After Thursday's strong start to the 2012 iteration of Pop Fest NYC, I had my expectations pretty high for the next set of performers. None of them let me down, and it seemed like the show just kept getting stronger and stronger as it went on. Unfortunately, I couldn't stay for the duration of the evening. I missed the second half of the fourth act (Wild Moccasins) and the entirety of the headliners (Saturday Sounds Good To Me, who were ironically playing on a Friday night).
Here is a very abridged review of the evening with a photo gallery above (minus the aforementioned headliners).
But of the 70% of the show I caught, I came away extremely impressed. Opening band Catnaps (PA) took the stage a shade early, which was a welcome change rather than 30-45 minutes later than the scheduled start time. The Philadelphia five-piece played whimsical, high energy twee pop about boys and silly things. The members on stage swapped instruments, after almost every song, and the leading ladies up front provided lovely and energetic vocals to accompany the music.
After the Catnaps, Seattle-based Orca Team took the stage with style just emanating from their presence. The trio of Leif Anders (bass/vocals), Jessica B. (guitar), and Dwayne Cullen (drums) took the Pop Fest to a different stratosphere of cool. According to their Bandcamp site, “Each song is short, sung with a lonesome croon, equipped with a melodic bass line, and drenched in reverb.” The effects on the microphone certainly added a distant quality to Anders' vocals. His bass certainly drove all of the songs, and combined with the light guitar that was thrown in and the drums, everything sounded extremely tight.
The band also had a wonderful stage presence, especially Anders. Anders stood up on a chair to start the set and ended back up there a bunch more times. He seemed to glide around the stage, and his slick footwork combined with his frenetic and skillful work on the bass made for an impressive set that made me want to take this band to the beach and just have them provide the soundtrack to my day.
Following that solid act was Cola Jet Set all the way from Barcelona, Spain. This group absolutely killed it right from the start. They seemed so genuinely enthused to be there performing for everyone, and their music spoke to their passion. It was like this band was brought straight from the 50's or 60's to give us all a taste of the good old days, and it felt like the entire place just came alive once they started playing. The interplay between guitarist Felipe and the audience was a delight to behold, and the band rocked through a tremendous set of songs in English and Spanish. Two ladies did the brunt of the vocal duties again (Alicia and Ruth) and their high, perky melodies paired beautifully with the rolling guitar rhythms and upbeat tunes.
Fourth (and finally for me) was Wild Moccasins, a group out of Houston, Texas. Right as they were setting up, I knew this would be an interesting performance. The members were dressed in a style all their own, with wild colors and patterns everywhere. They brought white flowers out and placed them strategically around the stage. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I was excited.
Right off the bat, this group brought some flare. This was a much more modern sound compared to the first three acts, but it fit right in as far as energy. Zahira Gutierrez, in her short poofy skirt, packed a punch with her vocals. The guitars and keys drove much of the melody, and the pace was energetic. These guys let it all loose on stage too, dancing around and playing loose. Although I only saw a short glimpse of them, I could tell the rest of the set would be fabulous.
Sorry Saturday Looks Good To Me, I'm sure your set was fantastic as well.
NYC Pop Fest keeps rolling along Saturday with two sessions: the first at Spike Hill (free admission) at 3:00 and the second at Public Assembly at 8:00 (both in Williamsburg, BK). If the first two nights are any indication, the festival is only going to get better and better.