Posted in music | pictures on July 18, 2010

"The best band from last night were the Chain Gang of 1974. Caribou the headline act were boring and I missed most of Phantogram. Fun anyways" - Hayley Hughes

"yick, chain gang of 1974 definitely won't win any awards for theie lyrical prowess. better luck next time y'all." - Taylor Self

"Chain Gang of 1974 are fun. Thought they were doin LCD Soundsystem's 'Us v Them' but no. Bass driven, dancey. May check em out at bkbowl too" - Ryan Muir

"Caribou BROUGHT IT at Governors Island last night. Dancin shoes worn out. Hopefully I can drag myself to Siren Fest..." - Chris Macowski

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photos by Andrew St. Clair, words by Rachel Kowal

DOWNLOAD: Phantrogram - Mouthful of Diamonds (Michna remix) (MP3)

Caribou @ Governors Island Friday night
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When the members of The Chain Gang of 1974 kicked off the evening's show at 8:00, the area in front of the stage was only sparsely populated, but people continued to filter in from the ferry as the sky dimmed. From the first notes of the thumping bass line, and the repetitive chorus of their opening song ("Stop!"), I admit I was pretty skeptical of the Denver artist and his backing band.

"Wake up! Come on! Wake up!" shouted front-man Kamtin Mohager as the beats from "Stop!" were winding down. He tossed his yellow guitar pick into the crowd, broke out a tambourine (and his best falsetto), and enthusiastically launched into the next song. From there, things only got more ridiculous. Throughout the course of their short set, Mohager hurled everything from water bottles to CDs and even a pair of bright red Converse high tops into the crowd, striking anyone unfortunate enough to be in the way.

Later, as Mohager shouted the line, "Just bob your fucking head," the crowd stared on in disbelief (and mild amusement). The Chain Gang of 1974's set was entertaining - but perhaps not in the way Mohager intended. The over-the-top delivery, unpredictable projectiles whizzing through the air, and lyrics about getting high all made for quite a show - even if it was only accidentally entertaining at best.

Phantogram
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Next up was the impossibly hip duo, Phantogram, from upstate New York. Immediately, the mood shifted. There's nothing accidentally hip about keyboardist/vocalist Sarah Barthel, right down to her perfectly angled haircut, chic black clothing, and deeply intoxicating voice. Behind the duo, a series of swirling, indistinct images (with the occasional urban or pastoral landscape) were projected onto the wall to accompany their soulful electro beats, which served as a nice segue to Caribou's trippy (but upbeat) psychedelic fair. From the pulsating beats and sexy vocals of "When I'm Small" to the moodier strains of "You Are the Ocean" (which guitarist Joshua Carter sings), Phantogram's songs are captivating regardless of the tempo.

Caribou also made use of the projector for their show, favoring concentric circles (like their recent album art) and other brightly colored geometric arrangements, but far from sticking to black, each of the four members donned a lightly colored shirt. Knowing they'd have plenty of time for things to escalate, Caribou kicked off their set with the slowly building "Leave House" from their spring release, Swim.

"Everybody, we're Caribou. How are you doing? Thanks for coming to see us," said front man Dan Snaith by way of introduction. Though the stage at Governors Island is a decent size, Snaith and his band occupied only about 20% of it. Instead of leisurely spreading out, they had elected to sit closely huddled in the middle, with a ring of monitors and amps surrounding them. From this intimate set-up, they looked at one another for subtle timing cues as many of their songs are elongated in a live setting to allow for trance-inducing instrumental interludes. Far from hogging the spotlight, the pleasantly unassuming front man spent more time facing drummer Brad Weber than the audience. At times, Snaith would join Weber on the drums in what seemed like perfect synchronicity, as if they two were riding the same trance. Meanwhile, the crowd at the beachfront danced around, appreciatively, in a way that was appropriately both subdued and carefree, depending on the song.

"Jamelia," the final track on Swim, was particularly intoxicating with its smooth vocals, chill beat, and hypnotic synth line. But just when the audience was starting to fall into a coma brought on by the song, Caribou followed up with the more upbeat (and truly expansive) "Sun," which sent ripples of life into the crowd that coincided with the song's periodic swells.

But with each passing minute, more people vacated the area and lined up at the gate - no doubt to land a spot on one of first ferries back to Manhattan. By this point in the summer, the long lines - one of the major drawbacks of the Governors Island shows - are no secret. When Caribou came back on stage for their encore, even more people filed out, leaving only the most dedicated (and blissfully unaware) fans to dance in the pit 'til the end of the show.

More pictures and a few videos from the show, below...

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The next Converse-presented, free 'Gone to Governors' show on Governors Island isn't until August 8th when Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band share a bill with Justin Townes Earle and Dawn Landes & the Hounds. Local Natives play a $10 show on The Beach on August 7th.

Caribou - Bowls, Live in NYC - Governor's Island

Caribou - Found Out, Live in NYC - Governor's Island

Caribou - Odessa, Live in NYC - Governor's Is. 1 min PART

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Comments (23)

http://www.brooklynvegan.com/img/music/caribou/governors/atmosphere/16.jpg

I can see this one on HRO - will umbrellas be a part of the hipster fashion sense in 2k11?

Posted by Anonymous | July 18, 2010 10:31 PM

I'd do the Phantogram chick.

Posted by Anonymous | July 18, 2010 10:44 PM

i have an urge to punch all those Chain Gang band members in the face.

i would also do Phantogram chick

Posted by Anonymous | July 18, 2010 10:50 PM

Chain Gang was the best band? Caribou were boring? Get a fucking clue, you bleached-blonde Jabba the Hutt.

Posted by Anonymous | July 18, 2010 11:21 PM

Hi, I am Hayley Huge and I am a fucking moron!

Posted by Anonymous | July 18, 2010 11:40 PM

these shows are such a waste of time. so much effort for very little reward. standing in line for a total of 3 hours (to and from the island). waiting for music for an hour and a half. that's 4 and a half hours of nothingness and waiting. it's nice that the shows are free but it's a total hassle.

as for the music, chain gang of whatever quite possibly had the worst lyrics of any band i've ever heard. phantogram was okay (nothing new really) and caribou ruled (of course). too bad we had to go get in line halfway through the set so we wouldn't be stuck in epic nowhereland.

no thanks.

moment of the night: converse schill asking crowd if they were wearing their converse sneakers and receiving a resounding "NO".

Posted by Anonymous | July 18, 2010 11:42 PM

I just made a phantogram in my pants

Posted by trashtalkingsandwich | July 18, 2010 11:52 PM

caribou was pretty nifty.

Posted by Anonymous | July 18, 2010 11:59 PM

this show was great. especially bc I had the magic necklace that got me all bushmills I could drink all night. caribou killed it! worth the wait and hassle on this occasion.

Posted by Anonymous | July 19, 2010 12:12 AM

gangbang of 1974 were god awful whores. "Who wants a free pair of converse sneakers?" (here random fan(?) hope they fit.)

phantogram were a solid opener, perhaps with time their sets will be more dynamic.

caribou killed it as always!

ride home was a 15 minute wait tops. got taken back in a swank ride (not that dumpster barge they put us in on the way over) overall i'd say it was a great night for a free event (yes, the mental price of the hassle is the cost. deal with it.)

Posted by Anonymous | July 19, 2010 12:26 AM

Ferry issues are all timing. Come a bit late and I waited 0 minutes, arrived to hear the final notes of Gang.....which was all I needed to hear. Got in line to leave prior to Caribou's encore, was back on Manhattan 20 minutes later.

I'd also do the Phantogram chick.
Caribou dominated.

Posted by Anonymous | July 19, 2010 1:19 AM

Suffered major amounts of second hand embarrassment for the Chain Gang bros while waiting in the beer line. Phantogram and Caribou both killed it. It was a perfect night to relax with some herbal remedies and pretend the pavement was sand.

Posted by Jezebel | July 19, 2010 2:32 AM

The Phantogram girl is cute but hotter when she performs.

Posted by Anonymous | July 19, 2010 2:35 AM

Check out a bad to the bone interview with PHANTOGRAM
@
http://www.youtube.com/ROADSANDTREES

Posted by Anonymous | July 19, 2010 9:41 AM

The Chain Gang of 1974 was the absolute best band of the night.

Phantogram killed it, but Caribou was just dull

Posted by Ian | July 19, 2010 10:15 AM

Chain Gang of 1974 were okay, but at least they were energetic and dancing around the stage. They were fun to watch. Throwing the sneakers and water into the crowd was a bit much, though.

Phantogram was pretty cool. Not much to see visually though. Sounded really solid.

I found Caribou's set to be a bit dull. It was okay, I guess, but my least favorite of the night. Might have been different had they not been positioned in a tight drum circle on stage. There was just no energy, visually.

Also... when is it with bands playing in the shadows? I couldn't see their faces most of the time. Who wants to see a silhouette, live? If I wanted that, I'd see Gorillaz.

Posted by Anonymous | July 19, 2010 1:05 PM

too much effort wasted getting too and from the island. and when i was there i felt like a caged animal. stupid prices for small hamburgers. and the beer line was screwed up - took over an hour to serve the 20 people ahead of me and people's rage was about to boil over.

and the sand, good lord, the sand.

caribou sounded good though... but by then i was too cranky to enjoy it.

don't think i'll be seeing a show on governor's island again.

Posted by ehh | July 19, 2010 1:25 PM

The Chain Gang dudes sounded to me like a poor Denver version of Friendly Fires. After the 1+ hour wait to get to the island, it pissed me off a bit that they were so bad. If another opportunity arises I might sacrifice closeness to the stage with not waiting for so freaking long!

Phantogram sounded pretty good. Though they went with a lot more noisy approach that made the songs a bit less catchy and took me a couple of songs to get used to it. And Caribou sounded pretty much flawless. Danced all throughout their set.

Beautiful location but a total hassle. All shows there should be free to compensate!

Posted by Anonymous | July 19, 2010 5:54 PM

caribou set list>
?

Posted by Anonymous | July 19, 2010 7:44 PM

Phantogram Setlist:
As Far as I Can See
Let Me Go
Mouthful of Diamonds
Running From the Cops
You Are the Ocean
Make a Fist
Turn It Off
When I'm Small

Caribou Setlist:
Leave House
Kaili
Melody Day
Found Out
Bowls
Odessa
Hannibal
Jamelia
Sun
Barnowl

Posted by Anonymous | July 19, 2010 10:45 PM

The Chain Gang of 1974 was the absolute best band of the night.

Phantogram killed it, but Caribou was just dull

^^
joker

Posted by Anonymous | July 20, 2010 1:09 AM

FREE shows rule!!!!!! I had been waiting to see Caribou for quite some time and i was def not let down. They really delivered on replicating the album into a live performance and also added a bit more of an indie rock sound to it as well. The sound scapes that Naith and crew developed were stellar and kept everyone moving into the night. Phantogram was a pleasant surprise being that i had only heard a few track's but had not dived into the record as of yet. I bought it the day after the show and its a great record if you dig beat oriented tune's with shoegaze type vocals, im hooked! The only bum deal of the day was the completely whack Chain gain group. Pedal problems, looking at each other like they had no idea what was going on, the singer trying too hard for crowd response and bad chemistry onstage did nothing for the crowd. It was pretty obvious and I'm really not trying to hate. Its just that sub par act's like that should be relegated to smaller show's or maybe the new Jelly BS that is happening in Willy B. There isn't enough umf or musicality in their music to keep interest. Anyhoo, a great night of music by Caribou and Phantogram overlooking the Manhattan skyline and lets not forget people....it was FREE!!!!!

Posted by Theez | July 20, 2010 2:49 PM

Photog's a perv.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2010 7:41 PM

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