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Situated in an undeveloped dirt lot known as the Los Angeles State Historic Park, on the outskirts of Chinatown, the 2011 FYFest was a filthy, sweaty, ear-battering affair. The line-up listed heavily toward the punk end of the indie-rock spectrum, hosting bands such as No Age, Japandroids, and OFF! The latter were a throwback treat, blazing through a hardcore set that left one wondering why the sound of vintage Black Flag has laid dormant so long. Witnessing a bloodied audience member being carried out of the mosh pit added to the trip down memory lane.

After a rousing farewell from Canadian big band Broken Social Scene, I managed to finagle my way to a sweet spot about 20 feet from center stage to catch Guided By Voices. They delivered a punk-heavy set of oldies ("Some Drilling Implied," "Expecting Brainchild," "Shocker in Gloomtown"), even though the first half of the set was plagued by guitarist Mitch Mitchell playing way out of tune. It's a festival, not an Ohio basement, tune up for the set, Mitch!

The Descendents were up right after GBV, so I stayed parked in the same spot. How bad could it get? Well, if you enjoy the force of thousands driving into your spine with the intent to crush you against the stage, you would have been delighted. I endured the human meat grinder until I was naturally siphoned out toward the edge of the pit. Once I got a breather I was able to enjoy the greatest hits set, which included "Bikeage," "Hope," "Get the Time," and "Coolidge." The Descendents ruled for certain on this night and proved they have come a long way since the days when they "couldn't sell out a telephone booth."

  • Concert: Descendents, Guided By Voices, OFF! and More
  • Date: September 4
  • Venue: FYF Fest
  • Seats: Dirt lot
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