Monday, July 11, 2005

Can I get a witness?

What a festive Sunday for me.

After a brisk (and very hot) bike ride to and then in and around Central Park, it was my good fortune to take in a lovely show at SummerStage, featuring The Royal Wylds, Citizen Cope, and The Blind Boys of Alabama. I was joined by several friends and we had a lovely afternoon.

I arrived first and was therefore the only one of us to catch The Royal Wylds. This wasn't such a bad thing for my friends, as The Royal Wylds weren't much to write home (or here) about. Straightforward folk-rocky stuff. A decent listen, but ultimately not very satisfying. I suspect this had more to do with my personal tastes than any musical shortcomings on their part. I'm just not that into those types of tunes.

Citizen Cope started off well with a thick, bass-heavy Marley-inspired tune. However, their set rapidly lost cohesion as they began to indulge in a bit too much jam band nonsense. Add to that the singer's uncanny vocal resemblance to Greg Allman and we're talking a recipe for personal annoyance. They really dragged on and on (Rebecca and I were practically in tears at certain points) and played an extra long set for some reason (although the show did begin at 3pm, so nobody was in a hurry). But in the end, we all managed to survive. Tasty food was had, as well as good conversation; a pairing which always makes that time go more pleasantly.

Then the Blind Boys took the stage and made it all worth it.

Incredibly powerful gospel inspired blues and rock with more than a pinch of Southern Baptist church fervor thrown in for good measure. All of us were swaying and bopping to the beautiful harmonies and stiff country two-step beats. It's the vocals, however, that put things in the stratosphere. Rumbling basses, sweet and light tenors, and a solid baritone section fill the entire sonic palette. It was like a prayer meeting without all the annoying God stuff.

Just great.

The Blind leading the rest of us.

So I hopped back on my bike with a smile on my face (and a song in my heart; oh, Jesus, that was lame...) and zipped back to Brooklyn. All in all, a fantastic day. Great music + 25 mile bike ride + lots of sun + women dressed for summer = happy Ben.

Seeing summer in a different light with:

Various - Cen'Art
(1 cup ambient, 1 cup glitch, 1 cup down tempo; shake until smooth)

Mick Harris / Eraldo Bernocchi - Total Station
(weirder, darker down tempo experiments)

Various - DJ C's Rubber Teeth Mix
(pump 'n' thump it up, rastabreaks style)

Various - Friendship Into Decadence
(a gift from the one and only Derek Rush)

Various - Don't Fuck With Us!
(just don't; you'll be better off; really)


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