After a roundabout subway trip from Brooklyn due to the out of service G Train, I found myself in a vacant lot in the shadow of Long Island City's Citibank Tower on Saturday, where a band was setting up to play just as the sun was going down over Manhattan. I was at The Lot LIC: a new outdoor venue on the corner of 43rd Street and Crescent Ave, which has been hosting bands every Saturday afternoon since August 2. A modest crowd lounged around an inground "pool" (actually an art installation) eating food from M. Wells and beer from Coney Island Brewing while Brooklyn quartet Small Black played a set of synthy chillwave. It was pleasant enough, but about as distinctive as a glass of warm milk.
Fortunately, it was only a short walk up Jackson Avenue to MoMA PS1, where the weekly Warm Up dance party was in full swing in the front yard. When I went to Detroit's Movement Festival back in May, Kevin Saunderson - widely regarded as one of the founders of Techno - was held up as a local icon, with his own day-long showcase and an adoring throng of fans. By contrast, Saunderson's headlining slot at Warm Up drew a relatively modest crowd, possibly put off by the ominous skies overhead. (I heard more Spanish being spoken than English, a testament to the Spaniards discerning ear for dance music.) Undaunted, Saunderson spun an intense set with lots of slow builds and big climaxes that, if you managed to get close enough, generated a lot of serious dancing. Warm Up continues for two more weeks at MoMA PS1, while The Lot LIC's Saturday music series continues through 9/20. Show Queens some love - unless you'd rather go to the Zoo.