It’s Labor Day weekend.
That time of year when you start to notice that it’s getting darker a little sooner, a little cooler at night, and you wonder what happened to the last few months. It’s the last three day weekend before you get into those family focused holidays. It’s when I have to start thinking about entering my least favorite time of the year.
This particular labor day weekend is a sort of extended celebration of a friend’s birthday. On this particular day I would accompany her as one of her musical dreams came true.
We started in typical labor day fashion, at a cookout in Echo Park with a lot of food and kids running around making me laugh. As we told their parents of our plans for the night, they reminded us, as parents do, to enjoy it while we don’t have kids because “your life is over once you have them”…but I didn’t believe them.
I had heard of FYF Fest under a rather negative light for the past couple years, but there were two bands on the roster that brought us there: The Dead Milkmen and Death From Above 1979. And in typical festival fashion, they were scheduled to play at the same time. Luckily, DFA booked a one off show the following night, so FYF Fest became reduced to a The Dead Milkmen outdoor show, where my friend could see the band she loved in high school for the first time ever.
We took a train downtown….LA has a train?! There were so few people on it and it’s service was so limited it seemed rather pointless, but was a surreal experience that made me feel like I was back in Europe.
I won’t bore you with details, but it took way too long to get into the festival and even get a drink….which you couldn’t take with you to the stage. What?! The Dead Milkmen were playing a small stage and we got fairly close as they finished setting up. The crowd was full of anticipation as I could see a lot of crusty punk kids who had probably never seen this band before, and probably thought they never would. We laughed at the vocalists’ physical similarity to Maynard James Keenan, especially with his straw cowboy hat on.
I only know a couple of their songs, but once they began I remembered how easy it is to pick up these minute and a half punk rock songs. While I like some punk music, the scene always makes me feel like a misfit, and tonight was no exception. But it was pretty cool to watch this quirky band under the summer night sky with a half moon hanging on one side and the downtown LA skyline framing the other. The mosh pit kicked up a lot of dust, and the punk kids were well prepared, using their bandanas to cover their noses. I watched the crowdsurfers with a newfound appreciation.
I rejoiced when they played this song for personal reasons:
But this is the song that everybody knows:
There’s something pleasant in the simplicity of this music, the happy meets angsty tone to it…but I will forever be an outsider to it, as I will be to music festivals. But getting out of your element makes you appreciate what you love even more.
Wilshire/Vermont Station’s Escalator to Heaven: