If you ever make your way to New York City during the muggy summer months that most people avoid like the plague (think: over-crowded, over-heated subway systems and a pungent aroma of homeless wanderers with their accompanying excrement frying in the sun), you will find yourself with a plethora of musically delicious options that will surely detract from your seemingly overwhelming olfactory sense. With an abundance of thrifty (and nifty) happenings all around the city for three summer months, you hardly even need to have a job! That said, you should totally get a job because, let’s face it, living on your buddy’s couch or in your parent’s basement or in cardboard boxes that some New Yorker’s call home is so not hip n’ cool.
So on one of these particular steamy New York City weekends, I thought it a good idea to invest one night in making my way over to one of the inexpensive, if not free, shows on Governors Island. A short subway ride and a ferry trip later, and I made my way through the island and toward the expanse of land where the stage was set up for Los Angeles’ own Local Natives to play.
Local Natives is a band that reminds me of The xx – not necessarily in sound but in quality. Both are very good bands, but both have only released one album. Sure, pretty much every song on that album is relatively delicious, but when you go see them, there isn’t going to be too many surprises in the set list or in the sound. As I had predicted, they ended their set with the most obvious choice, “Sun Hands”, but the hit by far of the night was my own personal favorite, “Wide Eyes”, a track with a ridiculously sweet beat and darkly enchanting lyrics. Local Natives, like The xx, is the kind of good quality band where you can go to a show, close your eyes, and not really know whether you are sitting alone in your car or standing amongst a swarm of people in the middle of Governors Island.
They sound exactly like their album, which is good, but it also means there are no surprises up their sleeve… but can you really expect a monstrous light show, an epic jam session, or elaborate costumes from a mellow indie band? Not really. So my point is that they are good. Would I pay $60 to see them at this point in their career? No. But for a mere $10 (the near-equivalent to purchasing their album on iTunes), I got to hear them play outside on a beautiful summer night with a cold beer in hand, the New York City skyline serving as a backdrop, and not through my low-quality car speakers while sitting in agonizing traffic on the 101.
Another New York City summer time treat is the free Jelly Pool Parties at the Williamsburg Waterfront in Brooklyn. These parties are like a daytime hipster haven complete with a misting station and epic city views. I mean, what does every New York-based hipster want to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon? The answer is simple: head to the motherland (aka Williamsburg), drink beer, and sprawl out on the grass between sweet beat dance-offs. Oh yes, that’s right. There were dance-offs… which felt more like train wrecks so bad that you couldn’t not look, except in this case the trains were being driven by post-meth-head hipster-wannabes.
On this particular weekend, I ventured out to see Cut Copy. It was a beautiful Sunday, and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend it than basking in the sunshine at a free concert in Brooklyn. By the time I arrived there, Memory Tapes was playing, who proved to be a nice backdrop to my hangover. Finally, Cut Copy took the stage and opened with a very delicious track, “Lights & Music.” This was followed by old and new hits including “Hearts on Fire”, “Going Nowhere” and “Blink and You’ll Miss a Revolution”. There were points in the show where I wasn’t sure if the Melbourne-based band was actually even playing their instruments, mostly because it seemed the song kept going even while all the band members had their hands up in the air. Due to my profound respect and love for this particular band, I’m just going to chalk the phantom playing up to a mere hangover hallucination. Either way, the Jelly Pool Parties are great New York City summertime fun, and free music from synth-band heavy-hitters? Well, that’s just heaven, hipster heaven.
Post/Pictures by Lauren Lomma