Phosphorescent and Dawes at RiverRocks Festival, 8 July 2010, NYC


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From the folks who brought you the Seaport Music Festival come Hudson’s RiverRocks Festival.  Located on the west side at Pier 54, last night’s event showcased bands with a love of soul, folk, blues, and Americana.  With views of lit up New Jersey, crowds gathered to enjoy the melodic sounds of Phosphorescent and Dawes, in spite of a bloody rampage that occurred just a few hours before right down the neighboring Meat Packing district.

West coast Dawes (818 in the house…) flew in solely for Thursday night’s performance.  Not really sure if they were 818, 323, 626, 310, 714, 213, etc, but someone in the crowd yelled 818.  Feeling a bit homesick right now!  Singer Taylor Goldsmith sang his soulful heart out with such emotion, making the best faces ever.  I only wish I had taken more headshots of him.  If I Wanted Someone starts off bluesy then crescendos with a rock on guitar solo, complete with extreme facial expressions.

Their final song for their set Peace in the Valley (818, 310, 626!), has Goldsmith pulling out the husky vocals of Springsteen.  The crowd seemed quite pleased with this band whose influences ranged from The Boss, to Creedence Clearwater, and just a little bit of Fleetwood Mac.

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Phosphorescent’s experimental work included some guitar work that I could only describe as majestic, with the intensity of Spiritualized.  Their set included a song about The Mermaid Parade, which I’ve yet to attend…one of these days!  Best shots came from keyboardist, Scott Stapleton, doing some major headbanging, which was quite paradoxical compared to their slow and hazy songs.  During Wolves, singer/guitarist Matthew Houck commented on how his guitar hated outdoor festivals.  During mid-song, Houck plopped down his uncooperative guitar and picked up the mic, pulling out the old crooner moves.  The show also included a cover of Willie Nelson’s Reasons to Quit.

The night ended on a cool and peaceful note with a nice breeze and a short walk to the train.  It’s hard to imagine a few hours before a horrific crime had just occurred blocks away.  I guess sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

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