Biscuits, Triscuits…

Brooklyn Pool Parties are Back!
July 15, 2009, 7:54 am
Filed under: music and musings

I didn’t know how I was going to feel about the new Brooklyn Pool Parties hosted by JellyNYC this summer since the pool is no longer their location, but I was pretty surprised and happy about it. They moved right by the Williamsburg waterfront, there is grass for hanging out and lounging, as well as a huge cement area with a stage and standing room ans well as blocked off areas for beverages and food. It was much more spacious, there is a view of the Manhattan skyline and the lines were much less of a hassle.

Musically, the show was almost completely awesome. The first band Jemina Pearl would have been pretty unmemorable if not for the obnoxious stage banter presented by the lead singer.  They were just a catchy “Josie and the Pussycat’s” style band, with female vocals and slightly rowdy instrumentals.  The lead singer would not stop saying things like “Oh, we totally messed up on that one, we’re gonna play it again.” And “Blank (whatever the guitarist’s name is) totally messed up, he totally sucks, it’s like the worst day of his life.” It wasn’t enjoyable in the least and I was completely relieved and excited when Ponytail began and Molly Siegel was completely adorable on stage and only spoke to say things like, “You guys are awesome!”

I have always liked Ponytail but never had the chance to see them live and it was pretty awesome to say the least. I’ve had issues with many bands that have just a lead singer that doesn’t do anything but sing but I’m pretty sure the entire crowd was in love with Siegel’s demeanor and innocent joy that she displayed on stage. She jumped and danced and was smiling the whole time she performed and it spread throughout the crowd. The band includes two guitarists, a drummer and their energetic lead singer (well more like noise-maker). Their youthful sound kept the crowd captivated with howling, and wailing vocals, spastic, bass-y drums and spinning, wavy guitar parts. They followed up their oldest song with their newest song at one point and both were amazing displays of the band’s innovation and spontaneity. The newer song was busier and more experimental than the earlier but both were equally enjoyable and mind blowing with their beautifully happy energy. Siegel barely sings, she is more of an interspersed yelper and chanter but lyrics are inconsequential because of how the music itself comes together with the sounds Siegel creates.

I found this picture of Fucked Up playing the pool party on someone’s Flickr. So thanks Kurt Christensen for such a great shot, and thanks to the internet for providing me access to random Flickr accounts. Fucked Up was pretty awesome to see, not only for the amazing poses of Damian Abraham but because they seem to counter argue so much in their music. As much as I sometimes can’t stand the snarling throaty singing that graced so many popular hardcore bands of the 90’s, Fucked Up makes it tolerable with their roots-y hardcore drums and drone-y guitar sounds that verge on no-wave. The combination of bending, distorted progressions in unison with a melodic, more angular style was invigorating and feels almost solar in its fullness. Like the whole of the sound is blaring down on you with strength, loudness and glaring brightness as the same time. Wielding three guitars as well as a bass was pretty much the only way this sound is possible. As the drums wailed rhythmically, and Abraham screamed like a maniac, and the slamming guitar lines maintained the ingenuity and oddball structure that makes Fucked Up so fun.

As I waited for the final band, Mission of Burma, to grace us with their amazing presence, I thought about all the converse shoes, cotton, scoop neck tank tops and short shorts that were everywhere on both men and women throughout the park. I quickly forgot as I kicked off my shoes and sat on the grass in the perfect weather, awaiting Mission of Burma’s spectacular set.

Again not my picture

Seeing Mission of Burma  was like seeing a real rock and roll band, one that hasn’t aged and lost their edge/spirit. What I love about watching Mission of Burma is how they age with such beauty. Having formed in 1979 and reunited in 2002, the band performs with such grace and refinement that they seem to rock harder than any of the bands 15 years younger than them. With heavy bass and a raw, distorted sound, they still have an organic nature to them, a wholesome, pureness that can only come with experience and talent and don’t need anything flashy to prove that they know what they are doing. The intensity and fluidity that flowed from their music last Sunday was refreshing and exciting. The hollow drumming backed the sweltering solos and gruff, melodic vocals amazingly. The focus of the sound was an underlying, distinguishing quality of elegance and raw sound and yet while it can be thought-provoking it can also be dance inducing. The crowd was packed and their fanbase was probably expanded as the performance was flawless and just as upbeat as always.

In addition to the bands there were three kiddy pools, the mandatory dodgeball, basketball, and tents with food and beer. The food tents were as follows: one had mini-pancakes and fruit and one had bbq. They also only allowed beer to be drunk in the beer tent area, which may be the only downside if you need that much beer, but you can still see the bands and hear the music. The porta-potties were clean and there were many of them and in addition to soap and sinks there were hand sanitizer dispensers. I think it was pretty well planned out as well as executed. This was an A+ first pool party of the summer and while I won’t be able to make all of them, I will definitely cover the ones I can make.


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