Live: Catalpa Offers A Little Bit Of Everything To The Soggy Masses At Randall's Island
These horrible balls made an unfortunate appearance during TV On the Radio's set; the Brooklyn rock outfit was one of three New York City representatives that didn't quite possess the populist vibe of the other big acts. TVOTR's live show is, in this critic's opinion, relatively spectacularlead singer Tunde Adebimpe and his band slowly built tension for their opening song "Young Liars," then performed selections from their two most recent albums and gave a heartfelt shoutout to Adam Yauch. Though I found the band enthralling, the group next to me was distracted from the songs about hubris and general self-absorption by the overwhelming need to snap pictures of themselves. ("Yo, I need a picture of you in that headband for my background," one particularly vehement photographer insisted repeatedly.)
Pablo Rojas Whitney Marston Pierce of Hercules & Love Affair.
The disco/house group Hercules and Love Affair had an easier time roping in initially uninterested Catalpans, thanks in large part to relatively new vocalists Gustaph and Whitney Marston Pierce. Pierce, a statuesque blonde in vampy makeup, was particularly effective, commanding the stage with a burlesque performance that convinced a couple of male Umphrey's McGee fans to stay put and watch the strange, half-naked lady campily mime sex. During the group's performance, a cheerful, tiny woman from the New York Parks and Recreation Department materialized to pick up disposed bottles and torn wristbands, dancing the entire time as she moved her trash-grabber rhythmically from ground to bag.
A$AP Rocky was the last of the idiosyncratically New York acts to perform; he was competing directly with Girl Talk's mainstage set, and he was extremely grateful for the crowd that showed up. After letting his crew the A$AP Mob run the stage for the first ten minutes of his set, he appeared to shoo them away, claiming that it was "time to start the show" in earnest. He was plagued by relatively poor sound quality, but the Harlem MC's earnest appreciation for the crowd went over well, and his desire to "fuck a jiggy bitch" was received with raucous laughter and a succession of enthusiastic candidates who were clearly confident about their inherent jigginess. (Rocky was one of only three rap acts, all of whom were slotted in on Sunday.)
Matt Johnson and Kim Schilfino's brand of joyous, keyboard-driven dance-pop was more in line with festivalgoers' tastes. It also helped that after a six-month hiatus, Matt and Kim were grinning like fools on laughing gas and kicking into each and every song with abandon. Kim volunteered to the crowd that she had been aggressively Kegeling because she wanted "to fuck the shit out of you tonight." Matt demanded that she booty-dance on top of her drum kit; both performed exuberant acrobatics that left the crowd whooping, cheering and trying desperately to catch up through the power of stomp-and-shout dancing.