Two was the magic number at the long-awaited YAGTHT Fest down at Soma San Diego. Fest number two, two stages, two magic words. What two words could have such an enormous meaning behind them?
If you guessed The Frights, you were right.
You Are Going To Hate This Fest TWO – let me try and sum it up for you, hour by hour, band by band.
1:45 PM- Eager fans begin to file in line outside the seemingly empty venue, chattering amongst themselves. Members of Grove come out to say hi and pump everyone up.
3:00 PM- The doors are OPEN, and not a moment too soon. Hordes of teenagers fill the lobby instantly and run down to swarm the metal barricade. The dark, empty room that is the mainstage is filled with a quiet sort of energy; something wild, untamed, about to be unleashed. That energy is our adrenaline, building up as the minutes go by.
3:15 PM- The first band is ON. Opening for the entire fest is The Thens, taking on sidestage. From there, we had numerous bands rotating between sidestage and mainstage, keeping us entertained at a fast-pace all eight hours.
Grove opened up mainstage with rapid, invigorating songs, throwing out pinatas during new hit “Candy” and wreaking general havoc. Select few from the crowd were invited onstage during “Doc Holliday” which turned into an enormous, onstage dance party. Lawrence, Chris and Pat set the bar pretty high for other bands headlining mainstage.
The Regrettes brought a different atmosphere to stage, being the only female fronted band on the lineup, the messages behind their music not only empower, but influence the current teen generation. The moshing that commenced during their set was some of the heaviest I saw all night. Once Lydia Night, the lead singer of the band, started their set, everyone went crazy, and being on side stage only made it more intense. A clear role model for teen girls looking to get into music and make their voices heard, Lydia’s spunk and rebellious demeanor seemed to radiate energy out into the crowd, intensifying the experience of their set to an entirely new level. Filling the room with an attitude that says, “Fuck you, I’m a girl and I’ll do it better,” this group was clearly a good choice for the fest’s lineup.
When asked about which sets were their favorite, fans across the board agreed that art punk band The Garden outdid themselves yet again. Wyatt and Fletcher Shears brought their A-game to the fest, complete with crowd surfers, raunchy dancing, a cowboy hat, an infamous hoop earring, and “All Access” from their new EP “U Want The Scoop?” Bursting with an infinite supply of energy and personality, it’s obvious to state that The Garden brought forth a fresh wave of excitement from the crowd. Vada Vada, boys.
Another fan favorite was the last sidestage show of the evening, topped off by none other than The Buttertones. In fact, the entire room was packed to bursting, with so many people crowding in that even the walls were sweating. Soma security had to block off the entrances, leaving us being forced to enjoy their set from outside the doors (which means that we were unable to get photos of their set). Nevertheless, they did not disappoint.
Then there was Antwon, the only rapper of the night. I’ll be honest- it got pretty lit at mainstage during that. I’m talking circle pits, bruises, and a very intense dance-off featuring the mischief-making wild children of Opt Out. (Due to camera difficulties, we were also unable to get photos of this musician.)
If you skipped the rest of this article just to find the section that talks about Mikey Carnevale, Richard Dotson, and Marc Finn, (yes, you) look no further than right. Freaking. Here.
10 PM, and the stage is graced by the presence of notorious skate punk Zac Carper, who casually states that he heard SWMRS might make an appearance, leaving all of us in near tears when we realized he was kidding. That brat. He thanked us for coming and supporting the bands, then leaves it up to The Frights to captivate us once more.
By this time, the majority of the us were tired, sweaty, and starving, but as the familiar beachy, windswept chords began to fill the room, our fatigue was forgotten. This is what we had been waiting for. For those of you that know what I’m talking about, it’s that special spark The Frights capture in their songs… That feeling like, hey, everything’s gonna be awesome, no matter what, so keep your head up, and just enjoy yourself, damnit. It’s youth. They captured youth, and it is ours forever.
As the band headed deeper into their set list and our hearts, they danced around previous albums and instead shared a new song with us their latest single, “Whatever,” which immediately riled the audience up into a frendzie, the idea of new music coming very soon was enough to make mouths water and teens cry in anticipation. The bass was loud, but lyrics coming from the crowd, to the stage and back again was louder.
It might’ve been the nagging chants of “Beach Porn, Beach Porn!” Or it might been planned, but closing out with “Of Age,” and yes, Beach Porn, was nothing short of a perfect ending to a perfect evening. From gentle to riveting, energetic to reminiscent, Tungs to Afraid Of The Dark, we were spun in an endless merry go round of emotions by the trio known as The Frights.
Throughout the night, we heard songs from The Thens, Grove, Death Lens, The Soaks, The Regrettes, Culture Abuse, The Buttertones, No Parents, Antwon, The Garden, Tijuana Panthers, and last but not least, our boys from The Frights.
New friends were made, sweat was unavoidable, crowd surfers were caught, and good music was in abundance. One would expect nothing less from round two of You Are Going To Hate This Fest.
To give you an idea of how every single person in that room responded to YAGTHT Fest, let me give you an concept. Think about this:
You might have famous museums, or restaurants, or endangered species in your hometown- but we have The Frights. Call me a braggart, but we’re from their hometown- San Diego, with the sea and days that seem to never run out of sunshine. They’re from here. They’re a part of this city as much as we are. They are a part of us.
And if that isn’t special, then I don’t know what is.
You Are Going To Hate This Fest 2- an ENORMOUS thank you to every single band that played. You were all amazing, and we couldn’t be more proud here at Pure Nowhere. We love you.
Article by Ashdon Byszewski
Photography by Annika Cimas