We got to the first of the 2010 Williamsburg waterfront pool parties at East River Park pretty early and hung out for the first two opening acts, Fang Island and Pictureplane.
It was a really nice day with lots of hipsters out, and improvements have been made in the venue since last year.
Most obviously, as we noted at the Fear No More show, the new, bigger, sturdier stage has been moved to near Kent Avenue. This loses the romantic backdrop of the river and skyline when you're watching the performers but gains a lot of open space by the shoreline and just generally makes more sense.
Also, maybe the new stage won't collapse.
The new, innovative entrance procedures were modeled after TSA's at JFK's JetBlue Terminal 5.
A big deal, though hardly of interest to us teetotalers, was the new, bigger, improved, much more people-friendly beer garden for those with yellow tags on their wrists.
There were lots of things going on. Vans was making custom T-shirts and tossing them away for free as they were hot from the presses or whatever.
It wasn't deadly-hot, but it was humid, and this cool mister fan at the Vitamin Water booth chilled these little kids, a lot of sweaty hipsters and us.
Early on, there was a short wait for the water to stop being as hot as the pool partiers.
The dodgeball has been moved to a smaller cage near the river, making it feel more confined, open and intense for the athletic masochists.
And how about this innovation? ATM machines! No bank affiliation, just the high-fee ones we first spotted on Bedford Avenue, well, it seems like decades ago.
There was food for carnivores. And for thinking people, too.
Pictureplane is the stage name of the Denver-based 26yo electronic musician Travis Egedy, who first made a name for himself at the warehouse where he also lives, Rhinoceropolis. His 2009 album, Dark Rift, got some good reviews.
When Pitchfork's Amy Phillips caught his set at SXSW, she had this to say: "Pictureplane reminds me of that time in high school in the mid-1990s when all the punks I knew suddenly turned into ravers."
Treble named Pictureplane's Dark Rift its album of the week and wrote:
Those in need of a dance record that emphasizes the bizarre without sacrificing beats or soul need look no further than Dark Rift. Pictureplane's approach is disorienting and grimy, but just so carefully measured as to provoke the senses without completely blowing them out. Dark Rift might just keep this freaky and freakish summer going all year long.
And he did have people dancing this one summer afternoon.
The next performance came from Fang Island is the Brooklyn-based, Providence-formed band made up of guitarists Jason Bartell, Chris Georges and Nicholas Andrew Sadler, bassist Michael Jacober, and drummer Marc St. Sauveur. Andrew Sadler, bassist Michael Jacober, and drummer Marc St. Sauveur. Their self-titled debut album on Sargent House was released in February.
Pitchfork called "Daisy" - to us, their best song of a nice set today - "deliriously infectious. . .", an emphatic crossbreed of the Go! Team and the Promise Ring's "Is This Thing On?" The dance routine in the song's video feels like the only natural reaction to hearing it."
Consequence of Sound's review of their album asked,
[I]s Fang Island worthy of your unexpected attention? Damn right it is. If I were allowed to write a one-word review, it would read: Exhuberant. Trust me, you know you have heard this kind of enthusiasm before and it always comes across as special. Think The Unicorns, The Go! Team, or Andrew W.K. Fang Island come across a notch above enthusiastic, inspiring images of someone carrying the Olympic torch up a mountain, planes landing in Top Gun, a badass fatality in a Mortal Kombat tournament, a party montage that involves lots a beer spilling and men hugging each other.
Wandering around the park, we wondered if the old McCarren Pool feels lonely on summer Sundays.
There was, as always, interesting stuff to look at besides onstage. The view is more gorgeous than ever without the rickety old stage to block it.
A lot of people had a lot of other people to look at.
And with Veoba joining Jelly as the people behind the pool parties, the old blue JellyNYC thin balloon guys are gone. Miss them much?
As usual, we were the oldest man there not running for re-election to the United States Senate. (We are, however, currently running for running for the House of Representatives.)
We saw two of our students from the School of Visual Arts from 2007 separately and then together and it only took us two hours to recall their names were Zach and Nigel, both good animators.
By the time we were leaving, around 4 p.m., there was a large crowd of hipsters, hipsters, hipsters.
We didn't stay, of course, for the excellent band Why? but we don't have to answer the question for you. And we missed Xiu Xiu and Deerhoof, whom we've seen before and know were great doing the songs from Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures,
but we heard the originalf about, oh, 31 years ago.
For comprehensive coverage, better pics and more informed commentary on today's Pool Party, see the intelligent posts by Eric Rex at King of the Gigabitches, Jason Glastetter at ...The End of Irony, and Sheena Beaston.