It was surreal walking down North 6th Street in the daytime. Shows tend to start pretty late at Music Hall of Williamsburg, and The Bunker at Public Assembly doesn't really get going until midnight, so I'm always in the area when it's dark. But on Saturday at noon, I found myself hurrying over to the BrooklynVegan day party, announced just a few days prior, the start of what would be an epic day of music. (The final band count would be 17.)
We arrived at the venue, and thankfully there wasn't that dreaded line at the door. It was actually pretty smooth throughout the day, and I have to give the promoters huge credit for squeezing in so many people and bands in just a few hours. The sets were pretty short, clocking in at around 25 minutes each, but as the saying goes, quality over quantity.
Morning Teleportation started things off, veering from psychedelic licks to twangier territory. Singer Tiger Merritt's falsetto was paired nicely with some oohs from his bandmates, and he also a tube strapped to his mic for some vocoder action. A trumpet finished off the eclectic arsenal.
The great Ted Leo was next, with an unusually early set time, as he had to play the WFMU Record Fair later in the afternoon. He played without the Pharmacists, flexing his electric guitar muscles. Unfortunately he had to cut a couple tracks to stay on schedule, and sadly there was no "Me and Mia" or, for that matter, Kelly Clarkson to be had. He did, however, finish things off with a cover of Robyn's "With Every Heartbeat," transmuting the electro pop into guitar wizardry, without sacrificing the emotion. (Here's video footage of "The High Party," and here's some more "official" videos.)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. had the most distinct outfits of the week, wearing logo-emblazoned jumpsuits in the tradition of NASCAR drivers. They also placed two light-up "J" and "R" blocks to flank the stage, and at one point one guy flung on a light-up jacket. So, quite the visual spectacle, and the music was pretty fun as well, with sunny two-part harmonies that stayed hooky, despite some songs that were apparently about corporations.
After seeing Wild Nothing open for Stars a month ago, I was struck by the contrast between their live sets and their record, Gemini. The album has a mesmerizing sheen, while the band sounds more direct on stage. But having listened to the record to death over the last couple weeks, I was really looking forward to seeing them play again, and the intimacy of Public Assembly was fantastic compared to cavernous Terminal 5. Those tightly coiled hooks were awesome, and the band hummed along, tossing in some songs from EPs, along with their full-length material.
Wild Nothing will be playing tonight (Thursday) at NYU's Kimmel Center, with Baths (more on him later) and Julianna Barwick. Highly recommended.
Here's "Summer Holiday" from the show, capturing the set nicely. "Chinatown" is also up.
I'm not really a Titus Andronicus fan - they seem like perfectly nice people, but it's just a bit too raw and not melodic enough with me. But it was definitely a bummer to see the band get cut off - apparently by mistaken - by the sound guy after just a few songs. They started off the short set with "A More Perfect Union," which rocked pretty hard, and the band was constantly in motion, jumping about the small stage.
Then, it was time to hurry up to North 11th for #Offline Festival. That review will be posted soon.
Rest of the photos after the jump.
Dale Eardhardt Jr. Jr.