The Last Jelly NYC Pool Party: Yo La Tengo and Titus Andronicus


Yo La Tengo and Titus Andronicus onstage
photos by Rebecca Smeyne

Easley Makes The Turn and Heads For Home

Yo La Tengo
Titus Andronicus
McCarren Park Pool
Sunday, August 24

The social hour of JellyNYC’s final McCarren Pool party spilled onto the stage Sunday, the audience veritably surrounding Yo La Tengo during their almost hour-and-a-half set. As fellow Jerseyian openers Titus Andronicus joined the Tengos for a sloppy encore of the Misfits’ “Where Eagles Dare,” a pair of bros even skittered behind the band, snapped a cell self-portrait, and stumbled away. “I like turning my back to the audience when I play, but it’s a lot harder when there are people behind me,” said guitarist Ira Kaplan earlier in the set. “Other than that, things are going pretty well.”

The Hoboken trio achieved topicality with brass-bolstered takes on Bobby Freeman’s 1964 hit, “C’mon and Swim” (“just like The Dog, but not so low,” demonstrated the normally taciturn Kaplan, waving his arms), “Moby Octopad” (current Mets second baseman Damion Easley slotted in for former outfielder Butch Huskey in the chorus), and Dead C’s “Bad Politics,” dedicated to Barack Obama.

Whether the tanned hipster flesh who braved the seemingly mile-long line noticed this–or the Sun Ra cover (“Somebody’s in Love”), the careful and sudden blooms of spring reverb (“Watch Out For Me, Ronnie”), or Kaplan, drummer Georgia Hubley, and bassist James McNew emptying bottles of water in the pool as “a public service”–or were just cheering one more free day at the Park, wasn’t entirely clear.

“As the Titus Andronicus guys pointed out to us, the closing of the Pool is really passing the mantle,” Kaplan said, pre-“Eagles.” “This is pretty much it for Williamsburg, pretty much it for Brooklyn. You’ve gotta start looking across the Holland Tunnel, across the Lincoln Tunnel.” For the Hoboken-bred Tengos, this hardly qualifies as news.