There are some, such as those involved in the maintenance and promotion of Hudson River Park, who will insist that Pier 54 is a park. It is not a park. See above. Grass seeds would not have any idea what to do if they ended up there. Neither do generators, apparently. More on that anon.
Still, it was the Antlers playing a free show overlooking the Hudson River and plain-but-sound New Jersey, and while the East River is great to overlook during gigs in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, it’s not even a real river, so what’s the point.
Dinosaur Feathers supported. They’re a drummerless indie pop group in the American lineage – Nada Surf, Hot Hot Heat, a touch of Vampire Weekend, say. They didn’t move far from their cultural context though, and while there are hummable melodies there, the milk teeth programmed beats make everything too soft to make an impact. Their harmonies seem like slabs of margerine lobbed onto something already fairly calorific, and the whole affair is a little cloying.
Which is convenient, because if they were good, it would have been more annoying when the generator blew.
Went for a walk. Spent fourteen dollars of twenty total dollars in my possession at the time (maybe I’ll do a really long self-pity post some time) on a packet of Newports in a gas station. Watched people eat crab. At a gig. Crab.
Then it got fixed and The Antlers showed up. If you don’t remember every word typed on this blog for some reason, you might want reminding that I thought Hospice was “a work of fiction up there with a well-wrought novel” and other bent stuff like that, and that I enjoyed their gig in the Academy even though I felt that they were banging and crashing a bit much.
More of the same really. It was an enjoyable show, and it’s always impressive to stand in a silent outdoor crowd while a quiet, fragile band plays, and it’s even better if you can see a tidal strait. But while the songs on Hospice are hair-raising in the best possible way, live, they’re much more conventional emotional crescendos, even with horns for atmosphere and lyrics you know would be worth hearing if you could.
The few new songs played were still pretty bleak, so it’s not like Peter Silbermann, though he’s a cheery guy in reality, has taken a sunny turn. And they were good, maybe more so than the Hospice stuff because the rawness seemed less rehearsed.
But – if only because I’d seen it before and I saw it this time wedged between Caribou and Siren and (still to come, blog chronology-wise) Beach House and Sonic Youth – I think I’m going to have to give this a rare minus.
But first, an anecdote. Everyone loves anecdotes. Two rows in front of me were a group of guys who were definitely more bro than alt, and probably more meat than head. Gold chains, crew cuts, sports tattoos. You know the ones. But, against prejudicial odds, they knew every word to Two, and put their arms around each other to sing it, and when it was over, they all gave each other high fives. At the end, they did elaborate fist bumps and parted ways. Amazing.