Friday, July 24, 2009

We Dance to the Sounds of Sirens.

I spent the entirety of last Saturday in Coney Island at the Siren Music Festival. This, I admit, is overdue by about five days, but I still feel like I should write about it. The festival's been a mainstay in Coney Island over the last decade, with two free stages, a good amount of bands that are on the brink of making it big in indie circles, and a couple of big names every year since 2001.

Since there was a lot of overlap, I didn't get to see all of the bands, but I'll recap the ones that I did catch:

Tiny Masters of Today: They were the first band I saw all day, and I'm kind of glad that things got better from here. The band is made up of this brother and sister, and I think the oldest one is like 15? As such, they were (kind of expectedly) really, really awkward on stage. While watching them, all I could really say is, "Aww, that girl's adorable! What is she, 9?"

They'll probably figure it out in a few years.

Bear Hands: I honestly had no idea who these guys were, but my friend Alex recommended them to me. Now, I get it. They were super, super high energy, they commanded the stage, they interacted well with the crowd, and they looked really comfortable, which led to a great performance. They kind of sounded like Electric Six meets Eagles of Death Metal, for anyone who knows either of those bands. If you don't? Well, just check them out. Their music is catchy, and that's all it needs to be. Also, this video is apparently taken from the top of one of their amplifiers, so it looks a bit like Cloverfield:

Miccachu and the Shapes: I hadn't heard of these guys beforehand, but after watching them, they seemed like a really strange choice for a festival lineup. Here's what I mean:

Also, Mica herself spent half of the set playing a guitar that I could've sworn was a toy. Seriously.

Japandroids: Oh, yeah, ohhhhhhhhh yeahhhhhhhhhhh. This is what we came to see. The two guys in Japandroids seemed really overwhelmed by the size of the crowd (seriously, it was all they kept saying in between songs), but you'd never know it by their performance. Awesome. Loud, punky singalongs are exactly what the crowd needed, and everyone seemed into it. Apologies for the crappy sound quality on this one:

Frightened Rabbit: I think I was most excited for Frightened Rabbit of any of the bands on the schedule, because they put out one of my favorite albums of last year, The Midnight Organ Fight. Sadly, they were a little bit disappointing. I dunno what it was. I guess they kind of thrive off of studio polish. You be the judge:

Future of the Left: We only saw the last couple of songs of this set after walking over from Frightened Rabbit, but I regret not seeing the whole thing. When we arrived, the band had everyone chanting and singing, and by the end of the set, the bassist ended up really deep into the crowd. Also, SWEET BURNS in the first fifteen seconds:

Spastic doesn't do this set justice, and what I saw of it was great.

A Place to Bury Strangers: When I saw APTBS at NYU in the winter, it was at a really small venue, where we just got punished by a wall of sound. This time around, it was in an enormous space, with a ton of people and less awesome acoustics. Moral: if you get a chance to see them, the tinier the room, the better.

Also, literally everything that I said about them in this post held true. Even when he broke the strings on his guitar, swung it around by said strings, tried to put them back, then grabbed a new guitar and finished the last song. That's a fifteen-minute spectacle that's only worth seeing once.

Built to Spill: I love Built to Spill, but we got buried so far in the back for this, it didn't seem worth staying, so we left in the middle of their set. This isn't to say they weren't good or anything (in fact, I was enjoying their setlist a lot; we left right after "Strange" from Ancient Melodies of the Future), but we were just too far back to enjoy it. But enjoy "Strange!"

Spank Rock: After the Built to Spill fiasco, we just left and headed for the subway to beat the crowds, so we didn't get to see Spank Rock... BUT there is one interesting tidbit about this. When we got into the subway and were sitting in the car, waiting for it to pull away, we could still very easily hear the bass coming from Spank Rock's set, well across the street, pretty far away. They probably killed it, and by "it," I mean "someone."

And that's that. Later today, I'll probably write about the Paul McCartney concert I stumbled my way into, and sometime this week, my misadventures with Lil Wayne.


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