photos by Chris La Putt; words by Bill Pearis
While it may not have actually hit triple digits on Saturday (7/7), in the easy-bake oven of asphalt, concrete and steel that is Times Square, it felt like 110 -- especially at 1PM when I arrived there for CBGB Festival's all-day free show. The heat kept attendance on the low side (I should add there was also no line at Shake Shack either on Saturday) but everybody seemed to be having a good time, bands included, for what is the very rare occasion to see live bands in such an iconic NYC setting.
The festival had two stages set up on Saturday with one on 51st, and then one on 47th St right below the TKTS booth and bleachers -- which is where Duff McKagan's Loaded were already playing as I got out of the subway. I was never much of a Guns N' Roses fan and had never listened to Loaded band before but always thought of him as the "punk" member of GN'R. Definitely Loaded swing that way and their set was a mix of Foo Fighters-ish originals and choice covers, including The Damned's "New Rose" and The Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog," the latter of which featured special guest Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols (who played his own CBGB Fest show at the Living Room with CBGB Fest keynote speaker Krist Novoselic in attendance).They also did GN'R's debut single "It's So Easy" which got some fists pumping.
With no downtime between bands, I hightailed it up Broadway which was closed to traffic and served as a merch area and food truck court. I got there right as Superchunk launched into their first song and new single "This Summer" which continues their hit streak since relaunching the band two years ago. (Not that they ever went away, really.) It was too hot for the crowd to do much beyond nod enthusiastically and sing along to the band's favorites-packed set, but it didn't stop Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance from pogoing through most of the set, and Mac got off a couple of his signature jumps which could be seen from a block away. (Even when a failed launch had him tumble off the drum riser, Mac kept playing. That's how it's done.) As I said, Superchunk loaded their set with classics, including "Hyper Enough," "Driveway to Driveway," and "Slack Motherfucker," the latter of which was a treat to hear loud in Disneyfied Times Square.
I didn't stick around for the later bands which included The Hold Steady and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (who also played a secret show later that night at Cake Shop), nor did our photographer who headed up to Summerstage for Guided by Voices, but there are pictures of openers Upper West and Zulu Wave below along with more pictures of Superchunk (including setlist) and Duff McKagan's Loaded.
Duff McKagan's Loaded