XIU XIU AND DEERHOOF PLAY JOY DIVISION'S UNKNOWN PLEASURES / WHY? / FANG ISLAND / PICTUREPLANE at East River Park, Brooklyn, NY; July 11, 2010
Summer in NYC has arrived and brought with it came nasty, unbearable sweat inducing heat and humidity. Fortunately, relief comes in the form of JellyNYC's free Pool Parties. JellyNYC is celebrating five years of bringing a rotating roster of indie bands to Williamsburg, Brooklyn for eight Sundays over the course of July and August. And while this year's certainty seemed to be touch and go-it appears that Senator Chuck Schumer came to the rescue. Too bad hipsters don't vote.
Remaining along the Brooklyn side of the East River, JellyNYC has incorporated a few changes for the better. The stage is much larger and now faces West so that you lose the view of Manhattan's skyline but you're no longer competing with the sun to try and watch the bands. The food vendors have been upgraded and now include Roberta's pizza (the have a portable wood burning oven), The Meat Hook and Mexican food. Brooklyn Brewery is once again handling the suds.
For the purists-dodgeball remains but has been relegated to the spot where the bands used to play and the "arena" seems to have shriveled. Don't worry girls and boys there's still enough room so you can get an eyeful of shirtless young men trying their best to regain whatever they lost on their childhood blacktops.
The first Sunday line-up featured opener Pictureplanes which consisted of a Denver resident, Travis Egedy, who looked like he walked straight off Telegraph Avenue, minus the dog, but "played" music like he was DJing the Crystal Pistol. Egedy was accompanied by a dancer in a fat suit and another in some sort of bacon sandwich get-up that made me think it was time to eat. Do they still have raves?
Next up was Brooklyn's own Fang Island who has been hogging the press lately and was tapped to open a handful of dates for The Flaming Lips as well as for the Stone Temple Pilots. Good luck with the latter, boys. FI brought some nice wake-up guitar noise that shook everyone out of their Pictureplane induced comas. Nice set that rocked the river, better than expected, but the Harry Potter hoods have to go.
Why? was up next and the name says it all. Cake meets They Might Be Giants with songs about masturbation, cocaine and killing puppies-next!
The headliner was a marriage of two bands, Xiu Xiu and Deerhoof, literally covering some sacred ground by taking on Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures. It could have been an absolute disaster but it wasn't at all. Instead of creating some shitty art party deconstruction, they played it smart and stuck very close to the original-including the breaking of glass into a miced metal trashcan during "I Remember Nothing." It wasn't Ian Curtis but for that day it was close enough.
See you all next week for the triple threat of The Murder City Devils / Obits / Jeff the Brotherhood-don't be late.
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