August 1, 2009
Photographed by Amy Davidson
Photo: Ice T
It was a disappointing weekend. In that we disappointed
our audience and were unable to bring a more in
depth coverage. Due to elements outside our control,
we were only able to cover Saturday. The reasons
were technological, medical, and at the heart of
it all, Mother Nature is a bitch sometimes.
However, we were able to trudge
through the mud on Saturday, and we did reap its
rewards. There was old favorites plus acts I have
always wanted to see but have never had the opportunity.
Throw in an arepa and frozen lemonade and you’ve
found yourself a fine day. My only complaint with
the location, other than the mud, is I wished the
grounds were set up to maximize the view. The statute
of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Manhattan skyline
is right there. But, for whatever reason, the layout
of the grounds made it another nondescript festival.
And You Will Know
By The Trail
And You Will Know Us
By The Trail of Dead
The first band we checked out was
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead.
We were glad to have the opportunity to shoot
this band considering our last attempt ended in
a rain out. Employing keys, three guitars, and
at times two drum kits simultaneously, they delivered
their distinctive mix of punk rock fury, tortured
artist lyrical style and experimental art sensibilities.
The set ran through the discography, beginning
with newer offerings and ending with old favorites.
Afterwards, another old favorite
took the stage, the long underappreciated Kool Keith.
Showing up with Ice-T as “the worlds most
expensive hype man”, and wearing a ridiculous
costume most likely made from materials found at
the 99 cent store, Keith delivered a nonstop set.
The songs stretched back to his Ultramagnetic MC
days, through the Dr. Octagon phase, and Kool Keith
tracks from both the Black Elvis and Sex
Styles albums. I though the so- called inventor
of “porno core” would offer a more outrageous
stage show. Instead it was pretty bare bones and
raw…and fully satisfying.
Next up was St Vincent.
This is the solo offering of Annie Clark, formerly
the guitarist of a Polyphonic Spree album as well
as some work with experimental guitar composer Glenn
Branca. Ms. Clark takes that and builds upon it,
reveling complex song structures somehow wrapped
in a pop form, and the deliverance sometimes subtle,
and at other times frentic.
Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello
Yuri Lemeshev of Gogol Bordello
After a little break,
it was over to the main stage for Gogol Bordello.
We have covered this band before, and it seems they
all their previous shows were mere rehearsals for
the main stage. They belonged on the main stage,
and they owned it. All the songs were there, from
“not a crime” to “start wearing
purple”. Bordello makes you want to run away
and join a Gypsy tribe.
Maynard James Keenan of
Then it was time for the final
act, Tool. I actually found this to be the most
disappointing act of the evening. This is unfortunate,
because I do like some a lot of their work. But
for one, the set was so dark, trying to see what
was going on was near impossible, two, the mix was
running too hot so the sound wasn’t all that
great (arguably, not the bands fault), and it seemed
they were just running through the set in order
to get through it, collect the check and hit the
road. I was hoping for more. Maybe I over anticipated.
It was a good day in an otherwise
unlucky weekend. Something I overheard sums it up
best, “it was awesome and sucked at the same
time”. Hopefully the fates will act a little
more kindly next year.