Fleet Foxes: Sadly, I was running late on my way to the Block Party — the 43 bus didn’t help — and I missed this set. I didn’t feel too guilty, having seen them numerous times in the last few months already, but according to my very reliable sources they were great, as always. And the people flocked to them, as always.
The Canadian duo looked like they were having a lot of fun. All of the crowd — especially the pit — agreed, and decided to get moving for some fun of their own. Plus, seeing the plastic legs in person was pretty darn cool, in a “Christmas Story” kind of way.
The Hold Steady: The pit cleared after Chromeo, but there was a bit of a wait before The Hold Steady was set up. I got a good laugh hearing “These are the wrong dumpy white guys — we want the right ones!” come from the crowd while event staff set up the stage. But once “the right ones” made it onstage, the performance was exactly as zany as I was assured it would be. It was my first time seeing the Brooklyn band, and Craig Finn (guitar and lead vocals) and Franz Nicolay (keys) were the best outrageous-rock-star-entertainers I could have asked for. Oh yeah, and for “Lord, I’m Discouraged,” Tad Kubler broke out a double-necked guitar sporting 18 strings. If I’ve ever felt like I was at an outdoor summer music festival this year, it was while watching The Hold Steady.
Devotchka: Was… unique. In trying to describe their live sound, I came up with part country/western, part polka and part Spanish. It was also the first time I’d ever seen a tuba, violin, accordion and upright bass onstage. Honestly, I didn’t think it was that fantastic, but the rest of the crowd didn’t seem to care. I think the beer garden and neighboring bars had something to do with that, but I could be wrong. I was about to duck out a few songs in to the set, but a friend convinced me to stay — which allowed me to get a front row view at stage left of the guy who fended off security long enough to climb onto stage and consequently be wrestled off and carted away to the drunk tank by police. I thought that was a fitting end to my night.
Keep a look out for more of Renee’s photos on the site soon…