Kurt Vile, Superchunk, Deer Tick, Waxahatchee, Parquet Courts, Sonic Youth members & more celebrated & collaborated @ Ground Control 15 (pics, video)
photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis
Parquet Courts & Lee Ranaldo / Rainer Maria & Meredith Graves / Kurt Vile & Kim Gordon / Waxahatche & Mac McCaughan / Titus' Patrick Stickles
None of the acts on any of Webster Hall's three stages last night (12/2) asked if anyone actually knows what Ground Control Touring is, but their name was on the marquee and many of them thanked them. I guess for those not in the biz it doesn't really matter when in one night you get to see Kurt Vile, Superchunk, Parquet Courts, Deer Tick, Rainer Maria, Screaming Females and more.The booking agency, who usually do their magic only behind the scenes, handles tours for many of indie rock's biggest names and was celebrating 15 years in business. The main ballroom was already packed when Hop Along kicked off the night and things stayed that way.
Very few of last night's acts played what you'd call a normal set, instead opting for fun collaborations and covers. Waxahatchee brought out Superchunk's Mac McCaughan and The Clean's Hamish Kilgour to cover The Clean's "Getting Older." Kurt Vile, with Violators guitarist Rob Laasko, played two songs before bringing out Kim Gordon, former Violater Steve Gunn (who'd just played a great solo set in the Marlin Room) and Woods' Jarvis Taveniere for a cover of Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray."
Kurt Vile would later turn up at Woods' set in the Marlin Room to cover Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." Woods also had Parquet Courts' Andrew Savage out for two Neil Young covers" "Barstool Blues" and "Powderfinger." Parquet Courts' performance in the Marlin Room, meanwhile, basically had them as Lee Ranaldo's backing band, performing Sonic Youth's "Mote" and "Eric's Trip." (For those who already thought that Parquet Courts' Austin Brown looks like Thurston Moore, this underlined it.) That was the whole set. But cool. It was that kind of night.
Elsewhere at Webster Hall: Rainer Maria had Perfect Pussy's Meredith Graves onstage for "Tinfoil" ("Rainer Maria are my favorite band", Meredith said to the crowd); Titus Andronicus' Patrick Stickles played solo to a sardine-packed Studio; and Perfect Pussy finished off the night with a typical crazed energy, and Meredith Graves writhing on the floor. They played a new song. Superchunk, meanwhile, just did what they always do: knocked out the hits with an energy most bands half their age can't muster. Tonight's sold-out Superchunk show at Baby's should be a treat.
Deer Tick can sell out Webster Hall on their own, but were added last minute to a show full of big names after it was already sold out, so that surely contributed to them closing out the main room to a less than full crowd, but it was a special treat for their fans that were there, and John McCauley and his seasoned band still gave it their all. Catch them again twice this month at Brooklyn Bowl.
As the night progressed there was overlap, and with navigating Webster Hall's stairs (fine going up, slower going down) and set times which weren't always adhered to so closely, meant missing some acts. (Sorry Porches, Frankie Cosmos, Beach Fossils, Speedy Ortiz and Felice Brothers) But it was a fun, unique night even if don't know what the hell Ground Control Touring is. More pictures from the whole night (our photographers actually did catch everyone), plus some videos of those special collaborations/covers (with more on the way), below...
Kurt Vile, Kim Gordon & Steve Gunn - "Sister Ray"
Woods with Kurt Vile - "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
The Felice Brothers
Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus
Kurt Vile with Kim Gordon and Steve Gunn
Woods with Parquet Courts' Andrew Savage
Woods with Kurt Vile
Parquet Courts with Lee Renaldo