Friends and Brotherhood. A more inclusive vibe couldn’t be hinted at with names like that, and people of many creeds were welcomed into the free show/party put on by burgeoning music blog RCRD LBL. Mostly, the inclusion felt by crowd members led to an exclusion of clothing items: there was a dude in red briefs and a beanie, tons of ladies in bikinis, I with the smallest bathing suit I could find, and tons of people just having a blast going from surf to stage with little more than a jog.
Brooklyn’s “tropicool” Friends opened the festivities with funky, multi-tiered pop and female-fronted hooks that could have helped with the fish tacos. Songs were beautiful, and we were digging on bass lines crafted with apparent honesty. But at some point, I was thinking about Jimmy Buffet. See, after a couple tracks, friends (of mine) were not buying into the vibe, calling it “beauty pageant musical theater.” Each aspect of the band was appropriated just fine, but as a whole the band seemed misappropriated (the guy playing sleigh bells had a Black Flag tattoo). But hey, it was a perfect vibe to open the seaside party, as long as you didn’t think about it too hard.
Kingdom’s brand of hip-hopera R ‘n’ B came up next, doing a full compliment of heavy beats and weird samples. Guest vocalist Shyvonne – who was on Kingdom’s 2010 Fool’s Gold hit “Mind Reader” last year – joined the Brooklyn DJ, as did rapper and singer $hane. Mostly, it was a set led by the DJ, with Shyvonne playing her part as a hype-woman - but we all just wanted more of her vocals! Her voice is sky-high and sultry. $hane, for his part contributed a ton of raps and vocal lines, processing his voice for an awesome texture on top of the bounce-heavy beats. Also, he was wearing a full-body fishnet stocking. So that was good.
JEFF the Brotherhood play New York as often as [insert favorite subway musician here]. But people keep coming out to see the dudes for a reason – they shred, they are loud, they are danceable, and they are just distilled, pure, rock ‘n’ roll fun. The duo climbed on stage still soaked in seawater, shirtless, and apparently ready to roll. They blasted through a set of songs from the brother’s excellent new LP WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, and a couple oldies, extending shreds out onto the boardwalk as Jake Orrall stretched his guitar cord to the limit, walking back toward the ocean he had apparently just come from. I admittedly showed up a little late to the set, having just having been kicked out of the ocean (why?!) and still sopping as well. But it made for some purposeful head-banging – getting everyone as riled as the brother duo on stage.