Alison Mosshart bounced and jerked around the Glass House stage like a woman possessed. (Evan Solano/LOL-LA)
Ask any Angeleno in the know about current music what they are most looking forward to, and the answer will most likely be FYF Fest. With less than a month to go until the annual music festival descends on Los Angeles to sweep away every last hipster and vinyl nerd to a weekend of amazing bands and merciless heat, the hype around this year’s lineup is at a fever high.
But FYF is more than just about headliners like Frank Ocean and Morrissey, the festival also gives up-and-coming bands a chance for their fans to see them alongside bigger, established acts and even play to new fans, which is great, but not all of us are going to spend $175-plus, brave the merciless heat and swarm of hipster douche all for the sake of catching some potential new music.
Thankfully, Goldenvoice and FYF give the fans like me what they want: a chance to see some amazing bands in a more intimate setting. The Kills and Baby In Vain are two bands I am not too familiar with, but after tonight I’m walking away one of their biggest fans, and I didn’t have to break my bank account or die from heat exhaustion to do it.
Denmark’s Baby In Vain are a perfect example of why this idea works. Prior to tonight I had never heard them, but five seconds into their set I was totally floored.
The Danish trio play a heavy mix of psych/blues in such a pure and authentic way that I could have swore they came straight out of the Palm Desert stoner rock scene made famous by bands like Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss.
Their music is played with such an astounding attitude and technical mastery that channeled the brash, in-your-face attitude of alternative heroes like Kurt Cobain with a touch of classic heavy blues in the vein of Tony Iommi. The fact that the group is so young (Literally, the band is maybe in their early 20s.) makes it reassuring to know that a younger generation of musicians still make an effort to play uncompromising music that runs the gamut from Sabbath to Kyuss to Nirvana – but which feels like something vital and new and fresh at the same time.
In between the time it took me to muster through a subpar vodka tonic from the Glass House bar (Sorry, guys, great venue, but that drink was rough!) and run outside for some air, the audience went from decent to packed! Clearly, the evening was all about headliners the Kills, who are still riding high on the success of their 2011 album Blood Pressures.
The bluesy/punk duo comprised of singer/guitarist Alison Mosshart and fellow guitarist/drummer Jamie Hince took the stage at the Glass House after about a half hour of crazed yells and cheering from the sold-out crowd, kicking off their set with the hit “U.R.A. Fever.”
The Kills put on a dynamic and high-energy performance teeming with good vibes and rockstar flair. Mosshart was bouncing and jerking around the stage like a woman possessed, and occasionally picking up a guitar or a pair of drumsticks, letting her blonde hair fly wildly.
Their stage presence was natural and powerful, they know how to sell their music, and the audience bought in to it whole-heartedly.
Hince, the more reserved of the two, conveyed his enthusiasm in more restrained ways but still dancing little shuffles during his solos. They both seemed to be having a ball, and the audience followed their lead.
The duo ripped through their plethora of dancey hits like “Future Starts Slow” and “Heart Is A Beating Drum.” The band played mostly new tracks, primarily off Blood Pressures, but broke out a few songs from their 2003 debut, Keep On Your Mean Side, with fans joining in on the favorite “Kissy Kissy” and the title track from 2005’s No Wow.
Although the Kills’ early work was significant for its lo-fi aesthetic, live they created a crisper, more polished sound which gave the songs an extra punch played live, coming out rawer and buzzier than the original versions.
The two ended their almost 90-minute set with “Pots and Pans” and “Monkey 23” before briefly leaving the stage and returning for their encore run of “Hum For Your Buzz,” “Last Day Of Magic” and closing their set with “Fried My Little Brains.”