Random Buffalonians! A giant bar of gold! Beach balls! Dodgeballs! Fierce backup dancers! Gangstas! Live music! Surprise appearances from state senator Chuck Schumer! Was there anything this pool party didn’t have? Oh yea, sunshine and dryness.
Jelly kicked off their second to last Pool Party this week with the Pool’s Gold, an entire Pool Party dedicated to a Fool’s Gold roster. If you’re unaware of what Fool’s Gold is, all you need to know is that it’s a record label founded by DJ child prodigy and Kanye West’s number one man, A-Trak and any music it touches automatically turns to gold. Set to play were Telephoned, the Suzan, Kid Sister, and Chromeo, but a PMSing Mother Nature threatened the whole thing. Though we knew there was a chance of showers today, I don’t think anyone anticipated the monsoon that happened pre-show, except maybe the girlfriend of the only dude with a pancho. The rest of us were stuck nearly drowned in a two block long line with only those crazy hippie chicks with hoola hoops to amuse us. Some folks couldn’t handle it and left. Lucky for Rhys, The Jello Shot Girl (yes, the Jello shot girl. She’s the only one. Serious entreprenuer son) offered some relief. A $4 192 proof relief. If you want your own special relief (every time you see her she has a new flavor), check her out at her next free jello-loving event at Matchless Bar in Williamsburg on September 16th.
Anyway, the problem with the rain was not that the crowd couldn’t handle it, but all those poor DJs and electro pop acts like Chromeo and Telephoned would risk serious damage to their Macs and other synth equipment. It’s funny to think about how thousands jammed in the rain at Woodstock back in the Stone Age, but now a little sprinkling can shut down a one day event. But enough of the cynicism. Although the show was delayed an hour, it eventually stopped raining, we came in, dodgeball was going on and everyone was happy!
Openers were Telephoned, the product of DJ Sammy Bananas and friend/partier/definer of “Do Werk!,” Maggie Horn. As a DJ, Sammy is a maestro at taking solid throwbacks and mixing them with the right beat to create a perfect dance track. Another Brooklyn-based artist, he’s been making quite a name for himself in the club scene this past year with Fool’s Gold. His style has always been engaging, so I guess to make things even more interactive, he got an actual vocalist to help him create what could be described as the Karaoke of a DJ’s wet dream. Telephoned mashed up, covered, and remixed the hottest hits of today and a few from yesterday in a way that surprisingly commanded the attention of a large crowd. Eyes were glued to a magnetic and brave Horn as she worked the large stage by herself, droppin’ it and rolling around on a wet floor, while Bananas overcame wind attacks so strong they ripped his vinyls off the turntables. Although the set had to be cut short due to a random burst of rain, Telephoned definitely made a good impression on the crowd and got the party started. You can download their most recent mixtape for free on Rcrdlbl.
Next up: The Suzans, a truly rich and kickass all girl band from Tokyo, with a friendly rock sound that carries a strong Aretha and the soulful rock n rollas of the 50s and 60s influence. They opened the set with their hit single and party-starting anthem Home, that’s now available on 7″ vinyl or for download here. While there’s been some press on these chicks given their recent SXSW apperance and 3 month stay in NYC, what’s most disappointing about the coverage is the remark (or maybe lament?) about how the four Japanese rockers are not Harajuku girls, as if the only four Japanese females we expect to see in the music world are named Love, Angel, Music and Baby and follow around Gwen Stefani. Did everyone forget about those Riot Gurls in Kill Bill Vol. 1? But I get it. There aren’t many anti-stereotypical Asian ladies in the media. Even the most deadly assassin in Kill Bill was a 17-year-old Japanese school girl. But don’t get it twisted, the only things cute about The Suzans are their ever-so-polite bows after a song and the occasional lost in translation that happens during the call and response sections of their songs (it could also be the fault of a sound system that wasn’t pumping the vocals or music as loud as it could have, imo). Other than that, these chicks were serious rockers, with Rie on keys/precussions/vocals/synths/Jesus, Nico on drums looking like she could kick your ass, bassist Ikue refusing to stay in the shadows, and lead singer/guitarist/Rie’s sister Saori ready to let the world know that Japanese girls are not too polite to take it to church. Their new album Golden Week for the Poco Poco Beat comes out this Fall and was produced by Peter Bjorn and John. It’ll definitely be worth getting your hands on.
Following them was everybody’s favorite Kid Sister. The loveable, energetic, and fierce Chicago native took the stage without the company of her usual backup dancers or the presence of her spinning brother (J2K, 1/2 of Flosstradamus), but was still able to set the ish off all by herself. Covering all sides of the stage and at one point poppin’ it on the gate with the audience, Kid Sis twirked, rolled, switchboarded and flaunted the crowd into the perfect pre-Chromeo frenzy. Performing old time favorites like Pro-Nails, Daydreaming, and Right Hand Hi, she also spent a good chunk of her set showcasing some hot new bangers that’ll leave you a little breathless. With crew or sans crew, her live set is amazing and she definitely deserves every ounce of recognition she’s getting, having spent the summer and most of the year touring. In fact, she was in such a rush getting from the Mad Descent Block party in Chicago the night before to a relatively early call here in Brooklyn that she lost one of her most precious assets: a nail. Ever the soldier, Kid Sister taught everyone what a Fool’s Gold party was about, bloodied-bandaged pinky finger and all. On the real, she has to be one of the hardest working and rowdiest female MCs out there, but at the end of the day she’s still able to stay bubbly and send love to her fans via twitter. Her club-hop anthems album Ultraviolet is available now on Fool’s Gold/Downtown Records, and rumor has it she’ll soon be adding Snoop Dog and Ludacris on her list of famous rappers she’s collabed with. Follow her @kidsister, she’ll make you laugh at least once a week with some real Chi-Town style observations f’shure.
After that Chuck Schumer, introduced as an avid Chromeo fan, made a random election-timey appearance during which he called Brooklyn the Greatest Place in America. I’ll take it.
Then the rain came back, and we thought that despite Chuck’s reassuring speech the party was over. That is until..the legs lit up, the lights turned on, and finally out came Chromeo, that Arab-Jewish duo of sexyness from Montreal! Is it just me, or do people actually not realize that their music sounds like something our parents would dance too? Either way, David 1 (older brother of A-Trak) and P-Thugg (who puts T-Pain to shame with his use of a talk box) grooved and boogied an eternal set (seriously, it would not end) with the help of their slightly terrifying backup singers the Chromettes. Never did I ever think two Canadians could play music so hot it’d make a group of rowdy Buffalo boys go crazy from sexiness (they’d probably say they were going wild because of the music or whatever, but we were all apart of the same crowd. It was a sex magic that Justin Timberlake can’t begin to fathom). Throughout their hour and a half (two hour? three hour??) long set, they showed their appreciation to drenched fans by performing pretty much every single or song they made a video for since ’04, including new single Don’t Turn the Lights On. Best moments had to be Tenderoni, the intro to You’re so Gangsta during which they called us all Gangstas for sticking it out in the rain and, you know, being from Brooklyn, and incredible live versions of Night by Night and Fancy Footwork. Of course, natural teasers they are, they had to debut some of the new songs that will be found on the very anticipated third album Business Casual. If you are not up on your Chromeo game yet, you need to work it out, because they may just have more solid gold soul than your dad. And for those of you who already know, you’ll just have to watch the video for Don’t Turn the Lights On over and over again while you wait for the new album to drop this fall.
Despite being uncomfortably soaked, the amount of talent and the mindblowing level of performances witnessed today, combined with the fact that it was all free made the Fool’s Party not only the perfect way to end the summer but also an inspiration to get out there and start doing the damn thing again! Seriously, there is nothing better than being amongst a crowd that is truly enjoying itself and artists who are totally vibing off of that energy. What an amazing experience supported by such a dynamic group of people and organizations. You gotta love summer in NYC, you gotta love Brooklyn, and you sure as hell gotta love a good Fool’s Party Pool Party.