Thursday, July 5, 2012

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

Sound out, voices of young men! loudly and musically call me by my nighest name!
Live, old life! play the part that looks back on the actor or actress!
Play the old role, the role that is great or small, according as one makes it!

One of my favorite places in Brooklyn is the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), which hosts an astonishing array of cultural events, many of them designed to celebrate local artists.  One such event was Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, a 3-day music event featuring films and musical acts by people either from, currently in, or formerly of Brooklyn. 

My friend and I attended the Friday night festivities on May 4.  After convincing the manager that we were good, pleasant folk who weren’t trying to weasel our way in once we discovered that Friend had lost her ticket, we wristbanded and enjoyed a frothy brew (having just snuck in before the 2-for-1 deal ended – score!).  Before the first act, I endeavored to convince Friend of the campy greatness that is Dolly Parton. 

We stood in the front for the first band, Ava Luna—an unknown to us who we found ourselves quite enjoying.  The frontman was an entirely nervous, nerdy fellow—a Rivers Cuomo type—who threw himself into the music—literally and quite surprisingly.  I liked the sound, the harmonies, and the clothing style, but I just wanted so badly for the girls to do something with their faces.  A little expression won’t hurt, girls.  I promise.

[DISCLAIMER: The sound (and, largely, the video) quality on the videos in this post are pretty abominable.  Maybe just play for the visual? Or skip it and search for legit videos of these bands.]

Next up: The Antlers, a band I was first introduced to by a music-addicted friend who was always handy with a recommendation.  They sounded great live (and the show had some great light effects, too.)

Then: I headed back upstairs for a bit to see Buke and Gass, a two-person outfit and the favorite of the aforementioned friend, who insisted I must see them live.  I hadn’t been entirely keen on their recorded music, but hearing them live with their self-constructed instruments truly was a better experience.  All hail the geniuses who conceived local music festivals!

Finally, the headliner: St. Vincent.  I could give plenty of details about the show, about what it was like to be in the orchestra pit and look up at the stage from the good-natured mob of energy at the foot of the stage.  I could talk about the funny moment when the entirely overzealous fan shouted “I love you Annie!” with such fervor that the emotional strain resonated in his voice as he bounced up and down as if on a trampoline.  Or I could humorously report the girl close to him who calmly commented to Annie in response, “I appreciate what you do.”

Or I could just sum it all up and say: Annie Clark is a badass.  Even if you don’t like the heavier punk turn to the music, you really can’t disagree with her badassness in her beauty, theatricality, and musical talent. 

A better, professional video of the show (we were in the orchestra pit):

A night well-played by friends, artists, and Brooklyn, indeed.

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