Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks at Coney Island Siren Fest

Having hung out on consecutive nights (Thursday and Friday) till 4 and 5 in the morning watching the UK band The Indelicates play shows and then acquiesce to my interviews, respectively - what was one to do on the following afternoon/evening? Why, attend the Village Voice Siren Festival at Coney Island! The plan was hatched when the Indelicates bassist Kate and I discovered we both wanted to really see Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, who were headlining the show.

So, armed with the knowledge that we were both fans (she having been into Mr. Malkmus since his time with seminal indie band Pavement, and I became intrigued when I heard he enjoyed taking extended guitar solos and improvisational jams) we headed off to Coney Island on Saturday the 19th of July, 2008.


Kate and I taking in the sites under the massive presence of The Cyclone Coney Island is one big carnival and amusement park, with rides, arcade games, and large dose of "seediness" which, as another English friend of my who had just visited said "nobody does seedy better than Americans - and I mean that in a good way". Which all contributed to a near-perfect festival setting. However, with the expected razing of Astroland, the area where Siren is held, next year, the day’s mood wasn’t so much whether Malkmus would play any Pavement tunes, but rather, if this year would be Siren’s last there.


Still, Kate and I were primed for maximum "rawk n' roll" entertainment. All during the drive to the show, we began to credit all things "cool" to Malkmus. In fact, we stopped calling him by his full name and just referred to him as simply "Malk". We were saying this is going to be sooooo Malk", and "the Malkman is sure to deliver". The "Malk" references got sillier and sillier, but it simply added to our anticipation and excitement. Showing up as the prior band was finishing, we proceeded to do that slow worm-your-way-through-the-crowd thing to get prime viewing. Now, there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. We never stepped on anyone toes and were always respectful of peoples space. However, as individuals would trickle out for whatever reason, we would slowing take their spot.


Suddenly the man was on stage - with his band. Kate swooned and I was ready for maximum guitar-noodling and improvisational explorations. Here is their opening song, "Baby, C'mon"


Oh, yeah - it was on! Smiling faces all around. Immediately on my radar was pretty Jicks bassist Joanna Bolme.


 Joanna sang backup and acted as an overall counterpart for "Malk".


 She has Kim Gordon cool and a similar ability to go wherever the jams might take her.


 Joanna and Stephen engage in some 4 string-to-6-string sonic exploration.


Baseball-style brimmed caps, shades and jaunty scarves were the the appropriate necessary items on this steamy, hot July afternoon-into-evening.


The Jicks are anchored by legendary former Sleater-Kinney (and sometimes Quasi) drummer Janet Weiss.


 Bassist Joanna knows the importance of having a musical rapport with drummer Janet.

 For her part, Janet is a rock solid drummer who fits this band quite well.


Wherever "Malk" took the improvisation, Janet was right there with him. Driving the rhythm on and encouraging the further musical explorations.


Janet, among other things, grew up in Southern California and has a degree in photography from San Francisco State University. She brings a unique tension and dynamic to the music.


We sooo "Malked" this night! After that, we wandered through Coney Island a bit. Took a stroll on the beach . . .


The view of the Wonderwheel from the beach.


 The perfect ending to a totally "Malk-ed out" day!


kate678 said...

We were the Malkiest !

You were sooo Siren.

This was one of my best days in NYC Mr C.

You rock ! Nobbin's stylee !

x x

x said...

Very cool review. I *love* the videos. Looks like you had a great time. Cool stuff, Dave.