Dirty Projectors LIVE review and pictures by Troy Brookins
Aug 10, 2009, 05:06
DIRTY PROJECTORS / MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO. / CRYSTAL ANTLERS at East River Park, Brooklyn, NY; July 19, 2009
Time to keep Sunday afternoons free—JellyNYC is back with their free Pool Parties. When word leaked last year that the McCarren Park Pool venue would revert to a public swimming pool it was questionable whether Brooklyn would retain the weekly event. The solution was to move the party a few blocks over to East River State Park, so now the happening comes with a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline.
Sunday July 19th was the second in this years' series and featured a perfect NYC summer day along with a diverse bill featuring Crystal Antlers, Magnolia Electric Co. and Dirty Projectors. Gone is the popular slip'n'slide and local beer, but dodgeball and Budweiser remain. Because the event takes place in a state park, there is a designated drinking area that allows a good view of the bands. The new venue is larger than the old, which gives hope to all who wanted to catch the Dan Deacon/ Deerhunter/ No Age show as well as the Grizzly Bear/ Beach House bill that will close out the Pool Parties series for the year.
Long Beach, CA's own Crystal Antlers opened with a vicious set of chill inducing raw-psych-power that ended far too soon. Singer/bassist Johnny Bell brought back old-school AmRep ferocity with a delivery that raised the hairs on the back of your neck while guitarists Errol Davis and Andrew King did their best to destroy your eardrums. Their Touch and Go debut, Tentacles, remains an unjustly underrated record that should have generated more buzz than it has. If you haven't checked these guys out yet and are longing for a good dose of intense noise-filled rawk, you would be hard pressed to find someone doing it better.
Jason Molina's Magnolia Electric Co. followed with a set of somber country flavored songs that showcased the new disc, Josephine, as well as a few favorites from the back catalog. A mustachioed Molina shared his excitement for being able to play the outdoor event but also acknowledged that the music of Magnolia Electric Co. isn't exactly uplifting. This is especially true with the latest material. Josephine is a collection of songs that make funeral dirges sound upbeat. The crowd was less than enthusiastic but reserved. This was unfortunate because Molina deserved better. Even though it has been six years, the transition from the much loved Songs: Ohia to Magnolia Electric Co. hasn't been easy on the fans. But to Molina's credit, he hasn't looked back and continues to play it his way.
Indie favorites Dirty Projectors headlined and left me wondering why everyone is in love with this band. Lead Projector, Dave Longstreth has been labeled genius by many but I wasn't convinced. It was boring and tepid. I kept waiting for something to happen. I wanted something to build on, but it never came. It was hard to believe that those who found Magnolia Electric Co. lackluster were digging Dirty Projectors. If nothing else, I guess at least the dissimilarity of the bands offered something for everyone, so there you go.