Mission of Burma/Fucked Up
Jelly Pool Party on the Williamsburg Waterfront
Sunday, July 12
Yes, there’s still dodgeball. No, the cargo-shorts ban didn’t take. Yes, East River State Park, the new site for Jelly’s free Sunday-afternoon Pool Parties , will remind you a great deal of the old site, McCarren Park Pool: what feels like acres of concrete, what feels like hundreds of thousands of haphazardly dressed yoofs, what feels like a profoundly unhealthy amount of direct sunlight. And no, you won’t miss when the Pool Parties actually took place in a pool, thanks to a) the East River, and the rather pleasant breeze blowing thereoff, and b) the lovely view of Manhattan beyond said river, a splendid tableau to gaze upon when you wish to avert your eyes from Fucked Up frontman Pink Eyes after he removes not just his shirt, but his pants as well.
Other innovations specific to this venue include a holding pen for beer-drinkers, a half-court basketball setup to compliment the dodgeball (watch as a point-guardish dude in a Siouxsie and the Banshees T-shirt unleashes a few bitchin’ behind-the-back passes), and emphatically whistling guards to dissuade you from actually jumping into the East River if the East River’s cultural reputation does not. A fine people-watching/judging way to spend a Sunday afternoon if the heat ain’t too brutal, which ain’t no thing lately, so.
Plus Fucked Up, as you may recall, are fantastic. “Black Albino Bones” is a perfect union of ferocity and disarming melody; “Crooked Head,” as always, just kills, three blaring guitars, steady bass, and a hypnotically pulverizing drumbeat to buoy Pink Eyes’ jovial shrieking and various nearly NC-17-flavored antics, many of which involving a belt he apparently borrowed from someone in the crowd and hopefully did not return. “You know where the last place we played was? Two days ago?” he asks. “Serbia. You know who we played with? Korn.”
After a lengthy delay and the inevitable Marty Markowitz cameo, Mission of Burma struggle to match that intensity — still love ’em, and, oddly enough, their last record, 2006’s The Obliterati, especially — but even “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver” doesn’t trigger much fervor onstage or off. “This Is Not a Photograph,” our encore and climax, does, thankfully. Ah well. Even the greats are upstaged on occasion, in this case by some combination of a monster opening band, oft-shirtless feats of semi-athleticism o’er by the dodgeball/basketball pit, $5 mini-pancakes, an arresting view of the suddenly inferior borough across the water, and a small, roiling ocean of pasty legs in cargo shorts. I’m not judging you. I’m judging me.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 13, 2009