25 August 2008

Yo La Tengo @ McCarren Park Pool, August 24, 2008

This weekend marked the last free concert of the summer (and possibly ever) at McCarren Park Pool. A triple bill headed by indie mainstays Yo La Tengo (the most redeeming group to come out of New Jersey since, um…ever) proved a perfectly rocking way to bring the season to an end.

Thousands gathered to hear the trio of Ira, James and Georgia play a nearly seamless set, eclectically segueing from epic 10-minute jams to mellow acoustic fare to sunshine and-rainbow pop (complete with brass backing band!). This is a band that’s maybe older than half the audience’s parents and yet they play with more energy, vitality, and not to mention relevance of bands half their age. They could definitely teach the young'uns a thing or two about rocking out. As their album title insists, they are not afraid of you and they will beat your ass, indeed!

Titus Andronicus and Ebony Bones opened (look for subsequent posts on them) while fans filled up the usual dodgeball courts and piled on to the slip ‘n slide between sets marking the end of a sweet and short-lived era.
For those unfamiliar with the venue, McCarren Park Pool is a long-since abandoned watering hole built during the Great Depression in 1936, waaaaay before the advent of indie rock. However, over the past three years, the empty pool has served as home to some of New York's largest concerts during the year’s sunny months, many of them free as part of Jelly NYC’s pool party series. But looks like water, not music will be filling the pool in coming years, with discussion of reconstruction and a $50 million overhaul in the works for next year. The future of the venue is in jeopardy, and will almost certainly to come to an end.

All this sadness begs one question: where will all the hipsters play dodgeball now?

Mr. Tough - Yo La Tengo
Stockholm Syndrome - Yo La Tengo

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