic voice is liberally sampled by Roddick’s MIDI pad. See this show before Purity Ring is playing bigger venues.

M83 – Main Stage: 9:25

Anthony Gonzalez played composer for most the night, allowing Morgan Kibby and his younger brother Yann Gonzalez to get most of the spotlight. The M83 show has clearly evolved since it started touring to support “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” in 2011. Gonzalez did not rely heavily on the new album, extending ‘We Own the Sky,’ ‘Coleurs’ & many other early tracks. While the volume level was lacking toward the back of the audience, the setlist was great and it’s obvious they are experimenting with transitions and song extensions to a positive effect.

SETS OF NOTE: SUNDAY

Wild Nothing – Hill St. Stage: 2:45
They sounded real nice from the other side of the fence, where I was waiting patiently in the security line. The VIP option suddenly seemed worth while. Probably was a very nice show.

Givers – Main Stage: 3:05

These kids are so full of positive energy you feel like they’re Aussies or something. This was a fun way to get Sunday kicked off.

Father John Misty – Hill St. Stage: 2:45

This man was destined to be a frontman. It’s hard to believe he was the drummer for Fleet Foxes’s first two album. Joshua Tillman knows how to let his freak flag fly, showing off moves that would impress the lizard king himself.

Tiger & Woods – The Tent: 4:20

The duo’s disco grooves got the Tent popin’ early. The dj duo, who won’t reveal their identities to the general public, wear matching outfits onstage and smoke cigarettes at the same time. How cute. The bottom line is they craft super catchy beats that could host an array of samples and overlays, but they keep it simple with house and techno elements.

Glass Candy – The Tent: 7PM

This no wave threesome fronted by Ida No put on a fun, upbeat set. I’d like to see them again.

Yeasayer – Main Stage: 9:10

The new stage set-up was visually pleasing, and many of the songs from the new album worked well live. The problem with the new prisms, lasers and light show is it now seems too digitized when they play song from their first album that is more rooted in folk inspired world music. That said, I appreciated the risk they took when they completely rebooted their hit ‘O.N.E.’ and made it sound like a slowed down karaoke version of itself. I get the feeling they are changing so drastically from album to album that they don’t exactly know where they stand now for live shows. When in doubt, make a great light show. Works for me.

Twin Shadow – Spring St. Stage: 9:35

George Lewis Jr.’s band exhibit a looser sound live than in their albums, where the songs seem directly taken from 1987. Live they sound more like a rock show than an 80s nostalgia new wave outfit. I got to this show after Yeasayer and basically wished I’d spent more time at Twin Shadow.