Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Across the Narrows: Day 1

Beautiful weather, great music, and small crowds equal a great festival. I was kind of nervous about how "Across the Narrows" would do but to my surprise it seemed to be a big success with the fans that attended. In the weeks leading up to this event I had heard that small ticket sales were threatening this event. I had a lot of fears, and thought of a repeat of the botched Field Day Festival from a couple of years ago or that they would combine the two locations. The idea that there were two separate locations for this festival seemed to be what most people complained about. It probably did spread the audience a little thin. Also most of the bands on this bill have played NYC at least once in the past year. For many Beck was the big draw but when he added to smaller shows later in the week it seemed to hurt ticket sales even more.
The first day saw great performances from two bands that have all ridden the wave of a reunion tour. But both were great. The bands I speak of are Gang of Four, and of course the most success reunion band The Pixies.
I decide to walk around Coney Island for a little while before I entered the venue another problem with this festival was that there was no reentry so a lot of people did not come early. I skipped Death From Above 1979 and Mando Diao to take one final walk around the famous Coney Island boardwalk. The boardwalk is set to be begin renovation this winter. I walked by the famed "Shoot the Freak" where a kid I had gone to high school with had worked while he was an out of work actor. He eventually used the job to get on NPR and in the NY times. I ate hot dogs at the original Nathan’s and then decided it was time to go into the venue.
I didn’t know much about Rilo Kiley except that my girlfriend always mentioned that their lead singer was in the movie "The Wizard". A movie I had won pre-screening tickets to when I was a child. Rilo Kiley’s music is a blend of modern garage, pop, and rock. It however heavily influenced by 1990’s alternative girl rock. I was a big fan of 90’s girl bands such as Veruca Salt, Hole, Matter Rose and I saw all of these bands in the 90’s so Rilo Kiley wasn’t anything new for me. However I did enjoy their music for nostalgic reasons. Some of their songs were quite good but I wasn’t able to totally get into vibe.
Rilo Kiley
I hadn’t heard great things about Built to Spill’slive show but I enjoyed it a lot. They perform their song pretty much like the way they are on their albums but I felt like in concert they had more energy. For those that do no know Built to Spill, they have sort dark mysterious sound, not unlike the band Slint. Since I am not overly familiar with their songs the highlight for me came when they preformed the Beatles "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".
Built to spill
Built to spill
Gang of Four’s performance at Irving Plaza early this year was nothing short of amazing. They were by fart he band I was most interested in seeing on the first day. The group tore through an absolutely killer set of their pot funk punk songs. Andy Gill and Jon King as powerful a combo as Jagger and Richards. Andy’s guitar playing in so unique he will at time just throw his guitar on the ground and instead of in making some horrific sound the noise produced is amazing. Jon King continues to scare the audience with his wild dance moves and in unique sort performance art movement. Many people were both frighten and amazed when he started smacking a microwave with an aluminum baseball bat. Gangs of Four manage to squeeze as much energy into a set as possible. They were the perfect band to play before the Pixies.
Gang of Four
Gang of Four
I completely freaked out when the Pixies first announced their reunion tour. But know more than a year later and having seen them twice already I wasn’t nearly as excited as I had once been. The first time I saw them they were spot on. The band was great and the audience loved it. But then earlier this summer their show at Jones beach was very disappointing. It felt like the band was bored and had already lost interest in the idea of a reunion tour. I had even commented to one of my friends that I thought this would be the last time I would probably go see The Pixies unless the wrote some new songs. All I can say is I spoke too soon. The Pixies set on Saturday night was the best I have seen them play. They absolutely destroyed the crowed. Form the minute they started their hits filled set the crowd was rocking out. The Pixies didn’t let up all night. Frank’s voice has remained as perfect as it ever was and Kim still plays the catchiest baselines around. This set reminded me why I had waited so long for them to do a reunion tour why I had been so excite when I first got to see them a year ago.
The Pixies
The Pixies
See more pictures of all of the bands at Across the Narrows here .


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