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Saturday at Catalpa: Part 2

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

The Black Keys, TV on the Radio, and more brought the house down to close out the first day at Catalpa.

When The Black Keys took the stage to finish out the first day at Catalpa on Randall's Island, the skies again opened up and rained down on the thousands gathered for the inaugural Catalpa NYC Music Festival.  At this point, the crowd had already dealt with a monsoon earlier in the day, and this rain was bearable.  Besides, this was The Black Keys.  More rain wasn't going to prevent them from having a good time during the headlining act on Saturday night.

The weather held up for the latter part of Saturday's festivities as more groups performed for a crowd that multiplied as the day went on.  The sun even crept out for a little while as bands like Hercules and Love Affair, The Sheepdogs, Umphrey's McGee, and TV on the Radio played to very receptive audiences.  While Saturday's lineup didn't exactly have the name-brand groups that Sunday offered, they put on a hell of a show to close out the day.     

The rain did it's damage, muddying the ground and making some sections of the plot impassible or just treacherous.  But all things considered, the crew did a terrific job of running things despite the weather.  There were very nominal delays (although TV on the Radio's set started a little bit late and seemed to be cut short for some reason) and things went fairly smoothly.  There was also a ferry waiting at the day's end, which was extremely convenient (or perhaps just lucky).

Here are my thoughts on the night portion of Saturday at Catalpa.

  • The Black Keys absolutely tore up the main stage.  Between Dan Auerbach's soulful voice and Patrick Carney's insane drumming, the group really knows how to put on a good show.  The high energy you feel from the studio sound radiates even more during a live performance.  Although they didn't play as many of their slower songs, it was an incredibly fun set.
  • The Keys did feature a backup band, but it was really nice to see them go "solo" and play as a duo for about four songs.  They kicked just as much ass with that lineup and it just felt right seeing the pair go crazy like that.
  • Auerbach really slow-played a lot of the songs.  Once you thought a song was over, the band would all of a sudden erupt after a couple quiet beats and finish out the song. 
  • TV on the Radio played an incredibly smooth, tight set.  Those guys are a whole lot of fun to watch live, and all of the funky sounds they create really fit well in a live setting.
  • As I mentioned earlier, it seemed like their set got cut short (or ran shorter than I would have expected).  That was a minor disappointment, as it seemed like they were really getting into a groove when they abruptly thanked the audience and wished us all a good night.
  • The band played "Second Song" in honor of the Beastie Boys' "MCA" Adam Yauch, who passed away earlier this year.
  • Jam band Umphrey's McGee needed two sets on the Jeep Stage to satisfy their fans.  Before they arrived for their first hour, chants broke out of "We want that Umph!/Gotta have that Umph!" in the rhythm of the classic George Clinton song. A tie-dyed shirt was raised above the crowd that said "Peace Love & Umph."
  • Tiny figurines of Yoda, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and a jukebox adorned the amps on stage.  Also, a bottle of wine.
  • The group is known for their live shows and their incredible improvisation skills, and they didn't disappoint.  Between the double drum kits, the dueling guitars, the keyboards and the bass, there was plenty or room to play around musically.  I didn't stick around for both sets, but I'm sure their second was unique and just as fulfilling.
  • Before Umphrey's on the Jeep Stage was Canadian rock group The Sheepdogs.  You could hear the southern rock influence throughout their set, and the shaggy hair only added to their aesthetic.
  • These guys have made a name for themselves in the last couple years and soon will have a new self-titled album that was produced by The Black Keys' Carney.  Get into these guys on the ground floor.
  • After Zola Jesus on the main stage came new age disco group Hercules and Love Affair.  I had no idea what to expect with this band, and their music wasn't really suited to my tastes.  Two DJ's stood behind while two vocalists and two dancers ran around the stage.  The crowd seemed very receptive, but it just didn't do it for me.

Check back for photos and write-ups from the final day of Catalpa on the way in the near future.

Let CHARGED.fm get you tickets to see your favorite bands and musicians live this summer.


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