by Jonathan Singer
Rock the Pool
Apparently I’m cool enough to score press credentials to the upcoming (free) Black Lips concert at McCarren park pool. Special thanks to **** *** **** ******* ** for setting up the deal. If no one is bluffing, here are some questions I have for the band. Feel free to comment with your own questions, I just might end up asking them.
-Last summer you guys took a trip to Israel/Palestine, and apparently the merch sold on your website is sold in pounds. How popular are The Black Lips overseas, compared to your popularity in the US? Why is it that many American indie rock bands become popular in Europe before they garner mainstream success at home? What’s it like to be part of that scene?
-You’re playing at McCarren Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, arguably the Mecca for hipster culture. Today’s show is free, and is supported by (insert companies on concert day). What do you think of the commercialization of this subculture?
-You’re from Atlanta, a city more known for southern rap than for garage rock. What’s it like to be a garage rock band from Atlanta?
More questions to be posted…
The VIP Area
Apparently a lot of other people were cool enough to get on the list that makes them VIPs at the McCarren Pool Party. Now I find myself in some high-class area where beer costs two dollars instead of six. In a neighborhood where everyone thinks they are better than everyone else, I feel better than all the suckers who had to wait on the long line for regular admission. But the concert is free to begin with.
I see groupies with funny sunglasses; I think they’ll have more access to black lips than the amount I get. The problem is that I don’t really know what the black lips look like. All these people look the same.
Roman and I interviewed some of the hipsters waiting outside before the show. “We’re not pretentious, we come for the artists,” said one patron. “I don’t think anyone should try to outcool anyone else,” said another, a 25-year-old resident of Williamsburg who rents her living arrangements as opposed to owning them.
More on this scene later…
Some Time Later
It’s some time later and the VIP area is as packed as ever. King Kahn is currently on stage to the right of me. I know that Kahn is Persian, but the rest of his back-story is messed up. One guy told me it’s Kahn’s first US performance in 12 years. A fellow VIPer said that he recently performed another show here in New York City. According to Kahn himself, the singer is from Montreal.
He performs like a madman. Sure, he encourages the crowd to throw garbage on stage, so that King Kahn and his shrines (the band) get pelted with plastic beer cups.
The music is reminiscent of James Brown, but with more cursing. Then again, I wasn’t around for James Brown. At least in 40 years I can say I was at one of those McCarren park pool shows in Williamsburg.
Apparently this article that I’m writing is more about the scene at this concert than the music. Deerhunter just finished their set, and (gasp) they have a girl in the band! Like any larger outdoor venue, the sound quality isn’t the greatest, but I was still able to hear Deerhunter’s ambient grooves. In fact, some of the music made me zone out, and I found myself wandering aimlessly around this municipal pool turned concert venue. By the time I snapped out of it Deerhunter had upped the ambience for their finale, doing that hip thing where you play your electric guitar directly in front of the amplifier. Then the girl guitar player did cartwheels and flashed her underwear. That peep show made me feel bad to be single. Black Lips are up next, and I will try to bag a hipster girl before this show is over.
This is the last season for McCarren pool parties. According to some dude who spoke on stage, next year the city’s going to fill the empty pool with “some sort of liquid.” Since they gave out VIP creds like crazy, I wasn’t sure who the dude was.
But for the time being, I have Internet on my phone, which means that I can update this journal AS THE BLACK LIPS ARE PLAYING. While I won’t have the chance to ask the band my Atlanta question, I don’t think it matters because ONE OF THE GUITAR PLAYERS WEARS A GRILL ON HIS TEETH, just like a true ATL gangsta.
And the music doesn’t suck either. The grill player commented about rock music having synthesizers, priding the fact that his band is two guitars, bass and drums. No turntables…
The “media credentials” I thought I was going to get ended up being bullshit. So I didn’t get to interview any of the bands, although I did have a quick run in with King Kahn: He snubbed me off because he was late for sound check. Then he handed me a flyer for some after-party that I obviously didn’t go to.
Sorry if I seemed delusional for the past few days, I genuinely thought I had something going when I created a really fancy letterhead and sent a professional sounding e-mail to some guy named Kip. Kip put my name on the VIP list, which gave me access to the VIP area. But the talent was confined to an area within the VIP area, a space that was guarded by very un-hip looking jacked security officers.
That left me wondering how all the other people got into the VIP area. Two of the people I talked to claimed to be freelance journalists/photographers.
Maybe Brooklyn Vegan was there, but I don’t know what Brooklyn Vegan looks like. At least Roman got access to the photo pit in front of the stage. But he couldn’t get on stage like some other photographers.
For some reason I found Damon in the VIP area. What’s up, Damon?
The concert itself was mediocre; The Black Lips were really fucking loud but played some pretty catchy tunes in style. Maybe it was because they had a good amount of hot chicks on stage with them. I have no idea how those women got passes to be on stage. I don’t want to call today’s McCarren Pool Party one big hipster circle jerk, but today’s McCarren Pool Party was one big hipster circle jerk. Fuck you and your fucking scene, but at least it was fun to go into Brooklyn on a Sunday. Maybe my writing talents will land me a high paying job so I can afford one of those new half million dollar condos that are being built in Williamsburg. Hooray!
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