Superchunk at the McCarren Pool
Blue sky, hot sun, no humidity: you couldn't ask for a better day to kick off this summer's season of free shows at Williamsburg's fabulous old McCarren Pool. Headlining today's heavily-sponsored Pool Party was somewhat of a throwback band, those early-90s, determinedly-indie rockers Superchunk, who haven't released an album since 2001 and whom I hadn't seen live for at least 14 years. But although they may not have seemed as vital as they did back when, Mac McCaughan and crew were all fit and trim, the band tight and lively, the sound crisp, the crowd eager to rock.
I'll admit I'm a little rusty on my 'Chunk—and they didn't play my two favorite tunes, Mower and From the Curve!—so I can only give you a pseudo set list, but the band's 60-minute show went like this:
• Driveway to Driveway
• a song with "cold" as a theme
• Package Thief
• something with "on time" in the lyrics
• Misfits and Mistakes (Their new single. It was OK.)
• something with "never go back again" as an ending
• the chorus was about being "passed out on the ground"
• a song from their first LP
• a song about "summertime"
• Hello Hawk
• Push Me Harder
• Slack Motherfucker
• something about "walking tall"
• Hyper Enough
• Precision Auto
So that was Superchunk, and that was good (also good was opener +/-; I was less engaged by Oakley Hall, but other people seemed to like them), but there's a lot more to these McCarren Pool Parties than the music. I arrived solo at around 3:30, a good two-and-a-half hours before Superchunk came on, and so had plenty of time to lounge in the sun, eat some food, sip some Red Bull, and watch people goof around all afternoon. Here's some pictures of the beautiful
Nearly empty upon my arrival...
The super-deluxe slip-n-slide was popular all afternoon...
...as was the hyper-competitive dodge ball "arena"...
East Village Radio spun between sets. Wait a sec... is that my man Jack B. and a groupie in there?!?
Today's snack: organic hot dog and pierogies from Sparky's; very much NOT organic mustard from French's...
Some sort of paint-the-guitar participatory thing...
The Superchunk crowd, and the glorious WPA-built bathing-house facade...
The free Pool Parties are going on through the middle of August, and will include such acts as TV on the Radio on July 29, Blonde Redhead on August 5, and Ted Leo and The Thermals on August 12. The McCarren Pool is a short walk from the Bedford stop on the L train. Grilled food, water, Red Bull and beer are on sale all day. The gates open at 2:00, and the music has to stop by 7:00. Today's show didn't come close to "selling out", but who knows what the scene will be like for some of these bigger bands.