6 Must-See Queer Music Acts at Los Angeles’ FYF Fest 2017
Going since 2004, the Fuck Yeah Fest (or FYF Fest) has been an annual music festival in Los Angeles. While not as epic, perhaps, as Coachella, FYF Fest has a number of amazing acts across all genres. There’re lots of big names — folks like Flying Lotus, Nine Inch Nails and Run the Jewels, just to name a few. But if you’re lucky enough to have tickets, we’ve compiled a list of six queer(ish) acts you cannot miss!
Björk / Arca
After her stunning performance at Disney Hall on May 30 as part of the Reykjavík Festival, Iceland’s best-known import ascends the Main Stage at 8:50pm July 21 with, rumor has it, gay electronic wunderkind Arca for a full-on synthetic blowout. While the Disney Hall show was heavy on tracks from Vulnicura (which lent themselves beautifully to accompaniment with an orchestra), this show — a co-headline with Missy Elliot — should be dance-heavy. Let’s hope she digs deep and dusts the cobwebs off “Big Time Sensuality” and “Army of Me,” to name but two.
Four records in and this Seattle songwriter has jumped to the front rank of gay artists. After exploring the tribulations of a tough puberty and early manhood, Mike Hadreas has inched slowly closer to happiness on his last two releases, Too Bright and this year’s No Shape. His ballads, like “Lookout, Lookout” — can be wrenching (and even richer live), and now he has a few crowd-pleasing anthems under his belt, including the protean “Queen” and the recent “Slip Away.” In any event, his 7:45pm set on July 22 on the Club Stage is a must see.
Whether gay or bisexual, when Frank Ocean stepped out of his own chains prior to the release of 2012’s Channel Orange it was a big deal in hip-hop. Instead of ending his career, as it might have done a decade earlier, it added to Ocean’s mystique as an artist (and as a much sought after collaborator). He finally released not one but two follow-ups this year — the video album Endless and the audio work Blonde. His 11:00pm July 22 Main Stage set is a make good from last year, when his friend Kanye West stepped in to substitute for him. And it’s a chance to see how recent tracks — like “Nikes” — translate live.
Jonathan Pierce is the only mainstay of this indie band active since 2009. And though their manic surf-guitar New Wave vibe may not be of the moment, Pierce’s love of his sound is sincere. Last month they issued their fourth release, Abysmal Thoughts, and it’s not only their best, but one of the year’s. If I was a rock-leaning young gay man, I’d seek them out pronto, and find myself in their same-sex relationship songs, especially “Blood Under My Belt” and “I’ll Fight for Your Life.” And then I’d seek out like-minded young gay men to share the sweaty experience at exactly 9:05pm on the Trees Stage.
Arca & Jesse Kanda
If The Drums are too “rock” for you, head over to the Club Stage at 9:05pm and take in this set by the above-mentioned Arca (doing double duty with Björk on Friday) and Jesse Kanda. Beyond the music, their collaboration will also feature some surreal and fascinating visuals (check out “TRAUMA Scene 1”) and who knows what else.
If you want ten non-stop hours of gay — and, really, who wouldn’t? — you could spend all of Sunday, July 22 in the Outer Space venue with this queer DJ collective from San Francisco. For a taste of what that might be like, here is their DJ Set in The Lab for Pride Month. Or if you can’t commit — and we know how you are — maybe just stop by, get what you need, and move on to Nine Inch Nails.