Village Voice 4Knots Festival – July 16, 2011 – Part 1: Titus Andronicus, Black Angels

On Saturday I was lucky enough to be in town for the first ever 4Knots Festival presented by the Village Voice. The 4 Knots fest is the replacement for the now defunct Siren Festival — the VV’s free music event on Coney Island. If memory serves me correct, I had attended each and every Siren Fest during it’s 10 year run. So it was only fitting that I attend the son of Siren.

Trading the tip of Brooklyn for the tip of Manhattan, the 4 Knots fest took place at Pier 17 at the famed South Street Seaport. It was a bit of a relief to find out that 4Knots only had one stage — Siren Fest always had a “Main” stage and a second “Stillwell” stage, which was kind of annoying because you’d find yourself running up and down the boardwalk all day long trying to catch all the different sets — never being able to fully watch all of them.

Butt pirates...hehehe (sorry)

On top of that, the VIP tents were situated behind the stages — which basically made for the most ginormous clusterf*ck toward the end of the night. By the headlining sets you knew that if you dared leave the pit, you might never get back in — and if you never left, you’d probably be surrounded by a bunch of folks who seemed exceedingly more interested in the free Bud Light than they were in the actual music.

4Knots was far more pleasant — VIP folks were sanctioned off on the Peking ship — off to the side of the stage, leaving the pit for people who actually needed to be there.

I suppose there was a “second stage” of sorts — the 4Knots indoor lounge on Front Street — brilliant because it was indoors with air conditioning, as well as the fact that it was open to the public. Fans of acts like Brahms, Yeasayer, and Dan Deacon could come listen to the celeb DJs spin their favorite tunes while taking photos at the Pop Chips booth, or singing karaoke.

But it wasn’t that bad to be outside — the sun was shining, it was pretty damn hot, but not actually that humid. Couldn’t ask for a better day.

Ok, but enough commentary on the setup — let me just give you the low down on the actual event:

Hands down my favorite act of the day was Titus Andronicus. I had seen Titus Andronicus play a couple times before (in the oxygen-deprived basement of Lit, at MHOW for ATJF ), but never have I seen them truly shine in the way I did this weekend.

The energy, enthusiasm, and love that radiated through the band and the crowd during their set absolutely blew me away. I was genuinely excited by their raucous, explosive set filled with their raw, yet poetic tunes. You could see in the faces of the fans that this band truly MEANS something to them. The devotion I saw in these kids was the kind that can produce involuntary body convolutions. The crowd felt like one giant organism, breathing, singing, cheering, and watching in unison. So many of the kids up front had clear eyes that were fixed on the every move of lead singer Patrick Stickles.

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