I know I haven't exactly made this into a music blog, but hey ... I've got the music in me! So a couple friends and I braved the Siren Music Festival this Saturday. I had wanted to go to Siren for the past couple years, but something always forced me out of town on the very weekend. So this time, we planned ahead. We didn't manage the whole day: MTA weekend service managed to delay me meeting my friends in Ft. Greene, but we still managed to make it to Coney Island by 2 PM.
Here's the thing: the sound. The sound was so bad. On both stages. I've been floating around the blogosphere this morning, and I know that Coolfer and Gothamist and I guess Stereogum all thought the show was pretty great, but maybe they all lucked out with much better (VIP!) proximity. For us, it was a lot of standing around catching sunstroke (at least until the wonderful cloud cover and breeze started around 5 or so), not always being able to see the stage -- even if we were not terribly far -- and listening to really crappy sound.
And by crappy, I suppose I should say bass-y. Coolfer mentions the sound being fixed during The Fiery Furnaces ... I couldn't tell. While TV on the Radio sounded slightly better (and they, along with The Constantines were probably my favorite performances), I thought the Death Cab for Cutie set was almost unlistenable, and I don't think I was alone. By that time, we were standing relatively on level with the sound board tent, and people all around me were screaming for them to turn the bass down. I can't imagine that it was actually better closer to the stage, but it did smooth out a little bit as we moved away. Unfortunately, since everything on the main stage seemed to start about 15 minutes late (and am I wrong, or was the other stage starting about 5 minutes early?), we had to leave before Death Cab was done with their set.
Throw in the fact that the day was absolutely exhausting, and because we wanted a decent spot for Death Cab, we decided to skip heading back to the other stage so we missed all of The Fever and Mission of Burma (two bands I would have liked to see). I enjoyed Blonde Redhead too (they were a little less bass-heavy than Death Cab), but I couldn't help thinking how much more I'd like to see them in a smaller, indoor venue.
So the entire Q train ride back to Ft. Greene (before having to go to a party to celebrate the new Jewishness and engagement -- at the party! -- of two friends: Mazel Tov and congrats Dan & Abby!!), the conversation centered on, Would you do this again? On the one hand, you can't complain about the price of admission. I would absolutely have no problem paying nothing to go again. And the lineup of bands every year is enticing. On the other, it was disgustingly hot, sweaty and uncomfortable -- at least for the first few hours; we were on our feet for about 6-1/2 of the 7 hours we were there; even at 5'10" (not tall, but not tiny), I often couldn't see around or over enough people to view even half of the stage; and, oh yeah ... the sound sucked.
We didn't come to any resolution, although that night, I'm sure we were both leaning away from doing it again. Of course, a year is a long time away. So we'll probably see you there next summer. Just please, Village Voice and Siren fest organizers? I know it's a free show, but get some better sound guys! Thanks.