The Tripwire's day at JELLYNYC's Pool Parties has finally come and gone. This was my first time out to the McCarren Park Pool and I have to admit that it is one of the most unique places for an outdoor event that I have ever experienced. When you walk up to this graffiti covered mammoth sized pool, you kind of have to ask yourself where the hell am I? It isolates you from the sights and sounds of Brooklyn, making for a really cool temporary break from reality.
Erin Chandler and I got to the pool a couple of hours prior to the gates opening to get our fancy new banners up, make sure all of our bands have arrived and to get the DJ equipment ready to roll. We were greeted by their fantastic production crew, who asked if we had seen Jason Lytle from Grandaddy. He was due for his soundcheck and was nowhere to be seen. Literally about one minute later we saw two dudes skateboarding down the sidewalk to the artist entrance. Yup, it was Jason Lytle. No fancy van, not even a cab, as he chose his skateboard as his means of transportation for the day.
The bands had soundchecked, the DJ equipment was ready to roll, the slip & slide was inflated, the rubber balls had been set out for dodge ball, Brooklyn Brewery was set to serve some ice cold beer and Ben & Jerry's had the ice cream ready, so it was time to open the gates. All England Club kicked things off with my first DJ set of the day, getting the people moving to The Stranglers' "Peaches." This was going to be a good day.
After an hour and a half of British jams, Boston's Bon Savants took the stage. We were first introduced to this band through Robert English when he included one of their songs on the Tripwire Push Upstairs podcast. They blasted through their indie rock meets Britpop-flavored tunes from their debut album, Post Rock Defends The Nation. The up-and-coming band made plenty of new friends with their energetic performance of "Why This Could Never Work Between Us," "Tip Of Our Tongues" and "Post Rock Defends The Nation." Frontman Thom Moran confessed that they were living on one-hour of sleep, but that didn't seem to bother them in the slightest. They are rapidly becoming one of our favorite east coast bands.
While Bon Savants cleared the stage for Jason Lytle from Grandaddy, DJ Cockfosters from All England Club took over the ones and twos for a blazing set of British metal. Lytle began his performance about thirty-minutes later, with a set filled with plenty of old-school Grandaddy jams. His low-fi setup worked well at the pool, coming across as very intimate for such a large space. The one thing I will say about Lytle is that he is just one super cool, easygoing dude. No rock star bullshit ego at all. On stage it came across has he was singing on his back porch with a bunch of friends, such as on the Grandaddy classic "Hewlett's Daughter," which was especially cool as the crowd sang along with the melodic keyboard part. I was personally thrilled to hear one of my favorites, "Chartsengrafs." This may very well have been the last time for many of us to enjoy hearing Grandaddy songs live, and for some reason it felt just right to experience our farewell in the summer sun.
At this point in the day the slip & slide was in full effect, with kids and hipsters standing side by side in line to cool off. I also wandered over to the dodge ball court for a second, which was getting a crowd of its own. These guys were totally serious, beating the shit out of each other with those red rubber balls. Any inkling of a chance that I would join in for a game was quickly obliterated. It was time for my next DJ set anyways, so I zipped back over to the stage to play a little Joy Division, Editors, Pulp and plenty of others. I noticed that Jason Lytle was nodding along to my set, which was pretty damn cool.
Although some clouds started to creep our way, the weather stayed absolutely perfect for the entire day, especially during Pretty Girls Make Graves. By the time they began their rockin' set, we had cleared 4,000 people in attendance. It was a fantastic crowd and they were totally treated by PGMG's performance. I have to admit that this was my first time to experience them live, and holy shit are they amazing! Once the keyboard line began for "The Number," which continued as they took the stage, their fans quickly crowded up to the edge of the stage.
Lead singer Andrea Zollo has one of the most impressive voices in rock, totally commanding the stage with her amazing pipes and shimmy & shake rock dance moves. "The Nocturnal House" may have been my favorite song of the entire day, and they totally rocked the shit out of it. The duel drumming of "Parade" was mighty cool as well.
Pretty Girls Make Graves did come back for an encore, giving their fans a couple of more songs to help wrap up our day at the pool. It was a fantastic day out in the sun, bringing together music fans of all ages. Parents, kids and indie music fans got to enjoy a beautiful summer day filled with some great live performances. For those of you who attended, we hope that you had as much fun as we did. Many thanks go out to the JELLYNYC for putting together such an awesome event. Also, we have to send a shout out to Robert English for his help in booking the bands. We wish you could have been there!
Here is Erin Chandler's photo gallery of our day at the McCarren Park Pool.