While the hordes were making their way out to Giants Stadium for Live Earth yesterday, my friend Greg and I decided to check out the Boredoms show at Brooklyn Bridge Park - only to find out upon arrival that the venue had reached full capacity several hours earlier. For all the thousands that also got locked out yesterday, you can thank Vice and JellyNYC.
So, we decided instead to head up to McCarren Pool to see what we could of the Built to Spill/Cat Power show. (We didn't make it in time for Bob Mould, who opened with an acoustic set.) Cat Power was playing when we arrived, to a fairly full house. She's never been a particularly rocking live act, often feeling just this side of awkward, but the crowd showed it's appreciation, largely on the basis of her critically-acclaimed, self-afficingly titled 2006 release, The Greatest. (C.P. Photo courtesy of Nick Sowards.)
Boise's best Built to Spill headlined, with lead singer Doug Martsch maintaing the same awkwardly earnest vibe. But, that's where the similarities with Cat Power ended. In an 80 minute set chock full of their hits - many from their two outstanding albums Keep It Like A Secret (1999) and Ancient Melodies of the Future (2001) - Martsch channeled the spirit of his notable forebears Neil Young and Tom Verlaine with his powerful, penetrating voice. (Conversely, both Modest Mouse and Death Cab for Cutie have cited Built To Spill as a major influence on their sound.) Martsch is no slouch as a guitarist, either, and the rest of the band - Brett Nelson, Scott Plouf and Jim Roth - contributed a wall of wailing guitars that threatened to shake the remaining blue paint off the walls and floor. (The City, in their infinite wisdom, is planning to renovate the pool next summer, effectively ending it's existence as a concert venue.)
They closed out with "Carry the Zero," which soared out over the crowd with sonic majesty, sending many of us into fits of spontaneous dancing. I can't think of a better way to spend a warm Saturday night in the city. (Middle BTS photo also courtesy of Nick Sowards.)