Gone were Saturday's frustrating lines around the event's big footprint at Exposition Park and the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Also resolved were capacity issues at the arena stage that shut the place down for a time on Saturday. The solution -- opening the balcony seating -- resulted in an oasis of beat-heavy, strobe-and-fog fueled bliss away from the masses from artists such as Darkside, Jamie xx, Kelela, John Talabot and Daphni.
Logistics resolved, fans could focus on the frequencies coming from expertly engineered sound systems.
The results were at times mind-blowing. Whether it was New Orleans guitarist and singer Benjamin Booker schooling us with back-to-basics R&B and rockabilly, the Strokes banging out the hits, Los Angeles beat producer Flying Lotus (bobbing his head like a prizefighter behind a shadow screen, presenting labyrinthine fusion-inspired sounds) or the Pink Mountaintops delivering fuzzed out sludge rock, the quality and variety of pleasures was as high as many of the fans.
L.A. quartet Haim, featuring sisters Este, Danielle and Alana Haim and drummer Dash Hutton, concluded a year-long touring cycle for its breakout debut album with a grand homecoming party. Gigging to thousands packed into a footprint the size of football field, the electrifying band mixed Southern California-style canyon rock with hints of modern R&B and dance music. It proved its mettle with a gutsy take on Fleetwood Mac's blues jam "Oh Well." Just before, the inventive young R&B producer Dev Hynes performed under his Blood Orange moniker with a batch of tensely melodic grooves.
The experimental dance duo Darkside, which recently announced its dissolution, presented a farewell set that mixed free jazz, rock and techno into one glorious whole.
Dan Snaith, who a day earlier performed an alluring set of experimental dance music with his band Caribou, stood onstage for a DJ set under his Daphni moniker on Sunday. Drawing from the sonic library of house music from its formative years, Snaith spun a seamless set of songs from his album "Jiaolong" mixed with dance classics. The highlight: a ridiculous segue from his own track into Aphex Twin's "Analogue Bubblebath."
During a break in her bass-heavy, minimal set of hard R&B, Los Angeles-based singer Kelela thanked fans for the good fortune. Eighteen months ago, she said, she was working at a call center in the Valley "selling solar." Due to the success of her free mixtape, "Cut 4 Me," she was able to quit and devote her time to music.
The focus was obvious, and often magnetic. The same can be said about FYF overall. Despite its difficulties on Saturday, the fest was ultimately a success. The bonus? We all got a lot of exercise. One friend told me that she kept track on her smartphone and logged 16 miles. Another walked twelve. I probably logged 15 miles over the two days.