Over the past weekend, New York City boasted a number of impressive shows. Amongst the ones we caught we Caribou and Sinkane at East River Park Summerstage, Gilles Peterson at Output, Ducktails and Itasca at Bowery Ballroom, and Taylor McFerrin at the Central Park Summerstage. Here’s a little recap of what went down at each respective musical experience.
Caribou & Sinkane at East River Park Summerstage
Dan Snaith sold out a pair of Webster Hall shows last time he brought his Caribou live band project to the Big Apple. It’s no wonder that a free show on the coast of the East River was going to attract a massive audience.
Sinkane got things warmed up with their eclectic brand of alternative indie. Notes of reggae, funk, jazz, soul, and jammin’ psych-rock create an impressive wall of sound. The DFA Records artists proved to be more than just a worthy opener for Caribou, but a fine spectacle all in themselves.
Caribou followed Sinkane’s show with an equally spacey sound of their own. Bringing a dancier element to the park as the sun began to set, the versatile crowd of 20-somethings lost all inhibition and gave in to the dance party. I’m pretty sure I saw some girls take off their tops throughout the show, where “Sun,” “Jamelia,” “Our Love” and “Can’t Do Without You” served as highlights.
Gilles Peterson at Output
Over the course of his 4.5+ set, Gilles Peterson played afrobeat, future dub, Julio Bashmore, Stevie Wonder, Kendrick Lamar samples, trap, instrumental hip hop, disco, funk, soul, and much more. To put it lightly: he is the greatest DJ I’ve ever seen.
Although Gilles doesn’t produce his own music, his passion for the art is of the utmost. He clearly knows his stuff, and the way he gripped the Output crowd with an expansive variety of vinyl and Serato mixing created one of the most interesting DJ experiences I’ve ever been a part of.
Ducktails and Itasca at Bowery Ballroom
Friday night’s are usually synonymous with wild partying, but this past Friday was slightly different. Entering the mid-level venue of Bowery Ballroom, I was greeted with sweet acoustic music courtesy of Itasca. The artist, who classifies her own stuff as ‘acid-folk’ plays absolutely devastating melodies backed with a sweet-but-slightly-haunting voice. Similar to some of Cat Powers more minimal offerings, Itasca conveys emotion in pure, singer-songwriter gold.
Ducktails followed, marking the largest crowd Matt Mondanile has played to (with this project anyhow). The singer-guitarist-keyboardist, who’s perhaps better known for his roll in Real Estate, took the crowd through his new album St. Catherine before diving into some older, lesser-played cuts. Highlights of the set included “Headbanging In The Mirror,” “Surreal Exposure,” and a “Killin’ The Vibe” encore. Bassist Josh Da Costa provided some chuckling stage banter in between the shoe-gazing pop composition.
Taylor McFerrin at Central Park SummerStage
Brainfeeder’s Taylor McFerrin looks a lot like label-boss FlyLo when he’s on the APC40 – the two have a similar tendency to rub their noses between button-pressing. But that’s not important, what is important is Taylor McFerrin in middle of NYC’s outdoor oasis: Central Park.
Taylor’s blend of downtempo electronica, hip hop, jazz, and dance music was created along with a healthy dose of improvisation and help with live drummer Marcus Gilmore. The two ripped through tunes from Taylor’s Early Riser LP, exploring the tunes’ depths with a variety of synthesizer and keyboard tricks. At one point, McFerrin even told the crowd, “Alright, we’re going to make a beat from scratch and see what happens.” A 12-minute house-tempo dance party ensued.
Expanded versions of “4am” and “Already There” proved to be other highlights during the hour+ set. The show was an opening bid for Glass Animals, but after Taylor’s set, I chose to daydream in Central Park a little bit instead.