Saturday, June 27, 2009
Friday Night in Prospect Park: Blonde Redhead at Celebrate Brooklyn!
Despite a severe thunderstorm as hundreds of hipsters and regular people lined up to get into tonight's Blonde Redhead concert at Celebrate Brooklyn!, it stopped raining before the show began and it ended up being a really nice night listening to the dreamlike sounds of the band.
Blonde Redhead two summers ago at the McCarren Park Pool:
There was a severe thunderstom in effect as we left Dumbo Books HQ in Williamburg, and when the G train stopped at Myrtle-Willoughby, we saw this Hershey's ad and wondered if we'd be better off staying dry at home reading Chompsky.
Than, when we got out of the G train at Smith-9th Street to change for the F, the clouds looked ominous and it soon began raining.
By the time we got out at the Eighth Avenue exit of the Seventh Avenue stop, it was raining - heavily. At the park entrance, someone gave us a free sample of an energy drink so vile we tossed it after one sip and got on a long line.
We actually ended up deciding to go back to the subway entrance by Dizzy's and wait until the storm passed over. It didn't take that long. The seats were soaked, but we had the remains of the day's paper and sat on Michelle Pfeiffer's face (in a review of Cheri), which was more satisfying than the last summer park experience we had with her twenty years ago when she played Olivia in a Twelfth Night vastly inferior to the current production.
The women in front of us, though all wet, were having fun. When they began smoking heavily, they took down the umbrella. Some Celebrate Brooklyn! staff in their plastic rain ponchos were smoking like chimneys. (Blogger Ines Kuusik said there was weed in the air at last night's Femi Kuti show, but she's Estonian and we can't tell if she meant marijuana or some allergen.)
The opening act was Icelandic troubadour Ólöf Arnalds (her debut album is Við Og Við - and don't you wish English alphabet still had the eth too?). When she said she would try to be brief because they were trying to get in the whole concert between thunderstorms, the crowd laughed. "I'm not joking," she said.
She was pretty good and charmingly disarming in her self-consciousness. She kept telling us every time she messed up a lyric, though we doubt many in the audience had a good enough working knowledge of Icelandic to have caught the error.
The highlight of her opening act - she seemed aware of the absurdity of trying to win over fans anxiously waiting for Blonde Redhead - was a quirky, oddly affecting Michael Jackson tribute when she sang "Billie Jean" with that little guitar or whatever it is. It started raining again.
But not too much. During the intermission we filled out a survey for a chance to win free JetBlue tickets and had 3 free samples of Honest Tea, which is honestly good, and then had to make one trip to the most disgusting part of any Celebrate Brooklyn! performance, the men's room. To do the survey on the computer, we had to switch from our distance glasses to our mid-range glasses and then forgot to switch back so the crowd looked blurry.
It was dark when the Blonde Redhead show began. We watched it standing up, from the left side of the stage, near where all the rich people and Peter Cherches sit.
We don't need to say much about Blonde Redhead, since if you are reading this, you know all about them. As an old man, we heard about them maybe 4 or 5 years ago when we were living in Florida and saw the lineup for that year's Siren Festival and decided to sample all the bands in a continuing effort to deny we were born in the Truman administration.
We like Blonde Redhead a lot, but in addition to taking lousy pics with our Alltel cell phone, we don't know enough about music criticism to say anything intelligent, so we'll just wait until other, younger, brighter people get up today and decide to post something about Blonde Redhead or non-blurry pics and we'll link to them.
Here's their most popular YouTube vid, the title track of the album 23. If you don't find it haunting, you must have given up the ghost.
We're grateful to our Lord for abating the thunderstorms so we had a pleasant night in Prospect Park. Actually, the dampness of the after-rain fit the mood of Blonde Redhead perfectly.
UPDATE: For first-rate pics, go to the indispensible Brooklyn Vegan.