Siren Song


Siren fans, bless their little hearts, are a dedicated bunch. They show up at 11 a.m. to claim a spot, and wait patiently until two hours later when the bands begin. Last year when I DJ’d, I noticed two guys in particular who seemed like they’d been planted in the ground. They were cool, calm, and collected, and didn’t so much as blink (occasionally they applauded). I don’t think they peed the entire day.

I half expected to see them standing there this year when THE PONYS took the stage. (They weren’t.) When you are young, and the event is free, and your favorite bands are playing, you will do just about anything, even if the sun is baking and you can’t move an inch. When you are old and jaded and cranky (me), you stand in the backstage tent, only peeping momentarily at the bands playing to see if you’re missing anything. (I wasn’t, but then, indie rock isn’t my sort of thing anyhoo.) In the V.I.P. tent with the less young-and-jaded music industry folks, you could find mondo fashion designer and Siren regular HEDI SLIMANE (that is, if you knew what he looked like). And while only three of us were excited, most of the music dorks were probably more impressed with the presence of comedian DAVID CROSS. Among the old and jaded backstage was YEAH YEAH YEAHS‘ manager-babysitter ASIF AHMED, who announced brightly that he was moving to L.A. to join KAREN O. I asked him why and he said, “I hate New York.” “Me too!” We high-fived.

Elsewhere backstage, it was business as usual. DJ BAG LADY, a/k/a KERRY DAVIS of the TWO TEARS, in town after a few months in Paris, double-fisted it with two nasty rum-and-Sprite drinks at the ripe time of two in the afternoon. Vice magazine’s GAVIN MCINNES was wearing a sling and an outfit that would have landed him in his own magazine’s “Don’t” pages (a Puerto Rican-flag top, high-water white jeans, and pink Converse sneakers. Yikes). SARAH WILSON had the most unfortunate luck—someone, probably a hipster, stole her cash and took her Vanity Fair ID card out of her wallet while she was backstage. (A friend cracked that someone from Paper magazine was probably jealous). Flyer magazine’s DAN SHUMATE and ex-Flyer publisher HOSI SIMON mingled with DJ KIMYON, who spouted off about the fact that there’s a big party at Crobar for the Republicans during the national convention—as if you didn’t already need a reason to boycott the superclub. (Aren’t overpriced drinks, dull music, and equally dull people enough?)

The other main stage DJ TOMMIE SUN-SHINE—who’s usually more fashionable—could’ve used some help from Slimane. He resembled (take your pick) GRIZZLY ADAMS, JERRY GARCIA, or JESUS H. CHRIST, with a fuzzy beard and shaggy hair. “This is my summer look,” he quipped. Sunshine, who has a post-ravey album in the works, made a boo-boo during TV ON THE RADIO‘s set, when, during a supremely pregnant pause, the DJ figured incorrectly that their set was finished and threw on THE FALL‘s “Totally Wired,” whereupon the band started up again. Whoops. He went up to DAVID ANDREW SITEK to apologize for the mess-up, and Sitek responded that it was no biggie, but that, as a result, he wanted to play Fall songs for the rest of their performance. TV on the Radio seemed to be everyone’s fave—former Siren star NICK ZINNER of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs was in the crowd checking them out, and Sunshine called them “the most original band I’ve heard in a while.”

Later, before headliners DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE played the main stage, I ran into MICHIKO SWIGGS of another Seattle-based band, IQU. She relayed the story of how several years ago, when they were still called ICU, they were served a cease-and-desist order while onstage from the Intensive Care Unit. They read the note to the crowd, laughed, and changed their name. After Siren wrapped, I heard about an extremely drunk blonde girl stealing the leftover beer high school-style, loading it into her bag until no more would fit, and then stuffing more bottles under her dress, muttering “Neil won’t care.” She was supposedly on her way to an after-party with HAR MAR SUPERSTAR. Maybe someone shoulda given her a cease-and-desist order. There’s always next year.