As anticipated, the line to enter the free, all ages show at House of Vans in Greenpoint was long, as throngs of punk and indie type kids arrived over two hours early to sit it out on the sidewalks. Shortly before doors opened, a seemingly unfair downpour soaked the hundreds of kids waiting to get in to the House of Vans for its 5th free show of the summer – either for the 5 bands, the free beer, or maybe just the free Boxed Water.
The back patio of HOV feels like you’re BBQing with 500 of your closest friends – except you’re ordering french fries from the Frying Dutchman and trolling through ankle deep rain to get to the free Heineken Light beer stand. This show required maintaining a positive attitude, considering the band line up made no sense at all, leaving everyone bound to both love and hate something.
Starting the night was Team Robespierre, a synth-punk, electro pop cute boy band from Brooklyn. They were a fun segue, and audience energizing sound to Japanther, local Brooklyn punk duo. Something about drummer Ian Vanek screaming and spitting into a yellow telephone receiver mic makes me curiously want to scale abandoned buildings with him and then have a picnic; his sound and persona bordering between sexy and horrifying.
Speaking of sexy, how did New Orleans’ Big Freedia The Queen Diva get the slot following, right before Against Me!? Perhaps it just fit in right before her scheduled next performance the same night at The Morgan in Bushwick, and (as she told me backstage) an exhausting day of photo shoots and interviews. The Sissy Bounce Queen brought nothing short of high energy, ass shakin’ hits, and a whole crew of dancers, including bootie bumpin’ dancer “Frohawk” who raced out the door right after to sing onstage with Handsome Furs that same night. I overheard one guy saying,” I don’t get it. Just seems like a lot of asses all over the place.” Obviously, he is not familiar with Big Freedia’s ‘Azz Everywhere‘ hit yet.
Next up late 90’s Florida punk band Against Me! really threw the ass shakin’ good times out the door—and brought the mosh pit, angry youth punching moves out. I watched a crowd surfing guy get pummeled over into the photo pit, and land straight down on his head, his eyes lids fluttering back, but he was okay. Another guy, not so lucky, was taken out in a stretcher with head injuries. All in all, a solid punk sound, and the show Against Me! put on must surely have redeemed their reputation to more than a few fans.
Finally Tokyo Police Club, really sweet, down-to-earth cuties from Ontario, Canada closed out the show with catchy indie rock hits from their new release titled “CHAMP”. If you had started the night with a Four Loco then downed a few Heineken’s throughout the night, you were probably teetering on that fence between sugar crash and triple vision, and Tokyo Police Club provided a pleasantly poppy soundtrack for either. Or as the young kids out back on the patio were doing at this point, music to make out to under the stormy Brooklyn skies.