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Xiu Xiu, Deerhoof, Why?, Fang Island & Pictureplane played a Pool Party (pics from the post-World Cup part)

photos by Kyle Dean Reinford, words by Andrew Frisicano

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Xiu Xiu and Deerhoof opened the first Pool Party of 2010 with a noisy, fleshy work out of Joy Division‘s Unknown Pleasures. The six-piece group smashed through the minimal record, with brash guitars and drums, free from studio EQ and delay, that were untethered and bold. Frontman Jamie Stewart put a muscular edge on Ian Curtis’ deadpan gloom. By their headlining set, the clouds had parted and sun shined on the crowd.

Previously, it did rain a bit during Why?‘s set, which also coincided with the end of the World Cup finals. Attendance picked up as the show went on, and after the game (which disappointingly didn’t get screened at the show). Past the initial line of people at opening time around 2:30pm there was no wait to get in, and people could walk straight in, even during the headliner.

Earlier, Pictureplane gave the party a bassy, synthed out start. And Fang Island followed with a set heavy on guitars, group vox and unabashedly poppy melodicism.

“New York’s senior State Senator” Chuck Schumer was there too, to tell his bike story through a faulty mic, and to wander through the crowd.

Chuck reiterated the freeness of the shows – obviously a good thing – though there’s also an increasingly unavoidable corporate presence at the Pool Parties. Veoba logos brand much of the venue’s eyespace, and freebies from All Saints (who rented out the building behind the stage), Vans and a bevy of low-cal sports and energy drinks line the park.

Also given a boost this year are the much improved food options, with the Meat Hook, Roberta’s pizza, Mexican food and more on site.

Like the pay shows at the park (Weezer is this Friday), the stage now faces the water, leaving the Manhattan skyline to the backs of the crowd. The effect of that shift isn’t inconsiderable, giving the space a more claustrophobic feel, though the sun (when it did shine) wasn’t the problem it once was for the crowd. I’m guessing that the water-facing stage addresses some issues with sound carrying through the neighborhood. That said, the show Sunday was pleasantly loud, right through the abrasive conclusion.

Kyle was one of those who showed up after the soccer game. His pictures of the last two bands, Schumer, dodgeball, and more, below…

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