Siren Festival 2007: Fighting the Heat, Dehydration, and the Crowds

Another year, another Siren Festival. Last year was certainly one of the best Sirens I’ve ever been to (and I’ve been to ALL seven of them, starting w/ the first one in 2001), so I had high hopes for this year’s festival.

I really look forward to going to the fest each year, and every freaking year I manage to forget how hot, sweaty, and exhausting the event is until I actually get there. This time I was a bit more prepared than previous times–equipped with a hat, shades, and two bottles of sunblock. Next year I might go as so far as being one of *those* people, who wear a bathing suit underneath their clothing–you know, in case I want to play Hypodermic Needle Hunt in the sand.

Anyhoo…due to the MTA being awesome and deciding to re-route the N/Q trains to run on the R line, I ended up getting to Coney Island a little later than expected–unfortunately missing White Rabbits. I did however arrive in time to catch a bit of Elvis Perkins in Dearland on the Stillwell Stage b/c everything was running late.

elvis perkins
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We Are Scientists in DC: Guacamole and Chips Is What’s Up

From our special roving reporter, Bao, on the DC WAS show:

So Brooklyn bands, We Are Scientists and Oxford Collapse invaded Washington DC’s Black Cat on Tuesday, with their Aussie friends, the Grates, in tow. Oxford Collapse opened up–not a huge fan of their music but they do put on a good live show.

Photo by Bao.

Instead of talking up the sex appeal of Keith Murray as Laura would, I will take this time to declare my love for Patience Hodgson of the Grates. It’s hard to find a lead singer with more of a stage presence than her. There’s a lot of Karen O in there but with more of a girl next door type of vibe. You can tell she’s always having fun and it seems infectious. Looking into the crowd during their set all I saw were smiling faces. I also saw a lot of parents enjoying the show with their teenage kids – a departure from most indie shows in New York. The old paradigm would have the parent in the back, arms crossed, waiting to take their kid home after the show but no–the DC parents were next to the stage rocking out and having fun.

Coming out to Phil Collin‘s “Against All Odds”, a song that no one wants to admit they know verbatim, We Are Scientists return to the same venue they played 6 months earlier. It was the last night of the tour for We Are Scientists, well not if you count tonight’s show at the Annex, and for a band that never stops touring, they were full of energy. The usual stage banter between Chris and Keith kept the show friendly, and Chris would often talk to the crowd, asking them what’s up with DC lately.

Responding to his own question, “Oh guacamole and chips. Same thing in every city”. The crowd constantly wanted to hear the band’s cover of the classic Ronette’s song “Be My Baby” and they got their wish as both Oxford Collapse and the Grates joined WAS. All those people onstage I felt like it was the equivalent of an indie rock hip-hop show where the entire entourage charges the stage at the end. They ended the show with their perennial hit “The Great Escape” and the parents in the front went crazy. Maybe that’s the solution to uninterested, well-behaved crowds at indie rock shows – bring your parents.

More photos at Bao’s Flickr.

Greetings from Reykjavik

Hola amigos! I’m in Reykjavik right now and it’s SO COLD and the keyboards are different here. Everyone has been so nice and friendly and I just came back from seeing the Northern Lights which was amazing. I missed We Are Scientists (who were on my flight over) tonight as a result, but hey–you probably would have made the same choice…which is more important, local band or seeing a natural wonder?

Let’s see, what else? I’m here with my friend Rachel and we keep seeing David Fricke everywhere. We see him walking around with a short leather jacket and carying vinyl records with him. How appropriate. Tomorrow hoping to see a band called Reykjavik! who all the Icelandic people keep talking about. Hopefully also catching the Whitest Boy Alive. Might be missing the Klaxons because they are on the same time. Anway, looking forward to Kaiser Chiefs this week and some band full of 19 year old boys I read about on the plane ride over.

Besides it being bitterly cold at night the weather is GORGEOUS and I can’t believe I can see mountains when I walk outside my hotel. Bed is calling me–I have only slept about 3 hours in the last two days. Need to store up my energy for the next three days of non-stop rock ‘n’ rolling.

Ciao for now mes amis.


The Gaskets Are My New Favorite Band

I gotta clean up my apartment before my friends come over to stay for their first time in NYC, but I just had to share with you this video of The Gaskets I made on my little point-and-shoot camera tonight. I was DJing The Music Slut‘s one-year anniversary party at The Delancey and these boys were headlining. I. WAS. BLOWN. AWAY. by how amazing they were. Think We Are Scientists meets Wham! (yes, I went there!)

WATCH: “End Game” by The Gaskets @ The Delancey, NYC (I love the dancing!)

I angrily asked my friend why I didn’t know they existed until now, and he told me it was because I don’t read blogs. He’s right. I don’t. But you do, obviously…so PLEASE check them out on Myspace right now.

During the set, sequencer Ross took my hand and pulled me up on stage as part of a bit they do where they “heal” someone in the audience. Having never seen them before/ known anything about them I had no idea this was coming, so when they asked me what my ailment was, I quickly decided upon the first thing that came to my head–“the shakes”. Then I proceeded to do the Pete Wentz shake when promted by the Gasket boys. I was then told to do a trust fall after I’d been “healed”…which I did. Then I ran off the stage as soon as I could. Hahahah.

I’m probably going to get busted on this, but I don’t care. Lead singer Ted Blanks is a hottie of Keith Murray proportion. Check it out, ladies:

ted blanks

More (shirtless) photos over at Flickr.

More later!

Experts at the Crowd Invasion: Art Brut

So after The Raconteurs finished up their set at Tower Records on Thursday, I actually ended up heading over to the Art Brut show at Knitting Factory…again, because Miss K had an extra ticket.

We got there just in time to see the last couple songs by Art Brut 47, including their final song, “Great Escape”, during which Eddie and Jasper from Art Brut, and Paula from The Chalets came onstage to do some rump-shaking. If you look carefully at the photo below, you’ll notice “47” taped onto the Art Brut backdrop. Cute!

art brut 47

Now the Thursday night show was the first ever Art Brut show I’d been to, so I had NO idea that this night was going to be the same exact show. And I’m not just saying that…anyone who’s seen Art Brut more than once will tell you that the show is HIGHLY scripted–even down to the between-song banter. It doesn’t make the show any less fun, but it becomes more like a Mystery Science Theater experiment, where I end up trying to make funny comments to the person next to me the entire show, and I tell them what’s coming next.

Anyway, the upside was I knew exactly when Eddie would jump into the crowd during “Bang Bang Rock and Roll” and I managed to get some pretty hilarious shots of him crowd surfing. But my favorite photo is the one where Eddie had run to the side door and into the middle of the crowd. About half the people in the front near the stage didn’t realize that Eddie had jumped into the crowd again, so little did they realized the guy totally spazing out behind them was actually the lead singer of Art Brut.

Also somewhere in the middle of getting stupid retarded Eddie managed to lose his belt, so when he got pulled up onto the stage, he ended up giving us a half-moon has his pants started falling down. Brilliant!

Still all in all Art Brut is a phenomenal live band and is kinda like watching your favorite musical–even though you know what’s coming you can’t but help love indulging in it.

art brut

art brut

art brut

More Art Brut-ness over at Brooklyn Vegan, The Music Slut, Yeti Don’t Dance, Stereogum

Art Brut 47: Top of the Pops

Ok, I’m so freaking tired. Art Brut just got out at 1:30am from Knitting Factory.

Here’s a note: If you’re going to stage dive, please don’t stage dive on top of me–unlike the guy at the Art Brut show tonight. I’m little and you could crush me.

Some quick notes: The Chalets are AWESOME. Robocop Kraus reminded me why there are NOT that many German indie rock bands. Art Brut 47 (aka We Are Scientists) rocked and have the cutest band members this side of The Strokes. And Art Brut produced the most uncontrolable concert-goers ever and totally impressed me with their commanding stage show.

The theme of the show was “sex”, with The Chalets dedicating a song to Chevy Chase (who is “so not gay. Sooooo not gay”), Art Brut 47 insisting that one song was about having sex with The Chalets, and another one was about “doing it slow” to Art Brut.

Art Brut also found themselves singing about sex with the Chalets and also singer Eddie Argos “fessing up” about the namesake of the song Emily Kane, telling the crowd that Emily actually contacted him and that he now thinks that if a relationship doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out for a reason. Then he dedicated the song to happiness to all of our exes and happiness with other people. Then during the encore, Eddie told the crowd that it was ok to “act like a slut” during “Good Weekend.” Yesssss.
robocop kraus

art brut 47

art brut

This picture would have been more awesome if I had the proper settings on my camera. Whoops!

art brut

art brut

Read more over at Music Snobbery.