4Knots Music Festival Main Stage
Saturday, July 14
Better than: Waiting in line at McCarren Pool.
Now are the times of heat. During Hospitality’s set, the sun shone brightly. It was hot; shade was at a premium. The Brooklyn trio’s brand of dreamy indiepop, which mixes childish vocals and smooth musicality, put the listener at ease, and encouraged the mind and eye to wander. Shortly after they wrapped, while Delicate Steve was just starting his set on the Skipper stage, I noticed a few red-hulled boats nose their way through the water taxis and Shark boats crowding the dock. It became hard to miss the few dozen men in green striped jackets milling around the far side of the boardwalk, near the Pacific Grill’s outdoor seating area. And then, was that smoke? Yes, it was smoke. The boardwalk was on fire. I never saw any actual flames, just large, billowing clouds of black smoke that lasted throughout Delicate Steve’s set.
As soon as he finished, everything ground to a halt. Or, perhaps, a better way to put it is that things kept going on the way they had been, with people drinking and chit-chatting and wondering when things would get going again. The space between bands seemed to stretch on and on. A rumor rippled through the audience that the rest of the show had been cancelled. Was it really? Maybe the authorities were just trying to clear out parts of the boardwalk, someone offered. Maybe. It was hot, and it was easier to have another drink than to worry.
As it turned out, the show resumed after a gap of about an hour, during which time the fire was put out and a byzantine system of police tape erected. This made walking from one side of the boardwalk to the other extremely difficult, and accessing the inside of the mall all but impossible. (How am I going to get this picture of my cat engraved inside a plastic cube now?!) After the hubbub, one Seaport employee barked an order at a concertgoer lazily smoking a cigarette in a sliver of shade: “Put that out! And not on the boardwalk!!”
Rather than losing steam, the fire seemed to invigorate the show and crowd. Crocodiles and The Drums became de facto openers from Archers of Loaf, instead of the almost-closing bands on an all-day bill; it helped, too, that both bands are extremely good and play at a high pitch of energy. I saw a photographer crowd surfing during Crocodiles, snapping pictures the entire time. With their Dire Straits keyboards and energetic guitar sludge, it was easy to get carried away during their set—literally, even.
Critical bias: I have waited my entire life to be on “a VIP boat.” It did not disappoint.
Random notebook dump: A man in crew socks and activity sandals running away from a falling beach ball, as if it would seriously injure him.