Nothing quite says summer like free music. The South Street Seaport kicked off the season of shows on Friday, May 30th with Wire, a band that I probably should be more familiar with. They're undeniably influential, not merely for post-punkers like Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand, but they've also been embraced by more electro-minded artists, a direction they apparently took later on. I came across "The 15th" on Ladytron's Softcore Jukebox comp, and the song's also been covered by Fischerspooner. Still, nothing quite beats seeing a band in the flesh.
Die! Die! Die!
But first, the opener: Die! Die! Die! were about as subtle as their name, but directness isn't always a bad thing. It was definitely an explosive start, but marred somewhat by vocals, which weren't particularly melodic or lyrically interesting. But as a friend pointed out, they're a very young band, and what they have streaming online sounds more appealing than what I heard live.
MySpace: Die! Die! Die!
I like to think that the abundance of free shows offers an experience that goes beyond just music. It's an opportunity to visit a parts of the city that are beyond the scope of everyday living - in this case the south-western tip of Manhattan, an area that, truth be told, isn't terrible interesting during most of the year. The financial district closes early, and doesn't have the character of SoHo or Midtown, aside from the repetition of concrete. But that changes from June to August, as the neighborhood becomes at least a temporary setting for various cultural events. The schedule for River To River is packed, and the Seaport is a particularly vibrant destination - and not just for tourists.
So I'd like to offer a belated thanks to everyone whom I managed to drag to the show. I know that a lot of us weren't that familiar with the bands, but sometimes that's part of the fun. Summer's about halfway through, but there's plenty of stuff upcoming (and plenty still that I've been to and neglected to write about - it's coming) - and I hope to see you there!
Since I lack the proper experience with Wire that would allow me to be properly retrospective here, I'll just offer some observations. It was relentless, if a bit repetitive, but also pretty familiar. To be honest, there wasn't that much musically unique about Wire - and again, that isn't necessarily a negative thing. Even without knowing any of the material aside from "The 15th," I was nodding along pretty much all night, a pretty solid indication of enjoyment. I suppose my mindset these days, having approached indie rock saturation, is trying to pick out what differentiates a show from the others. But Wire doesn't really have anything to prove, so that criteria isn't as valid. Anyhow, it was a fun way to kick things off, but it was only the beginning.
MP3: Wire - The 15th
MP3: Fischerspooner - The 15th
Official Site: Wire