Todd P’s 2010 Unamplified Acoustic BBQ
Sunday, September 12
Better Than: Being dry.
When two shirtless men playing bongos tell you to clap, you clap–even when the sky is pouring rain, even when you’re all the way out in Jamaica Bay, even when you’re one of only 25 or so people at the show. Yes, Todd P’s second annual unamplified, acoustic BBQ took place in the rain. We all know that Brooklyn’s most prolific promoter likes a challenge (MtyMx, anyone?), so his decision yesterday to forge ahead–and say to hell with what was forecast to be a 30 percent chance of rain–was not hugely surprising. But the earth does what it wants: It rained a ton, pretty much all day long.
We arrived at Floyd Bennett Field just as the downpour was letting up, and after getting lost in the maze of abandoned army barracks and defunct runways, we finally came upon a small group of young people. They were hanging around, and not minding the rain at all. A couple of bands had already played, including Gobble Gobble and Skeletons. Just beyond the large parking lot was a small clearing, and beyond that a rocky beach on Jamaica Bay. In the clearing were the shirtless bongo players: Etienne Pierre Duguay, who plays drums in Real Estate, and Sasha Winn from the band Blissed Out, who was also barefoot. They were drenched, but drumming. A female singer joined them for one song, adding that they had “written” it just a few days prior. (Duguay announced the band was called, at this point, “anonymous.”)
The two are part of an increasingly popular school that’s popping up in parts of DIY Bushwick, largely surrounding the Market Hotel and its inhabitants. Let’s call it “urban hippiedom.” Adherents aren’t interested in food and farming but rather psychedelia, visceral experiences, yoga and the like. This was their kind of scene. The aptly named Blissed Out played next, under a tarp. They had small electronics that could not get wet. Go figure. Their first song was a “cover,” if you could call it that, of Jay-Z’s monster hit, “Empire State of Mind.” A sample of the song played quietly in the background while the band employed keyboards and Tibetan prayer bells to alter it and make it their own. We were in New York City, but the whole experience felt very far, far away.
Later, both 9/11 Thesaurus and The Blow showed up, the latter closing out the show. No one really seemed to mind the rain too much. One woman said, “I’m too drunk to notice!” Still, afterward Todd P tweeted that the show would continue next weekend— a literal rain check.
The Scene: Wet, underdressed hipsters reveling in “nature.”
Notebook Dump: Ever noticed that once everyone around you has to deal with the same pain, or annoyance, (i.e, rain and cold), the pain is easier to deal with?
Overheard: “These keyboards, if they get wet, might electrocute and kill us all.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 13, 2010