Monday, July 15, 2013

4Knots Fest - June 29, 2013

Arguably one of the best days out during this summertime New York free outdoor concert season has to be the third annual Village Voice 4Knots Music Fest. Held once again at South Street Seaport on Saturday, June 29, 2013, this year’s lineup of bands proved the most compelling yet.

 Headlining the full day of music was breakout artist Kurt Vile and his band The Violators.

A full recap of that performance (fittingly) closes out this feature – as they closed out this whole wonderfully executed event. The day started seven hours earlier, however – and despite the occasional technical glitch, each performance had the artists presenting their show in top form.

Making sure I got to the Press Tent to pick up my credential (with photo pit access sticker) before the ever increasing crowd made it more difficult to access (which would happen quickly enough), the addition of swag-for-everybody like this tote bag added a nice touch.

Being the first artist on while the crowd is still filing in is always a daunting task, but late additional to the event Steve Gunn was up to the challenge and delivered a most capable, musical set.

Check out some of his music here:

Spotting the two principal members of a band I've become quite enthusiastic about over the year, I spoke a few friendly words with Derek and Isabel of Hunters (who were scheduled to play the main stage next).  They checked out the early action themselves and chatted with those coordinating their event.

Joining me once again this year was fellow music aficionado drid.

As in previous years, the festival rocked two separate stages.  We hustled over to Pier 16 to get prime position for that stage's opening band Heliotropes.

This Brooklyn band kicked off the proceedings with throttle fully on.

Going with a set of only the heaviest tracks from their just released debut album "A Constant Sea"

Opening with album lead-off track “Early In The Morning,” the tone was immediately set and a stranglehold was slapped onto an eager audience.

Continuing through a blistering set that included weighty album tracks like  "Good and Evil," "I Walk Upon The Water," "Ribbons," "The Dove" and first single "Psalms."

You couldn't have asked for a better start to the Pier 16 side festivities.

Previous live show coverage I've done on this band can be found here:

As well as these two Deli Mag Features here:

Including the Official Deli Mag Preview of this appearance:

June 20, 2013


Hustling back over to the Pier 17 Stage, we made it just in time to catch the aforementioned favorites


Guitar guru Derek Watson’s tonal quality and rhythmic style fluctuates between the tangled jungle stomp of The Cramps and all out mayhem of Sonic Youth.

Lead vocalist Isabel Almeida twists and contorts her pliable limbs as she purrs and coos about deadbeats and acid trips.

Spinning around like a top surely must have contributed to the nickname "dizzy izzy"

They rolled out all their best songs for this big stage showcase.

"Bratmouth," "Headache," "Deadbeat," "Noisy Bitch" and "Acid Head" all sounded especially thunderous on this day.

The rapport between Derek and Isabel live gives additional insight into this cohesive this songwriting team.

Here's how they sounded on this day

Singer down!  Drummer throttles on.

And back up again - reaching for the stars!

Taking a moment to collect her thoughts (or just resting from all the energetic dancing).

A full forward stretch really relaxes the spine.

Until it's time for more singing.

A big show on the big stage!

There is much to like about Hunters


At this point we headed up on to the Peking VIP Ship, to see what was happening there.  To my thirst-quenching delight, there was plenty of complimentary Redbull to be had. Catching up with the members of Heliotropes there, a spirited chat was had before heading down to catch the next act.

Scuttling over to the main stage, it was time to check out the fast paced, short burst punk rock from Vancouver, Canada’s White Lung

A great looking band with three female members and one dude, their music is quick, in your face thrash.

Fronted by the confident presence of lead singer Mish Way, the band ripped through a tightly coiled set of rapidfire songs that barely broke the 2:00 minute mark.

Drawing heavily from their latest album "Sorry" (which you can listen to here: )
the band tight sonic force is most capably handled by bassist Grady Mackintosh, drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou and guitarist Kenneth William .

Check out how they sounded here:

Winning the audience over.

Mish postures while Kenneth throttles the six string.

A complete band.  Playing as a single united force.

Ferocious licks with melody to match.

Look and listen to another performance on this day:

Enticing angles

Full force tightly controlled punk rock

Definitely now a fan of White Lung !

Later on the in the I would get the opportunity to meet and interview them (thanks Dayna and Becky of Big Picture Media!)

But first it was time to hustle back over to the Pier 16 Stage and catch the set by now old friends of this blog - The Babies

A few months back I did an extensive interview with Cassie and Kevin that can be found here:

Playing songs mostly from their latest album "Our House On The Hill," the band played with that seemingly effortless ease that comes from extensive touring.

They played all my fave tracks off of that one, like "Alligator," "Slow Walking" . . . 

. . . "Get Lost," "Mess Me Around" . . . 

. . . "Baby," "Moonlight Mile," and a number of others.

Including this one:

For some unknown reason, this was the only performance of the day that suffered from some technical difficulties.

It wasn't any of the bands fault, though - Cassie and the boys sounded great from the stage.

The problem was with the PA sound.  For at least two songs near the end of the set, the stage vocal microphones stopped working.  The band (unaware of this) kept on playing.  Eventually they got things fixed in time for a decent finale.

An enthusiastic audience enjoyed themselves nevertheless.

As did the listeners from up on the party boat.


Parquet Courts have come to embody the disenchanted vibe of today’s slacker generation.

Positioned in the prime 4 p.m. time slot on the Pier 17 Main Stage, the band featured many tracks from their  full-length LP “Light Up Gold.”

Their take on the post-punk, indie rock vibe is loose and jammy, making a festival setting like this a perfect outlet for them.

Tightly honed rhythms lay the groundwork for a more rambling style of guitar fretwork.

Their lyrics skewer towards recognizable observation over obscure metaphors. For instance, “Careers in Combat” pretty much spells out the fact that when all else fails, there’s always the option of drawing a paycheck from the military. Hardly a stoners dream gig.

Check out their music here:

At this point we hurried over to the press access area to conduct my impending interview with the band White Lung.

They were just finishing up with the previously scheduled media outlet, and when my time came I jumped right into the mix.

The entire band was relaxed, friendly and instantly accommodating.

Sensing the need for a formal interview wasn't necessary, we instead chatted about a number of things.

The fact is, we had more fun just shooting the breeze and making each other laugh than going through the motions of asking (and having to answer) the same tired old questions.  ("How did you get started?"  "Who writes what?" . . . . )

Particularly entertaining was lead singer Mish Way - who is quick witted and a pleasure to talk to.  The fact that she is a journalist in her own right only makes me respect her that much more.

Read her most entertaining work here:

As the result of the above appointment, we had to motor on over to the Pier 16 Stage to catch the final act of the day there - Marnie Stern

As it was now later in the day and the crowd had been growing incrementally, we found ourselves much further back in the pack.

Our vantage point, however did not diminish the quality of sound coming from the stage.

Marnie and her band play an intricate form of math rock, which focuses on sophisticated riffing and angular rhythms.

Playing a number of songs from her latest album The Chronicles of Marnia  the crowd found themselves whipped up into a riff heavy frenzy.

A native New Yorker who lives on the upper east side of Manhattan, Marnie exhibits the maturity that comes with having done her share of world tours.

You can find out more about her here:


The Men may be classified as “punk rock” (and very well could have been closer to that in their earlier days), but on this day sounded more like a hybrid countrified stoner-rock band.

Most of the songs they played were long drawn out jams that at times did approach levels that might be classified as punk rock frenzy, however the length of these songs (and the extended solo jamming) go against the punk ethos.

As a fan of extended instrumental jams myself though, I thoroughly enjoyed their performance.

Have a listen right here:

The lap steel guitar added a country element to the jams

Find out more about The Men here:


The follow act also combined elements country, soul and folk with their rock.

Reigning Sound

You can find out much more about them here:


Finally it was time for the last act of the day - show headliners 

Kurt Vile and The Violators

It's been a big year for Kurt.  With the release of his latest album "Walkin' on a Pretty Daze," the critical attention and fan interest in his work has skyrocketed.

It's not hard to see why, as he balances the right amount of easy groove vibe with more extended psychedelic jams.

Even though that looks like (and may have started out as) an acoustic guitar, it being run through so many effects pedals made what came out an incredibly forceful electric sound.

He did switch back and forth between this instrument and an actual solid-body electric guitar as well.

Check out his classic track "Jesus Fever" recorded at this performance:

There's an insightful and amusing story in the June 26-July 2, 2013 Village Voice about Kurt and his forklift driving skills.  That being the job he used to do before going full time with music, one truck driver who was the beneficiary of Kurt's driving and loading skills remarked "If he can play guitar as good as he drives that forklift . . . he's got a hit record."

Kurt and his bands playing at this show was certainly no-mistake-forklift-driver accurate.  Well, that and inspired too.

One final extended jammed-out groove from this day:

Get to know Kurt Vile and The Violators here: