The year in music, circa 2010, started at the Cake Shop, with a shred-down to the New Year courtesy of Siren Festival MVP-to-be Marissa Paternoster and her band Screaming Females. After a tour through the NYE fetes of the Lower East Side and Williamsburg, that night ended amidst a marathon show at Bushwick’s Shea Stadium, right around the time the Blastoids’ drummer poured paint on his kit and started splattering away.
The first of many memorable events in 2010 came from Less Artists More Condos/Under 100 promoter Ariel Panero, who tragically passed away in December. This one was a January 15th show at lower Manhattan’s St. James Church, with the Beets, Real Estate, Total Slacker, and Tony Castles (who were for some reason joined by Curren$y). The following week, Catholics responded–turned out they were not pleased with the “dance party in the processional aisle” and the “beer can on the altar.”
Next up: a trip to Mercury Lounge to see visiting Brit Ebony Bones and her colorful cadre of musicians and dancers. She designs all their costumes.
Continuing on the theme of visual spectacles, Andrew W.K.’s wife, the fitness professional and dance-pop singer Cherie Lily, threw a hell of a party. She invited balloon-headed performance artist Bad Brilliance to join her Houserobics crew; together, they opened for Beyonce’s choreographer, Jonte.
In February things were no less weird back at the Mercury Lounge, where we took in the tongue-in-cheek stylings of Leslie and the Lys . “If Strangers With Candy’s Jerri Blank was an art-school rapper played by Camryn Manheim’s little sister, she might be something like Leslie Hall,” said Camille Dodero.
March saw the annual New York pilgrimage to Austin for the South by Southwest sprawl (no badge required), where highlights included Jelly and Mad Decent’s Carniville, a 3-day spectacle at the Mexican Cultural Center complete with full-size amusement park rides and major antics from Major Lazer.
Our SXSW vacations all got a little longer in 2010, with the advent of Todd P’s MtyMx in Monterrey, Mexico, a highly experimental foray into the business of throwing DIY rock festivals across the border. Zach Baron made the trip.
Ariel Panero pulled off not one, but two Erykah Badu shows in one weekend–the first being a very exclusive (and very sweaty) affair in Dame Dash’s tiny basement, where she performed for over an hour; the second was a much bigger party at Hudson Hotel club Good Units, with opener Spank Rock, who was promptly booed off the stage.
Columbia University laid down 100 Gs for one night with Of Montreal, Ghostface Killah, and Wiz Khalifa in the middle of campus. And some kids took their clothes off, sort of.
The Bamboozle Festival returned to the Meadowlands parking lot in NJ, with Paramore in the headlining slot. (“Young enough to wear leopard print pants, old enough to be the best female singer in rock music,” said Zach Baron). In this photo, Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams is having a snack in the on-site trailer before their set.
New Orleans sissy bounce queen Big Freedia made several stops in NY throughout the year, most memorably at the Chicken Hut for Oakland-based party Hoodstock.
Sleigh Bells played to an already apeshit crowd at Coco 66; eardrums were broken when their label’s owner–who happens to be M.I.A–joined them onstage for the finale.
Hillstock, an annual homegrown folk-meets-art-rock festival of sorts put on by Showpaper and friends, blew up a Bed-Stuy backyard in Brooklyn for a weekend in June.
Two truly excellent party bands, Quintron and Miss Pussycat and JEFF the Brotherhood–by way of New Orleans and Nashville, respectively–took over Death by Audio for a night in June.
The L Magazine‘s Northside Festival proved to be spectacularly unphotogenic, save for Les Savy Fav’s Tim Harrington–first in a sasquatch suit, and then with his junk hanging out of his shorts.
Vice, with Intel as the very generous sponsor, threw a 12 hour-long party-to-end-all-parties in Manhattan, as part of the Creators Project, a series of similarly ridiculous shindigs around the world. In addition to a score of crazy interactive art installations, there was a lineup more typically suited to events like Coachella: Interpol and Gang Gang Dance played in the loading dock, Die Antwoord made their NY debut, MIA performed as the (poorly kept) secret guest, and even Salem did a set.
M.I.A. had a private album release party at P.S. 1, and a miscommunication about the outdoor set’s end-time (mandated by noise regulations) resulted in her getting kicked off the stage at her own party a few minutes into her set. The whole thing was, Baron noted, “typically weird.”
The Village Voice‘s own Siren Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary at Coney Island. SOTC-faves Matt and Kim returned for a repeat performance, this time as headliners. And in this photo, “Hey, it’s that guy”!
An underground bar in Bed-Stuy was the unexpected venue for a raucous insider-y garage-rock “bikini bash” (literally), with SF band Thee Oh Sees–who had headlined the South Street Seaport stage the previous night–Brooklyn’s Golden Triangle, and Frankie Rose and the Outs. O.J, a guitarist, was electrocuted, but only a little bit.
One-of-a-kind one-man-band Bob Log III visited the Knitting Factory and made some people happy.
MIA (briefly) headlined HARD fest on Governor’s Island. Most of her set was rained out, among other… issues. Here, her burka-clad army of dancers lines up backstage.
Mad Decent hosted a free “block party” at the South Street Seaport topped off by a feisty Maluca, who was definitely popping bottles.
The final Ariel Panero production we covered saw Dipset’s Jim Jones on the stage at Death by Audio, doing a “Walk This Way”-style collab with Snakes Say Hisss. It was unexpected, surreal, and really fun. Ariel’s band, Tough Knuckles, played too.
The Dead Weather came to Prospect Park, where Jack White opened the show by lighting his cigarette with a blowtorch.
A free “Old-School Night” at a high-school football field deep in Brooklyn brought a hit-packed reunion of Salt-n-Pepa, Naughty By Nature, and Slick Rick (not to mention good ol’ Brooklyn Borough Prez Marty Markowitz).
Last-minute news of a free Dam Funk show in Ft. Greene Park intrigued us greatly, on an especially muggy, gross day in August. It was perfect.
Back at the South Island Field on Governor’s island, the Rock The Bells festival was a parade of hip-hop royalty backstage. Jay Z, Beyonce, and Mary J Blige came out for A Tribe Called Quest and were mingling with everyone, the whole Wu Tang Clan was wandering around the premises, and Snoop Dogg performed Doggystyle in its entirety.
In the fall, we passed on ATP, and hopped the Chinatown bus to Baltimore for another Virgin Festival, which was free for people who managed to get tickets. The lineup included Pavement, LCD Soundsystem, M.I.A., Ludacris, Matt and Kim, Sleigh Bells, Yeasayer, and all kinds of other bands, playing in the woods at Merriweather Post Pavilion.
In December, Spin had their annual Year in Music party at the newly renovated Don Hill’s, with a performance by their “Artist of the Year,” Florence and the Machine.