Scene and Heard
By Jen Carlson
Ah, summer in the city. Who doesnt have a love-hate thing for it? On the one hand, there are a ton of free concerts. On the other, there is the heat, the humidity, the sweating and the odorific smell of hot trash and fish hovering in the thick air. Luckily, music can cut right through that stink, like a little scented pine tree hanging on the rearview mirror.
Let me start with summer concert #1, which came a little late, on June 28th. This one brought me to Red Hook. At the end of my road, the three essential Bs awaited me at The Hook: Broken Social Scene, brie, and blueberry beer. On top of that, all the qualifiers for a summer concert were accounted for:
Hot, humid weather: check
Outdoor space: check
Awesome band: check
Broken Social Scene took the indoor stage and played an amazing, long, set. Amy Millan from the band Stars was there as the female voice for the band (often its Feist or Emily Haines from Metric). At the end of the night Andrew Kenny from American Analog Set played a song or two to a very appreciative crowd. Its hard to beat a summer show like this one.
Summer concert #2 brought me over to Belle & Sebastian at Battery Park. The place was filled with those lucky enough to get tickets at random, unamed coffee shops throughout town (a promotional/ticket distribution nightmare for fans). The band provided a perfect lazy July 4th afternoon for everyone who did get in. Singer Stuart Murdoch has a great way of working the crowd with banter, antics and a sweet, sweet voice. Ive since rediscovered my love for the band and have been listening to them non-stop since.
Summer concert #3 was at my favorite New York venue, the Seaport Music Festival on Pier 17. The stage is seasonal and brings an eclectic range of musicians throughout the summer. I was there to see Juana Molina, an ex-sketch comic (à la Tracey Ullman) turned eccentric, mellow mood rocker. The water behind the stage, as always, provided the perfect backdrop to the sound.
There are plenty more shows past, present and future, but for now lets stick to the latter.
Sunday is usually the best day for outdoor shows, and July 30th promises to be a special one. Over at McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn, Asobi Seksu, Irving, Enon and Of Montreal will be playing as everyone watches from the concrete pit that used to be filled with water. Theres an extra special sideshow, too: Dodgeball, which proves to be almost as entertaining as whoever is on stage.
If you crave some air conditioning, check out Die!Die!Die! and Goes Cube at the Annex (152 Orchard St; 212-673-9058) on August 1st. I recently saw Goes Cube and I had just one reaction, which, if I were to put it in words, would probably sound similar to Darryl Hannahs window-breaking screech in Splash. Do check them out (and bring ear plugs).