By Deborah Stoll
The fact that KXLU hasnâ€™t put on a music festival in their entire 57 years on air seems odd, considering it’s been part of the music fabric in Los Angeles for so long. Thankfully, KXLU currently has the energetically proactive Mukta Mohan as its general manager, and the first KXLU Fest took flight Sunday afternoon on the campus of Loyola Marymount.
â€œThis is something that every DJ and director team has wanted to do for years,â€ Mukta explained. â€œBut it takes a lot of work to put together.â€
KXLU DJs took turns spinning in-between bands, and booths dotted the edges of the lawn representing the likes of Burger Records, a batik tent that might have been selling incense? Earrings? A screen printer reproduced the eventâ€™s poster art, and there was a table where attendees could make their own pins using images cut from magazines.
But really this wasnâ€™t a festival about stuff, it was about music.
Monster Rally kicked things off under the clear, bright sky with a Fantasia-like mash-up of lush instrumentals and hip-hop beats triggered by rhythmic wrist flips.
The minute GRMLNâ€™s set started, everyone got to their feet. With their â€™60s-inspired garage-rock and sing-alongs sprinkled with “whoa-whoa-whoa” choruses, frontman Yoodoo Park and his band got the crowd moving.
Next up was So Many Wizards. Poppy with off-kilter syncopation, the well-crafted songs managed to feel big while remaining precious-free, compelling more than a few people in the audience to sing along. As front-man Nima Kazerouni told me, the bandâ€™s present lineup feels like heâ€™s finally found his missing links.
Everyone watching the Audacityâ€™s set was properly and collectively awed. Part Gibby Haynes, part Ramones, with a gauzy layer of David Lee Roth thrown in for good measure, the O.C. band could be the poster boys for the garage-punk scene. Their set made it feel like everyone was just hanging out at a neighborâ€™s impromptu house party thinking, “This band is crazy good and we are never going to get this close to their stage riser again because theyâ€™re gonna go off now and open for Ty Segall.”
No Age rounded out the afternoon inciting the rowdiest mosh pit of the day â€” the aggression of the music in direct contrast to their happy-to-be-here attitude undeterred by early technical difficulties. Their suggestion for the crowd as everyone patiently waited for the set to start?
â€œStudents, open your books to rock band 101. This is sound check.â€
Photos by Shane F. King