The good news is, we're into July coverage. The bad news is, the month is half over. Things have developed into a sort of pattern: the week begins slowly, but then come weekend, I'm going to shows back-to-back-to-back. Unfortunately, that hurts prompt coverage, but thankfully I'm neurotic enough to revisit everything that's happened. Everything I went to over this span was free, and it's unbelievable how much stuff goes on during the summer in this city. I'm incredibly grateful that I live here - and to all the cool people that made it out to these shows, thanks for coming! Let's get to it.
Kode9 - Winter Garden, July 1st
Burial's Untrue was an anomaly. How did such a difficult record get such a response? I guess it's a testament to the power of the 'net, and it looks like the break has given the guy's mates at Hyperdub a boost. Kode9, the founder of the label, spun along with some cohorts at the Winter Garden, and thankfully no one was seated this time. The set reminded me how much I enjoy a good dance party, although this one was a it different than usual. Dubstep really defies conventional dance wisdom: instead of a steady, throbbing beat, the genre calls for stutters and sometimes even silences, which opened a window for applause, something you rarely hear at the usual rave. Along with the sounds, there was remarkable visuals, cascading colors and images that reminded me of a virtuoso's street graffiti. Basically, I danced my ass off.
Official Site: Kode9
Sonic Youth - Battery Park, July 4thDJing). But it was quite a marvel to see the generally sparse Battery Park transformed into a bustling, crowded lawn. It was drizzling in a foreboding manner, but thankfully it didn't break into a downpour for once. There was something patriotic about seeing one of America's truly legendary bands in the flesh - more so because they haven't sacrificed any of the independence that's made them so great. However, I can't say I'm a huge fan, or that I'm that knowledgeable about their back catalogue. It is, as Thurston Moore demonstrated by slicing into his guitar throughout the set, a band founded firmly in noise. Even Kim Gordon's songs were lacerating, her voice close to a keen. But feedback or no, this is still a band to be reckoned with.
The afterparty wasn't bad, either...
St. Vincent - Castle Clinton, July 10th
After a nice week off, we were back to a mostly empty Battery Park, hanging a right for St. Vincent at Castle Clinton. It's a neat venue: walled off, but open to the spectacular downtown cityscape. Unfortunately, the space is mostly filled by chairs, which was nice after some hardcore standing up, but not quite the same as being up against the stage. Annie Clark is something else - she'd be pretentious if she wasn't so incredibly charming. Whether disclosing the origin of her album, Marry Me (Arrested Development) or making little asides ("freedom isn't free"), Clark was just as adorable as she was at Bowery Ballroom. However, the show more orchestral and less rocking, thanks to a bunch of classical musicians accompanying her. Along with the marvelous tracks from Marry Me, Clark played some new ones, including a song that showed off an unlikely influence: Prince. Simply wonderful stuff, and I can't wait to hear the next album.
MP3: St. Vincent - Marry Me
MySpace: St. Vincent
Official Site: St. Vincent
Brazilian Girls - Prospect Park, July 11th
The destination for Friday was Prospect Park (over No Age at the Seaport, as I'm not the biggest fan of them). It was really nice to see a new part of the city - and a lesson that Manhattan doesn't have a monopoly on architecture. A bit of a subway mishap (sorry, guys!) meant that we had a bit of a walk, but seeing the Brooklyn Public Library and Arch was a nice consolation.
The theme of Brazilian Girls' set was globalization. From an obvious, green, wire frame globe to Sabina Sciubba's devilish blend of ethnicities, this was one for the (mixed) masses. They have a new album coming out on August 5th, aptly titled New York City, and the show was all about the fusion of cultures in our city. With some lyrics unprintable in politer publications (which I try to adhere to), the show was dancey, dirty and a lot of fun. Although we weren't particularly familiar with the band, it was impossible not to move. A moment that pretty much encapsulated the set was when Scabbia invited various kids in the crowd onstage: spontaneous, communal. Alas, the place cut them off before "Jique," but we definitely got our money's worth (I chipped in the $3 suggested donation).
MySpace: Brazilian Girls
Official Site: Brazilian Girls
More to come...