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FYF Fest: Afternoon sets by White Fence and Nick Waterhouse

September 02, 2012|By Randall Roberts, Times Pop Music Critic
  • Crowd surfing at the FYF Fest.
Crowd surfing at the FYF Fest. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

After Saturday’s marathon day and night at the FYF Fest, which stretched until 1 a.m. and continued long thereafter with surprise sets by Decline of Western Culture and Lightning Bolt at the Smell, fans on Day 2  of the downtown Los Angeles festival are straggling in. 

 The sun is hot and beer is sweating out of many people's pores, but the Sunday artists are nonplussed. The evidence was there a few hours past noon, when Los Angeles four-piece guitar band White Fence took the Hill Street Stage. The band, led by talented singer and songwriter Tim Presley, offered catchy, smart rock songs that suggested the more melody-laden end of the late 1960s psychedelic underground. Presley is best known in Los Angeles for his work with Darker My Love, and is also member of an underrated Austin, Texas, guitar band, the Strange Boys. 

But he fully owns White Fence, and it showed on his band’s final song, “Harness,” from his 2011 album “Is Growing Faith.” 

PHOTOS: FYF Festival 2012

Competing for attention on the stage next to him was the updated throwback pop of Nick Waterhouse, a well-dressed young man with Don Draper hair and an obsessive affinity for late 1950s and early '60s rock 'n'  roll. The affection would feel more anachronistic if Waterhouse and his six-piece band weren't so tight and focused, and his songs weren’t so catchy. On the main stage at 2, he brought two saxophonists, who pushed through songs with the confidence of a Stax horn section -- albeit with less precision. 

Unlike many bands at the festival, who use effects pedals and looping devices to beef up their impact, Waterhouse’s power came only from the convincing runs on his Epiphone and the Fender amp it was plugged into. 

In the hours to come my agenda will include sets by, among others, Sub Pop Records recording artist Father John Misty, Florida punk band Against Me!, minimalist techno producer the Field, Providence art punk band Lightning Bolt and, well, about six others later into the evening. I'm hoping Black Dice will destroy my brain for 45 sweet minutes. Check back Monday (or Tuesday) to see if I survived. 

Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit

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FYF Fest: The Chromatics greet sundown with head-nodding house set

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