Eli Paperboy Reed photos first city festival
Eli “Paperboy” Reed

As the earliest birds, we rose and shined to welcome First City Festival as the festival made its flashy debut in Monterey to showcase some of the most talented bands of our time. As we made our way in we rushed to the Cypress Stage to catch a glimpse of Eli “Paperboy” Reed where the idea manifested of us trying to go backstage with our passes. We succeeded and got to catch a momentum of some of the members lives as we exchanged clothing ideas with the wife and keyboardist of Washed Out, and to end with a cherry on top chatted about how it is to perform in different festivals and how they had made their decision of playing at First City Festival instead of FYF with the guitarist and drummer of Black Angels. We had luck on our side as we were also able to stand on stage as Eli “Paperboy” Reed serenaded the crowd with their 60’s soul starting off the day with groovy dance moves and playful guitar sing-alongs.

Washed Out photos first city festival
Washed out

Mid interval we enjoyed a delicious vegetable burrito with a cold brew which did less than disappoint as we realized that the fashion aspect was not fully there when we witness the brutally dead trend of the raccoon tale, I guess being five hours away from L.A. does take a toll on the charismatic sense of style. Magically that lead to Guards winning over the Manzanita Stage with their melodic synths and good looks that lead singer Richie Follin’s long locks had to offer. Their divine soul rhythm and rich vocals reminded me of the power-pop 60s and 70s dance era and nothing less. As they arrived to an end, we raced to catch the tail of Father John Misty as he flashed his dance moves along to his conceptual pop rock ‘n’ roll as an airplane flew closely above our heads, which then gave him a reason to joke about how much he spent for that airplane to nicely come in at the end of his set, as though it were the grand finale. We transcended into a chain reaction which led to the main Redwood Stage as Beach House fed the crowd their gorgeous songs that made me feel as though I was in a bubble of slow-moving fireworks with gleaming edges.

mgmt photos first city festival

By that point I was long lost in the crowd of dreamers and luckily got out in enough time to reach the deep floor tom beats and snare rim shots of Delta Spirit. With their electronic toys and synthetic colors, they dressed their tunes with an Americana sound heavy with accents from the South that sparked enough energy in me to teleport into MGMT‘s set. Their trippy entrance was welcomed as they mixed in some of their new songs such as “Your Life is a Lie” with “Kids” converting their set into a psychedelic sonic bubble with un-flitered noodling tendencies that ended with a vibrant blast. It was by far my favorite set as they ended with “Time to Pretend” which was remixed into a mixture of their new hazy psych sound.

Passion Pit photos First City FestivalPassion Pit

As the end was approaching and our legs were shaken off from dancing as if it were our last song, we moved into a more downtempo disco vibe as Washed Out gifted us with a break of smoothness. Their chill-wave prolonged fantasy and resonance while the prettiness of the night made for a lush surreal moment of live music and good vibes. It’s safe to say we were in the same vibrations and felt the consistence of the hip-hop beats that leaked through Washed Out’s pop tearing it down. We ran a long with many other festival kids as we reached Passion Pit kicking off their set with their shimmering and manic dark tunes. Everyone around us seemed pleased with the night almost coming to an end as they melted to the europhoric sounds. It released an energy that craved for some life on the dance floor as they ended with “Sleepy Head,” which was just about how we were feeling. It was a perfect close to a day filled with great energy and music.

Words: Marilyn Monroy

Photography: Luis Wolf Rodriguez


first city festival photos

delta spirit photos first city festival
Delta Spirit

Beach House photos first city festival
Beach House

Father John Misty photos first city festival
Father John Misty

first city festival photos

guards photos first city festival

guards photos first city festival


For more photos of the bands and fans at First City Festival, click through the photo gallery below!