by kevin diamond

I think I’ve got the flu. I trekked across this city last night in the pouring rain, catching three bands, hitting an open bar, and spending all of 10 seconds inside the crowded Cutting Room before heading home. When I awoke, still soaked from the torrential rains of the previous night, I could feel my immune system giving up, flying the white flag. I’m dizzy, light headed, and a little nauseous.

It’s been a great week.


And it came to an end last night, not with a bang, but with a couple good shows and some free booze. My night began with a stop by day three of Todd P.’s free daytime shows, which had been moved from the outdoor Continental Army Plaza to the underground basement-venue Monster Island due to the weather. I only caught the tail end of Pterodactyl’s set, but it was enough to confirm what I had already believed to be true: this is one of the loudest bands in the borough. They squawk and squeal like the flying thunder birds from whom they derive their name, with the thunderous low end of the rhythm section rolling like a runaway train, the rest of the band chasing in after it. Their recorded output hinted at such a melee, but it’s far more unhinged in person. A good place to loose yourself in the void of the noise, if you’re in to that kind of thing.


I took the JMZ train into the lower east side and hit the JellyNYC closing night open bar, where I made a few friends, drank a few drinks, and ate the cutest mini cheeseburgers you ever did see. The DJ played some good tracks, including festival faves Passion Pit‘s “Sleepyheads.” Everyone I talked to last night had these guys’ names on their lips. This was a big week for this group, and it’s nice to see they’re getting the recognition I think everyone believes they deserve.

I left the Hotel on Rivington and booked it to Santos Party House, where I saw The Sundelles play a fast and loose set to an unfortunately half-full audience. These guys are just plain great: Fun, energetic, retro without being derivitive, with influences from late 60′s garage, late 70′s post punk, and late 80′s indie rock, it’s a winning combo that’s delivered beautifully. And, like label-mates The Muslims and The Browns, is delivered with the energy this style of music demands.

After The Sundelles, we were bombarded by VAZ, an interesting if slightly boilerplate straight ahead alternative band. The most interesting thing about them is their line up: two guitarists and a drummer, no bassist in site. The drummer does well holding everything together, but the melodies are bland and the riffs struggle to stand out from the pack.

It was time to go. I was exhausted, wet, and tired, and needed to decompress after a week of ups and downs. Ups: Passion Pit, Shearwater, Women, Muslims, Sundelles, Vivian Girls and Broken Social Scene. Downs: Rain, Lines, Crowds, Expensive Drinks, and the schizophrenia that comes with a festival like this in a city like New York. It’s to be expected, and can be dealt with, but it’s exhausting and, after 5 days of wallowing in it, I’m happy to be returning to a (semi)-normal life.


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