The day at the seaport was charmed. The Village Voice couldn’t have wished for a more opulent mix of breeze and sun than that bestowed on the afternoon of their 4Knots Festival 2013. Luckily, there were no freak emergencies such as the three-alarm Pier 17 fire of 2012 to interrupt a beat and it seemed the ever-amassing music fans throughout the day were bolstering the South Street Seaport area businesses, many of which are still sadly closed or hurting from post-Hurricane Sandy damage.
This year’s 4Knots was heavy on guitar rock in all its guises, with Houston-based rapper Fat Tony as the lone hip hop artist of the day, singing a mix of songs from his latest album, Smart Ass aidBlack Boy along with his rap partner and DJ/producer Tom Cruz, who later played the after-show at Music Hall of Williamsburg along with Lil’ B.
Singer Mish Way coyly stated that her band White Lung may be more suited for the dark, but they were still hell’s belles in the sunshine. Their charged and sultry set of girl-powered ferocity poured a dose of punk sass into the salty breeze, causing fans’ fists to pump non-stop into the air at each rapid fire turn.
Brooklyn’s The Babies, a surprise standout for some of us today, filled out their bright, American garage sound with surf-inspired licks that lingered. Perhaps they were still reeling from their recent success at Spain’s Primavera Sound, since they’ve become a relentlessly fun festival act. On the main stage, Parquet Courts (I always want to call them Parquet Floors), took it up a noisy, distortion-heavy notch, a meeting of post-punk and NY slacker rock with fun location-specific lyrics like, “I was walking through Ridgewood, Queens…”, conjuring a Velvet Underground-meets-Iggy vibe.
The kids in the crowd, by this point, had wildly begun to mosh.
Guitar-noodling Marnie Stern was her usual fierce and progtastic self, summoning up both the depths of despair and higher planes, yet much of her subtle vocal changes were lost to the sea breeze. It didn’t take away from her ability to woo her fans, especially the guys who can’t take their eyes off her, and always refer to her as the hottie Marnie Stern.
Brooklyn’s The Men pumped out a smoldering set, complete with a guitar being played by the blades of a pair of scissors and a cover of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” that didn’t fail to crank up the heat amongst the crowd surfers; though I must admit, for some reason this band was always a bit too heavy on the dude riffs and vocal gruff gruff for my taste. This doesn’t take away from the fact that for many, theirs was the most awe-inspiring performance of the day.
Photos by Zabatay