Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Night at South Street Seaport: Bear in Heaven, Zola Jesus and Yellow Fever on Pier 17

Tonight we had the pleasure of seeing one first-rate free show with Bear in Heaven and Zola Jesus, with a brief surprise appearance by YellowFever at South Street Seaport, part of the River to River Festival's Friday night summer Seaport Music series.

We were not far away having lunch with a friend from Marine Park we grew up with at our fave Korean restaurant at noon today; on his way from work to his Connecticut country house, he told us he's retiring (the state is offering workers three extra years if they retire this year, and his pension will be a decent $90K) and asked if we were going to South Street Seaport for tonight's Bear Hands concert.

That is why guys our age retire.

He also said he'd never go because the Seaport shows never start on time, you can't find a seat (hey, our pal is a cancer and heart attack survivor, and did we say he's old like us?) and there's no shade.

Luckily our retiring friend is also getting deaf like us, so we can stand up close and endure the loud. Even when it flirts with twee.

This evening, shade wasn't an issue and there was a nice breeze.

If you want nice pics of this show, not like this

but professional quality not taken by a cell phone (no, we're too old to have a smartphone), go to The End of Irony or Brooklyn Vegan to see stuff like this:

Wow, that was a shock. Are we on the right blog? Did we mention we're old and our mom has had Alzheimer's for seven years? On the other hand, though she's lost almost all her memory, she can still get every word on the lyrics to late '40s and '50s swing and pops songs on that cable TV music channel (and she even knows some Beatles lyrics, too, though she was in her thirties by then).

Where were we? Oh yeah, South Street Seaport. At Brooklyn Vegan, a commenter writes:

why does such a terrible bro-filled venue have all these awesome free concerts. kind of stupid. i mean i'm glad for the free music don't want to fight a thousand tourists to see thee oh sees tho

We can't answer Carles's questions, and even though the crowd has more regular people like us than hipsters, we've always hated South Street Seaport. Like the other festival marketplaces created by Rouse back in the day, they've managed to take everything particular about the city it's placed in and squeezed it out. It's the least New York place in the whole city, but anyway, the music tonight was good, though another Brooklyn Vegan commenter wrote:
this is fake. pics are shop'd. u can tell because the crowd just isn't into it at all.

Yeah, our pics are "shop'd" too.

The MC - he's got a good memory, since he managed to recite all 323 corporate sponsors of the festival without looking at a sheet of paper - announced that he felt bad about YellowFever canceling out last week, but they were coming onstage now, at the start of the show. Jennifer Moore wore an orange jumpsuit supposedly like the one she wore last week in the Harris County Jail. Drummer Adam Jones just had a really good haircut but normal clothes.

After they sang like two songs - they had to rush to Williamsburg for their 11 p.m. show at Monster Island. We liked Jesus Zola a great deal.

She's been compared to Siouxsie, whom we were introduced to by our great, late, cute blue-haired California friend Blair Apperson almost thirty years ago and who we wrote about in the 80s as a columnist for the Hollywood (FL) Sun-Tattler.

Jesus Zola has also been compared to Diamanda Galas, whom we once shared a cab with in the late '80s up to our respective crash pads on the Upper West Side after she did this great show directed by our old friend Judd Lear Silverman, the show a tribute to her late brother, the great performance artist Philip-Dimitri Galas, who - like our friend Blair ("Blah") - died much too young of AIDS back in that dark decade.

We think the comparisons are apt. Jesus Zola had us spellbound. Then we took our meds and Bear in Heaven came on.

Aside from getting a cheap cheer by mentioning they're from Brooklyn (hey, we were born there, we should get cheered every time we walk down Flatbush Avenue), Bear in Heaven really were the stars of the night. As it got dark, the crowd got bigger and more enthusiastic, and they played a terrific extended set.

We leave it to the young and well-informed to do substantive music criticism.

We had a good time. We're old, so that's important.

Getting out of the Seaport was a bear, and not in heaven. We walked along Frankfort Street (who knew?) to the Brooklyn Bridge subway stop to go up to Union Square and get the L away from all those tourists.

Nice show, nice night.

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