4 Knots Festival featuring Re-tros, Juan Wauters, Viet Cong, Nude Beach, Those Darlins and Dinosaur, Jr. 7/12/14

4 Knots Festival featuring Re-tros, Juan Wauters, Viet Cong, Nude Beach, Those Darlins and Dinosaur, Jr. 

South Street Seaport

July 12, 2014

As promised, I was recently covering the 4 Knots Festival with my dear friend, the very talented Examiner.com music journalist Kate Spalla – this time as her photographer. It’s taken a little while to go through about half a million pictures and then upload them onto Flickr but at the end of the day, I think it was worth it. Granted, every festival has it’s issues and in the case of 4 Knots, I found the lack of diversity both sonically and even racially to be particularly troubling – all the bands were predominantly white and generally sounded exactly the same with subtle variations here and there.  And with that in mind, a lot of this year’s festival just struck me as not being all that impressive. You mean a festival run by the Village Voice couldn’t get a notable artist of color? An indie level hip-hop act? A punk band? An electro pop act, perhaps?  

There were also some nagging organizational issues. I felt that the organizers could have done a much better job of informing both crowds and the press of when each artist’s set would start and end. Not knowing when someone’s set was going to start or going to end seemed to cause a bit of confusion for everyone, especially if you were completely unfamiliar with the bands beforehand – or if you were only familiar with some of the bands. It’s not particularly crowd friendly and it’s definitely not press friendly.  

By far, Those Darlins and Dinosaur, Jr. were the most interesting and compelling live bands of the entire festival, followed by Viet Cong’s extremely angular sound. Beyond that, I can’t comprehend the fascination behind Mac DeMarco, who despite the fact that he seems to be a sweet-hearted goofball, produces music that strikes me as incredibly dull and plodding. And although Juan Wauters currently hails from my home borough of Queens, i find him to be unlistenable – his voice strikes me as the tone-deaf warbling of a pubescent male singing in the shower. Perhaps, he’s some exceptional songwriter as one journalist tried to tell me but I can’t get past his voice to listen to the songs. In the case of both of those artists, I think the emperor has no clothes and many of my younger counterparts just don’t know any better and have it dreadfully wrong. Yes, I realize that this may make me sound like an old curmudgeon but it’s my opinion and i can’t hide that.

Still, there’s something about being out by the Seaport on a gorgeous summer afternoon and evening catching live music that feels both timeless and right. I’ve spent countless summer afternoons on the Seaport watching bands and hanging out, and it’s one of those things that for me is perfectly New York. With that in mind, check out some photos from proceedings which stretched out across two stages and the better part of a summer afternoon. 

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Dinosaur, Jr.s J. Mascis. 

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Those Darlins played a set which was mostly comprised of their latest album, Blur the Line.

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Re-tros were one of the first acts I caught that afternoon. 

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A sugar skull themed umbrella. 

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Speedy Ortiz from the festival’s VIP area on the historic SS Peking. 

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Juan Wauters on the Fulton Street stage. 

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Viet Cong at the 4 Knots Festival

Crowd surfing during Dinosaur, Jr.’s set. 

This young woman was having the most fun of those up front near the photo pit – and she seemed particularly thrilled to catch Dinosaur, Jr. 

Here’s the incredibly sweet Marnie the dog, who I had met while in the VIP area. She was honestly the belle of the ball, and everyone stopped to pet her, scratch or stomach or say hi to her human. 

Juan Wauters on the Fulton Street stage. 

Viet Cong

Viet Cong on the Seaport stage. 

Nude Beach on the Fulton Street stage. 

This guy was one of my favorites – he was rocking the fuck out and was unafraid to show it. 

For these photos and more check out the Flickr set here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/yankee32879/sets/72157645825901334/

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