Boooooop Boooooooooooop Wah Wah booooooop! Are those sirens I hear? Is that a 300 lb. lady in a bikini? Was that guy making a cold cut sandwich on the D train on the way over here? These questions (and their answers) are a few of the many reasons I have made Siren Festival my sole summer tradition for the last four-years at Coney Island; Yes, THE Boney Island. Why is this such a destination fest you ask? Why is it called the Siren Festival? Why would I want to stand in 100 degree heat for hours on end to catch bands that play NYC on several occasions? Maybe its Nathans dogs, huh? Oh, but you're a vegan, so what's the point? Maybe it's the Cyclone, right? But you don't liiiiike Roller Coasters. How about the little game we call "Shoot the Freak" on the boardwalk? Right, you feel like this is a bit below the belt. So I guess what's left is (gasp) the tunes. 'Um, I've been to Coachella and Bonnaroo this year' you say, I dont need another festival. So what's the draw, once and for all? Two Words: Booze Cruise.
Yes, you heard it here from your skipper. This is the boat that very few know about that takes off backstage each year from 12:30-9pm and "docks near the stage" to give you front row seats to the fine bands that make the bill each year. Spoon, MIA, Broken Social Scene, you get where I'm going with this. I started it off this year with The Dodos, who "create psychadellic folks songs," produced a ton of sound for just three folks and were a real treat for those in attendance. Next up on the agender, Ra Ra Riot. I've been following this Syracuse-based group for quite some time now, and after seeing them live for a second time, I can assure you their album does them no justice. Great energy and their sound were really on-point. It was at this point that I rode my favorite ride of the evening, the time acceleration ride (Sponsored by your favorite off-brand vodka). This ride took me from the end of Ra Ra Riot to Broken Social Scene (who played nearly three hours later) in about 5 minutes! After getting off, I saw Broken Social Scene smoke it as usual, and further prove why they continue to put out some of the better female artists in recent indy-rock memory. Their sound continues to evolve but are more entertaining and at ease than ever.
So next year, condo development willing, do yourself a favor, and make a friend. A friend of a friend even, that knows someone with a ticket to the backstage boat. Hop on, enjoy the day, ride the Cyclone (just like Grammy did) and make a day of it. You owe it to yourself, and to the New York City summer.