Governors Island NYC
Jun 21 2008
WWWhatsup Online Pinstand
with thanks to Governors Island, Make Music NY and Chloe Anderson
Back in PUNKCAST#1190 last August, we saw Aaron Friedman talking about his ambitious plans for 2008's Make Music NY, a local version of an international festival that takes music to the streets. The reality surely met his expectations with over 800 bands playing around the city on the longest day of the year. Of particular interest to us, naturally, was the scheme to turn Governors Island, a recently mostly de-commissioned military base in New York Harbor, into 'Punk Island' with 13 stages and over 100 punk bands. It was promised that bands would also be playing on the ferries to the island. This, in fact, indeed was a little over-ambitious and the reality was 8 stages and maybe 60-odd bands - still an impressive achievement.
It was a beautiful day, sunny and not too humid. As I, after having had my bag searched for contraband, tooled over on the ferry around 2pm I noticed that, along with the punks, there were a good quantity of very normal looking visitors. Some were clutching flyers for 'Army Heritage Weekend' which apparently, in a classic example of double-booking, was also taking place. Arriving on the island I asked one of the many blue-shirted stewards "Where the punk at?". All over was the reply. So I wandered off to the left. Coming over a slight rise I heard an amplified invocation "Jah Rastafari!" so I headed in its direction to find Buddha Heroes, from Beacon NY, just setting up as their audience lolled under a convenient tree. While technical problems were sorted out the band jammed on an easy reggae beat that gave me high hopes. However as soon as they went into proper action their songs were of that modern harmony/emo style that I find hard to relate to, so I wandered off in search of more authentic material. After a fairly lengthy stroll along the waterfront I rounded a corner just in time to find exactly what I was looking for - full-on classic style NYHC in the form of Olde York. Great energy and warm-hearted lyrics kept me shooting for seven songs. Moving on, after a few more minutes, I discovered Jersey punk folkie Nathan Carpenter delivering forth from a bungalow porch. As he went into his second song a clock bell chimed in time causing a loud laugh from his audience. Satisfied with that as a clip, I moved on. By this time I was becoming highly amused by the incongruities of the scene - the crisp ordered environment, the gaggles of scruffy noisemaking punks, and the ubiquitous stewards and lounging cops.
By this time I had reached the back end of the publically accessible area and took a right on the road that divides the island in two. Here I found, nestling in the shade under the wing of a large building, the NYC Punk crew in full effect. As I reached Status Quo No Show (SQNS) were just finishing. As part of their act the singer had shaved his head while performing. As I waited for the next band to set up I chatted with Punk Rock Val who explained to me there was a main stage on the other side of the building. She told me it was running late as, as one might expect, there had been a conflict with the Military event. Some officer had appeared and ordered all the punks off the stage and the a military brass band had played for VERY LONG TIME while the punk bands kicked their heels. I shot 3 songs of the next band up - Straphangers - before heading off to see for myself. Before I could get the cam going - partly because the soundguy gave me grief over plugging in without the band's ok - the band on stage finished their set. Had to laugh when I found they were called Copyright Chaos. They sounded good and had a large and healthy pit going. I was sorry to have missed them. Informed that the next three bands would be The Choke, Kilslug, and Reagan Youth I decided to stick with it. Supposedly many of the other stages would be packing up already with a ferry-imposed curfew just hours away.
Many of the punks rested after their exertions while The Choke, who are more garage-rock, played, however one could sense that the sight of bombshell singer Cameron definitely brightened the day for the stewards and members of NY's Finest stuck there on duty. Despite the total ban on booze on the island 80's Boston sludge-rockers Kilslug seemed well-fueled (later drummer Big Daddy would tell me that they'd killed bottles of corn liquor and JD prior). Singer Larry Lifeless was in good spirits, even greeting the cops at one point, and restricted his aggro to merely bashing a Santa Claus model on occasion. They were joined by Seth Putnam of Anal Cunt on guitar. Finally, as time was running out, we got to headliner Reagan Youth. To some, any version of RY without late singer Dave Insurgent is sacrilege, but the crowd didn't care as they piled on each other to old favorites like "I Hate Hate" and sieg-heiled merrily to "Reagan Youth" before the plug was pulled.
Reflecting later, it seemed that the city's mode of castrating the threat of massed punks on the street by 1) enforcing a booze etc checkpoint via the ferry and isolation from bodegas, and moreover 2) dividing them up into tiny groups, had been highly effective, but it seems just about everyone was happy with the event and it will be repeated next year,
|DVD's on all except Buddha Heroes and Nathan C..|
Myspace Buddha Heroes
Myspace Olde York
Myspace Nathan Carpenter
Myspace The Choke
Myspace Reagan Youth
6/22/08 NY Times A Fine Day for Music, No Matter Your Taste
6/24/08 brit in brooklyn slideshow
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