The Hipsters in the Sand celebration also known as the Siren Music Festival went down on Saturday, and to the glee of all the attendees who trekked all the way out to Coney Island, not a drop of rain fell until well after the show was over.
Setting the tone of the day for bands bringing their own take on rock to the stage, the Fiery Furnaces banged out a pure sonic assault with track after track from both Gallowsbird’s Bark and their newest, the wet-dream record of critics the world round, Blueberry Boat. Their live show has evolved into a musical game between brother-sister duo Matthew and Eleanor, challenging each other for who can segue into a new riff and how many seconds it takes the other to jump right in, synch up and tear through the track.
San Francisco’s Vue rocked the Main Stage after the Furnaces with their take on spastic, stylish dance blues-rock. I’d never seen them because of some sort of prejudice due to their name, but they put on a high-energy show at the hottest part of the day. Front man Rex Shelverton wins the award for best off-the-bass-drum-scissor-kicks of the day.
After Vue, I cruised the crowded boardwalk to the Stillwell stage to catch the one band of the day I didn’t want to miss, The Fever. Already running behind schedule, the Constantines were just wrapping up their set of Spoon meets Rival Schools rock. The middle band of the day, playing to a sweaty, dehydrated, intoxicated crowd, the Fever managed to get the packed masses to actually dance. Blasting through tracks from their recently released Red Bedroom, the Fever were a needed jolt of energy as heat and a steady stream of Budweiser from plastic cups were taking their toll. After set-closer “Ladyfingers,” I was ready for more hot and sweaty rock, so back over to the main stage it was to catch some of Har Mar Superstar’s dance-rock party.
As everyone knows, Har Mar looks best when sweaty and scantily clad (see too hot for TV Vladivar Vodka ads for proof). Siren’s mix of coco-buttered beach babes and rock & roll ass shakers is his ideal crowd, and the bastard love child of Chaka Khan and Elton John was the man to bring it.
As the day was cooling off and the sun going down, the chill out stage to be at was right by the Cyclone. With kids screaming as the rickety wooden rollercoaster made its rounds, Blonde Redhead took the stage to mellow out the crowd. Front woman Kazu Makino cooed the audience into submission and with her partner in vocals, guitars and sexy swagger, Amedeo Pace, created a gorgeous sunset moment.
Not wanting to break the spell, I skipped seeing …Trail of Dead, though I heard from all in attendance that it kicked some serious ass, to loiter at the Main Stage to catch Death Cab for Cutie. The perfect band to continue the mood created by Blonde Redhead, Ben Gibbard’s vocals brought the hot, crowded, balls-out rock of the beginning of the day to a lovely close. Admittedly more twee than I am usually willing to stick around for, Death Cab’s sing-along set was the perfect close to a day which offered everything from Gilbert and Sullivan carousel rock to dance rock to shoe gazer-intimate rock.