Siren Festival 2009 Preview

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8:00 PM, Stillwell Stage: Spank Rock

Art-hop collective takes their high energy show outdoors (QRO photos at a festival) in the heart of summer in their own backyard.  Here’s a glimpse of what to expect: QRO photos in Brooklyn

Spank Rock
7:30 PM, Main Stage: Built To Spill

Yes, the ‘biggest indie-rock band outta Boise, Idaho’ is still around, still on Warner Bros., and still putting out new music, most recently 2006’s You in Reverse.  They’ve gained a second life on the festival circuit (QRO photos at a festival) – including headlining Pitchfork Music Festival’s ‘Write the Night’ the night before in (QRO festival preview).  QRO review

Built To Spill
6:30 PM, Stillwell Stage: Monotonix

While Siren has had a ton of wild acts over the years, none are wilder than Tel Aviv (that’s in Israel, kids!) natives Monotonix.  The three-man act’s live show (QRO live review) is done amidst the crowd, with ‘singer’ Ami Shalev’ stealing and trashing his own band’s equipment.  It all culminates in the ‘drummer’ surf, where the crowd lifts the drummer & kit up above their heads.

6:00 PM, Main Stage: The Raveonettes

Danish rock-star duo Sune Rose Wagner & Sharin Foo first got notice for making all of their music in the key of B-flat minor (2002’s Whip It On) then b-flat major (2003’s Chain Gang of Love), before widening their sound (and band) for 2005’s Pretty In Black (including guest appearance by Ronnie Spector – QRO photos).  However, they returned & revived their minimalist with last year’s Lust Lust Lust (QRO review), a haunting garage throwback.

5:30 PM, Stillwell Stage: A Place To Bury Strangers

After playing the Siren after-party (see below) last year (QRO Siren 2008 preview), Brooklyn’s own A Place To Bury Strangers has been bumped up to the main bill in 2009.  Challenging Spinal Tap for claim of ‘loudest band ever’, AP2BS are also skilled musicians, from their self-titled debut full-length (QRO review) to running their own pedal company, Death By Audio (which is also a venue – QRO review).  But at home (QRO photos in Brooklyn) and outdoors (QRO photos outdoors) expect their loud sound to boom all the way down Siren’s long street-cum-stage floors.

A Place To Bury Strangers
5:00 PM, Main Stage: Grand Duchy

When an acclaimed musician like Frank Black/Black Francis/‘Charles’ (what he actually goes by), of the seminal Pixies, his own strong solo work (like last year’s Svn Fngrs EPQRO review – and 2007’s BluefingerQRO review), and even producing (such as the recent Art Brut Vs. SatanQRO review) decides to make a record with his wife, it’s invariably a recipe for disaster (remember Wings? – and that was Linda McCartney…).  But paired with wife Violet Clark as Grand Duchy, the two put out the accomplished and interesting Petit Fours (QRO review), introducing electronica (and surprisingly strong female vocals) to FB/BF/‘C’s alt-rock.  Though don’t be surprised if people shout out for Pixies songs…

Grand Duchy
4:30 PM, Stillwell Stage: Future of the Left

In support of their vicious new album, Travels With Myself And Another, the wild Welsh rockers are sure to tear the festival a new one.

Future of the Left
4:00 PM, Main Stage: Frightened Rabbit

Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit really put themselves out there on record, but their live show also sees them joking, in their Scottish brogue, capture on this year’s live album, Liver! Lung! FR! (QRO review).  Also a strong festival band (QRO photos at a festival) – they’re going to be going to Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago the day after (QRO festival preview) – it is a pity they’re not doing a ‘Write the Night’ set like is going on at Pitchfork (though not with Frightened Rabbit), as they’re even better when taking requests (QRO live review all-request show).

Frightened Rabbit
3:30 PM, Stillwell Stage: Thee Oh Sees

Hailing from The O.C. (the name was original ‘Orange County Sound’, then ‘OCS’, then – well, you get the idea), John Dwyer formed Thee Oh Sees to put out his experimental, instrumental home recordings, but over seven records has morphed into a full band.

Thee Oh Sees
3:00 PM, Main Stage: Japandroids

Vancouver garage-rock outfit Japandroids are hitting up a bunch of Canadian festivals this year, but only a few in America – including going to Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival the day after (QRO festival preview) – on the back of their debut full-length, Post-Nothing.

2:30 PM, Stillwell Stage: Bear Hands

Taking up the role of ‘Brooklyn band playing early at Siren’ (previously filled by Dragons of Zynth – QRO album review – and White Rabbits – QRO spotlight on) is friend-of-the-Q Bear Hands (QRO spotlight on).  Their alt-punk is more skilled than most in the genre (or the borough), and they’re currently in the studio, working on their full-length follow-up to 2007’s self-released Golden EP.  Fronted by the engaging Val Lopez & Dylan Rau (QRO interview with both), they play well outdoors (QRO photos outdoors), at festivals (QRO photos at a festival), and/or at home (QRO photos in Brooklyn) with songs like “Sickly Brunette” (QRO video) and “Long Lean Queen” (QRO video).  After playing their hometown a ton in the last few years (QRO photos in Brooklyn), NYC’s been missing Bear Hands (QRO photos).  So come early to catch them before they break – coming up next is famed U.K. festivals Reading & Leeds…

Bear Hands
2:00 PM, Main Stage: Micachu & The Shapes

Classically trained experimental musician Mica Levi – a.k.a. ‘Micachu’ – broke out of Surrey & the U.K. grime scene when she formed The Shapes last year.  Debut album Jewellery got them much attention & a record deal, and now she & The Shapes bring their unconventional pop (including self-made instruments & recording of vacuum cleaners) to America.

Micachu & The Shapes
1:30 PM, Stillwell Stage: The Blue Van

There might be something wrotten in the state of Denmark, but not one, but two Danish acts are gong to be hitting Siren up, as The Raveonettes (see above) are joined by The Blue Van.  These Vikings rock with energy, not death-metal, most recently with The Man Up EP – but can they take the baking heat of the Coney Island early afternoon sun? 

The Blue Van 

1:00 PM, Main Stage: Tiny Masters of Today

Don’t say Coney Island doesn’t have anything for the kids – Siren’s putting them right up on stage!  Siblings Ivan & Ada average out at age fourteen, but are just out with sophomore (!) LP, Skeletons (QRO review).  Not the most inspired band, but better than you were when you were starting high school, and hopefully liking their lo-fi garage-pop won’t put you on some Amber alert watch list…

Tiny Masters of Today
Siren After-Party

If you’re not completely worn out by the music (and the heat) of Siren, head uptown to Music Hall in Williamsburg (QRO venue review) for the official Siren after-party, featuring Francis Farewell Starlite’s musical collective Francis & The Lights and solo artist Gordon Voidwell (just off a residency at Piano’s – QRO venue review).

For festival website, go here:

Francis & The Lights 


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