Live Review

The Village Voice 4Knots Music Festival

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The Village Voice 4Knots Music Festival

For the fourth consecutive year, the Village Voice 4Knots Music Festival took over the South Street Seaport in New York City for seven hours of music on July 12. This year’s set up was different from years past with a Front/Row Stage set up in the middle of Fulton Street and the main stage on Pier 16. Fit in around the reconstruction of South Street Seaport’s shopping and dining center (undergoing a complete overhaul through 2016), the new set up required walking back and forth for a few hours but had little impact on the music patrons, and people passing through, for the annual, all ages, and free, event.

It was a perfect day for a music fest with weather in the toasty, upper 80s and no rain in sight. For music fans, the morning was also a sad one as fans learned about the passing of the last original member of The Ramones, Tom Erdelyi, on July 11. There was a sprinkle of Ramones tees in the crowd, but all anyone had to do was listen to the bands playing to feel the real spirit of the Queens punk icons.

4Knots kicked off promptly at 1pm on the Fulton Street stage with Dead Stars, who wore the 90s on their sleeves (and tunes)—Nirvana tees and all. Radkey kicked things off on the main stage. The band’s set also marked the close of a hectic tour for the Missouri punk band. They kept spirits high early on even when things went quiet. At one point guitarist Dee Radke and co. had to show off their air guitar skills when they lost sound a few songs in. Soon things turned back on, allowing them to pack in a solid set of some choppy punk, including “Feed My Brain,” about a love affair between a student and a teacher. Later, Speedy Ortiz sped things with willowy singer Sadie Dupuis spitting out a little ’90s riot vibe followed by some moody grooves from Canadian indie rockers (made up of two former members of Women) Viet Cong.

On the smaller stage, Brooklyn trio Crazy Pills’ turned on some crazy pop punk, Juan Wauters sounded like a folk Johnny Thunders, while Fulton Street headliners Nude Beach, who (along with Radkey and Those Darlins may have been the better opener to Dinosaur Jr. later in the eve) used their fuzzed out rock to close out the Fulton stage for the day.

Nashville ladies (and two dudes), Those Darlins brought some southern swagger, getting out nearly a dozen songs in set, including their girly punk version of The Crystals’ 1963, Spector-penned hit “Then He Kissed Me.” As the New York City swarms tightened in for headliners Dinosaur Jr., the crowd surprisingly surfed along to some lighter grooves from Mac DeMarco. Dinosaur Jr. closed out the night pounding the pier’s stage (and even brought out friend Kim Gordon, who hung out for the  band’s entire set on the side of the stage). As the crowd formed a mammoth mosh pit in the center of Pier 16, the band managed to squeeze in 14 songs, including You’re Living All Over Me’s “Feel the Pain” and “Just Like Heaven.”

Photos by Patrick J. Eves – Hippie Death Bed Productions