If you were one of the hundreds of tourists wandering around South Street Seaport last Friday night wondering who the fuck those assholes on stage are, I have an answer for you: The Radio Department and Asobi Seksu.
Squeezed between the chain restaurants and historic ships, the stage was set for the second to last day of the River to River Festival. The 10th year of the festival kicked off with the Bang on a Can Marathon at the World Financial Center Winter Garden last month (which was in the same spot as the kiddie dance competition from Mad Hot Ballroom! Which I instantly thought of! …but I digress). So I checked out the first performance and one of the last performances from River to River 2011, and they both made for pretty good bookends.
As you can tell by now, my focus was not so much on the stage. Although, near the end of the first set, I began to think about how Asobi Seksu kinda sounds like the cranberries (so score one there). And when The Radio Department played, the mellowness lulled me into a temporary trance, which in this context they should take as a compliment.
So what caught my attention instead? For one, I was on a Match date when a former Match date walked right in front of me (kinda like life imitating art, only with less blood shed). Second, I used up all my energy singing along to Stillness is the Move when the DJ played it between sets. Then, when I was leaving, I noticed a fake Maker’s Mark vending machine, which definitely drew a strong reaction from me.
And besides, if the point of River to River is to expose audiences to a range of arts, then mission accomplished. From Mad Hot Ballroom to the cranberries, there was a whole lotta art in my mind.
Now, does anyone know where I can find a real whisky vending machine?