Sunday, July 22, 2007

Siren Music Festival

I just have to start out by saying that it's awesome that two of my last three days has revolved around live music, fresh air and water. Oh and click the pictures to make them bigger.

Yesterday was the Village Voice's Siren Music Festival. 12 bands, 2 stages, all free at Coney Island. Now, I'm actually kind of disappointed in myself because I had planned to try to hit up almost every band, but that didn't happen. At all. I didn't even make it out there until 2:30pm because I kept getting distracted or getting important phone calls. Plus when I got there, navigating the crowds was hard and energy-consuming, so bouncing back and forth between stages proved a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.

I have to say, the weather was pretty much perfect. It was a little hot in the direct sunlight, but overall it was quite a pleasant day to spend outside at concerts by the ocean. Coney Island is such an interesting place, and even when there isn't a big event happening the people watching is always fun. Even moreso at times like the Siren Festival though. My friend Laura's boss was like "I saw hipsters crying!" haha.

Anyway, so the first group I saw was Elvis Perkins in Dearland. They were pretty good. The band was just so high energy and they all played off each other, which was really great. I love when you know the people are really having fun performing. I would actually have to say though, Elvis probably had the least energy, which is weird since he's the front man. The drummer was the coolest. I was really glad when he picked up a Bass drum and came to the front of the stage and could move around for a song instead of being stuck in the back behind a drum set. I also liked that they played instruments not necessarily typical of a rock band.

When I left Elvis Perkins, I went to find my friend Laura, which was surprisingly difficult and took quite a while. I caught like 2 minutes of Dr. Dog in looking for her. They seemed cool, but I didn't get a very good feel for them since I was focusing on finding Laura. By the time I found her, I was already exhausted from crowd navigating, haha. Laura and her friend were even more exhausted because they had been there since 1:30 working, so we relaxed on the boardwalk for a while and ate. Unfortunately, this meant I missed The Noisettes, who I really wanted to see. We did wander past the stage at one point and it sounded like so much fun though. I probably should've just gone and watched them by myself, but I felt like that meant I would never find Laura again and I'm not so big on the going to concerts by myself thing.

Finally we decided to hit up the mainstage right before Black Lips went on so that we could slowly move our way up for We Are Scientists and MIA. I have to say, Black Lips was really not so memorable. For some reason they just weren't holding my attention. I kind of spaced out or talked to people through their whole show. The only things I remember about them was the way they jumped up and down a lot and, while I can't say they lacked energy, it didn't actually seem like they were having fun - it seemed really rehearsed to me - and how one of their songs sounded very 60s pop-ish (and only that one song really) but yet they looked very... 90s? I dunno. They had awesome mustaches though... Haha. I remember that much.

Next was We Are Scientists. I managed to push my way up a little more as people left between shows, so I could actually see them pretty well. I really liked them a lot. Great groove-able rock music. Kind of reminiscent of The Killers or Franz Ferdinand with maybe a little Eagles of Death Metal thrown in or something. I'm sad that I didn't get any good pictures of them. As you may be able to tell, this one is blurry. Anyway, they were really fun. Another group that you could tell was really having fun performing. My favorite song they did was "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt." Definitely a crowd favorite and good for singing along to.

Next was MIA, who I love and I'd been wanting to see forever. No matter how much I listen to her music I don't ever really get sick of it. Her music just makes everyone want to dance. My friend Laura was even more excited than I was though, and the second that We Are Scientists was done she grabbed my arm with one hand and used her other arm to literally elbow her way through the crowd. She was like "any bitches get in my way, they're going down!" and one girl nearby kind of laughed and Laura just looked at her and said "you think I'm kidding?" and then proceeded to elbow past a few more people. We got pretty close. I'm glad she was with me because I wouldn't have been quite so aggressive about shoving up. We were in the equivalent of what would've been the 4th row (if you exclude the VIP section). It was pretty awesome. Although for a while I was stuck behind this annoying guy who kept his (fat) arms up the whole time (he kept trying to wave at her or something...) so it was a little hard for me to see and really hard for me to get decent pictures. But the music was good. The crowd was loving it. Even though there was hardly any space, everyone was dancing, at least as much as they could.

MIA is pretty adorable. Every now and then she would stop to talk about getting her Visa and what a bitch that was. Or to talk about how thirsty she was. "I've drank everything on this stage" she joked. At one point her wireless mic went out on her, so she grabbed a wired one, but then she kept walking to far and unplugging it accidentally so she stopped the show and was like "I can't be on a leash!" When she got a wireless mic back, she actually handed the wired mic to some random person in the audience. She's just awesome that way. She goes "now we can have a real conversation." Her backup singer/dancer was pretty cool too. One of my favorite moments was when some random girl somehow ran up on the stage and started dancing for only a brief moment before a security guard grabbed her and carried her off stage, but then MIA actually pulled a different random girl out of the VIP section and onto the stage with her. I think the guy in front of me was livid with jealousy. He was really obsessed. There was this beach ball she was playing with briefly on stage and then kicked it out to the audience and he tried to keep it because she touched it but his friend was like "um, everyone else will kill you." I definitely would've because it was obstructing my view even more than his arms that he never put down.

Last to perform on the Mainstage was The New York Dolls. When all the MIA-ers left, I suddenly was front and center so I decided to stick around, even though I'm not all that familiar with them (but they are kind of legendary, so I mean, why wouldn't I take the opportunity to see them front row for free). By this time though, everything was running late, so they didn't go on until almost 8pm and two of my really good friends were having a birthday party, so I actually didn't end up staying for that long. I stayed for the first maybe 15 minutes of their set. They were fun. The lead singer is kind of... too skinny. Yay drugs! But they still glam-rocked the night away. Gotta say, loved their outfits. My favorite was the guy in the pink. And they seemed like they were having a blast. Too bad only two of the original members are left. Although it has been 36 years and all... I'm pretty impressed that any of them are still performing with the amount of energy they had. I probably would've stayed longer if it weren't for these two really pushy people crushing me from either side. I just got a little claustrophobic and by that time I was exhausted and sore from standing all day, so I wasn't in the mood to deal with it. Getting back out was not fun either though... Yikes.

On my way out, I stopped by the Stillwell stage and caught a few minutes of Cursive, but I didn't have any energy left so I just stood at the back for like 10 minutes. Maybe it was because I was so tired and standing in the back (and couldn't really see because of it) with people who were just chilling out, but it was really hard for me to get into, so I decided to try to get ahead of the crowd and head to the subway.

The line up this year was so great. I'm really kind of sad that I couldn't see everyone. There were very few bands I wasn't interested in seeing. But I still had a very good day, and it's not every day you get to see 5 or so bands for free. Ok, hope everyone else who went had fun too! Tata dahlings.

While You Were Sleeping ~ Elvis Perkins (Ash Wednesday) - iTunes
Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt ~ We Are Scientists (With Love and Squalor) - iTunes
10 Dollar ~ MIA (Arular) - iTunes
Personality Crisis ~ New York Dolls (New York Dolls) - iTunes

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