“Hello Brooklyn. We’re Punches,” said a disconnected, mysteriously British female voice at least 20 times during the course of JellyNYC’s latest free Pool Party yesterday afternoon. The continual ID, slipped in between aggressive house beats, let the throng of people lounging opposite the Manhattan skyline know that the three-man DJ crew throwing their hands up on stage were definitely not Cut Copy. It remained unclear why two hype men—in addition to the guy behind the laptop actually selecting songs—were needed to fill the limited role of between-band changeover DJ, but those dudes were collectively called Punches. For sure.
Not that the Miami Beach mega-club vibe was totally out of place, mind you. Despite a serious breeze, this was apparently one of the prime shirtless days of 2010. Gangs of bare-chested bros, who may have texted each other ahead of time to coordinate their little stripey shorts and fleur de lis tattoos, roamed the concrete landscape, occasionally lining up to participate in the mating ritual-cum-bloodsport that is organized dodgeball. (That shit is not ironic at this point, so much as it is vicious.) In these environs, the tasteful, chilly Bjorkiness of opening band Glasser was too subtle to really register. The same could probably be said of Memory Tapes, though Dayve Hawk has come a long way in terms of stage presence since his early laptop fiddlings. He played songs from last year’s Seek Magic with a live drummer in tow and a guitar in hand. The complicated synth patterns of the record were canned, though if he could only add one extra player, drums were definitely the way to go. He sounded good, confident, not at all as hazy or nostalgic as the chillwave tag he’s often been stuck with might suggest. The still-growing crowd was appreciative during his set, but never fully in motion for anything other than a throbbing 4/4 beat. Oh, but hello Brooklyn, here’s Punches.
When Australian world-beaters Cut Copy finally took the stage, a little after 6pm, the massive waterfront space was near capacity (and would be fully closed off to new entrants before their set completed). The first two songs of the set, “Lights and Music” followed by “Far Away,” were immense, spurring giddy hopping and near-universal ass shaking. With a year or two to sink in, the band’s sophomore album In Ghost Colours, stands as a huge, populist triumph. It’s as hit-loaded as almost any record from synth-pop’s 80s heyday, just overwhelming even a certified classic like Depeche Mode’s Violator by sheer volume of memorable hooks. They’ve been internalized by tons of people, it seems, all joyously yelling “Boo Hoo! Boo Hoo!” at the top of their lungs when “Feel the Love” called for it, all reacting to “So Haunted”’s shoegazey guitar scraping as if it were just another laser-guided pop smash. While they can tour on that record perpetually, and have, the set also provided a glimpse of the next one, which seems notably less keyboard-heavy. “Where I’m Going” sounded like swaggering, riff-driven 60s garage pop, definitely a new wrinkle. “Blink and You’ll Miss the Revolution,” announced onstage by Dan Whitford as the band’s next single, reassured fans that club beats wouldn’t be abandoned entirely. The live instrumentation was crisp and exact, while Whitford’s vocals were a little thinner, but a little more human, a little less studio-glazed as well. As the masses moved enraptured below, a lone Patrick Bateman stalked his balcony from the enormous glass high-rise to the right, seemingly the building’s only inhabitant. He disappeared every so often, perhaps with nefarious intent, or perhaps just because set-closer “Out There on the Ice” is really good music to work out to. Hello Brooklyn, we’re crunches.
"Lights and Music" (show opener):
"Take It From Me" (new song):