Concert Review: Sweatstock, April 17

noagesweatstock.jpg
photo by Ian Witlen
To view a slideshow of photos from the event, click here

Sweatstock
With No Age, Otto von Schirach, Awesome New Republic, Jacuzzi Boys, and others
Sweat Records, Miami
Saturday, April 16, 2010

Better Than: Giving more of your precious dollars to the local suburban big-box store.

The Review: 

Sweatstock, the fifth anniversary block party for Sweat Records this past Saturday, was something to be proud of. A high-flash production this was not, but positivity reigned supreme here, with an ark-like grab-bag of subcultural types peacefully partying together in a Little Haiti parking lot. 

Crusties, art students, hipster dads, hip-hoppers, and underage bicycle enthusiasts all dropped their vegan burritos, held hands, and sang cumbaya under a rainbow.... Um, not really, but there were friendly vibes aplenty as people wandered in and out of the blocked-off side street, Sweat itself, and Churchill's, which was offering some awfully cheap beers in to-go cups for most of the day. 

The daytime belonged to the serious record collectors trying to snap up the limited-edition Record Store Day offerings. But the party outside really got going in the late-late afternoon, around the time the Jacuzzi Boys took the stage. The band sounded surprisingly tighter than it has in a while, a good omen for its upcoming tour. Awesome New Republic's set after that was as able as always, full of synth-y goodness, although their set dropped the intensity a bit after their predecessors onstage. 

And finally, leading up to headliners No Age, came Otto von Schirach, who had a relatively toned down presence with only a handful of extra freaks onstage. Still, sidekick Peasants With Feathers sported a new light-up wand, and filmmaker David Tamargo still menaced the crowd in a bleeding alligator mask. Oh and Otto performed all his classics, which meant hipster dads' children inappropriately dancing to songs like "Dance Like a Ho." To be fair, I guess it's hard to understand the words if you aren't expecting them.

No Age was clearly the highlight of the evening, and one of the best Record Store Day shows going, nationwide (hey, Brooklyn Vegan even said so!). It was only the band's second trip to Miami; the last was a couple Art Basels ago when they played the Ice Palace with Panda Bear. This show was better. The Ice Palace gig was a little too slick for the lo-fi duo -- after all, this is an act whose home base is an L.A. warehouse called the Smell. A glorified parking lot show seemed more their speed, and the younger kids in the crowd went apeshit from the beginning, god bless 'em. 

For just two people, No Age makes a really awesome racket thanks to some extra pedals and sequencers and a lot of brio. That the electricity kept cutting in and out hardly mattered. No Age is more about a communal feeling than finesse. It was just further proof of the show's welcoming spirit that by the end of the set, there were almost ten times as many fans as musicians onstage, including a trio of random neighborhood children, joyfully doing a little pogo as their parents clapped. 


Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: Well, if Sweat didn't exist,  we'd have a much harder time filling up this blog.

Random Detail: I may be the only person who didn't move to take a free Malfi toy, but FriendsWithYou's donation of 500 of them was one of the most generous donations of the day. 

Random Detail #2: Big ups to the dude wearing a shirt for the obscure straightedge band Project X, while smoking cigarettes and drinking a quart. 

By the Way: Besides this week's edition of Fridays at the Vagabond (featuring the Black Rabbits, from Asheville), the next big Sweat-sponsored event is the screening this Sunday at Grand Central of Animal Collective's "visual album" ODDSAC.


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