I WAS THERE . . . The 2009 Siren Music Festival

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The Blue Van take the 2009 Siren Fest by storm

Coney Island is such an eclectic place normally, but throw in a free music festival, and all the beautiful eccentrics come out of the woodwork. From hipsters to hippies, the island hosted the most impressive collection of facial hair I’ve seen to date. The vibrant music-lovers had to volley between the two stages to try to catch everything worth seeing.

First up on the Stillwell Stage was an act that was definitely worth more than the price of admission. You would recognize their song “Silly Boy” from a recent Samsung commercial, and I have no idea why they’re not super-famous yet. The Blue Van, a Denmark band with a retro rock sound that is beyond groovy, made an appearance at the Siren Music Festival on Saturday. Their super-charged energy could have been better appreciated by a bigger crowd had they been given a headline spot instead of an opening one, but it’s great they made the trip out to Brooklyn to entertain us in the states. They appropriately ended their set with an inspiring performance of the rock-infused blues classic “Baby, Please Don’t Go.”

Micachu & The Shapes played on the main stage. I instantly hated them. Their kitschy pop flavor was a turn-off from the start, but as I listened my resentful curiosity turned into intrigue, and even, well, enjoyment. The longer I watched, the weirder they got. The United Kingdom band used bizarre percussion and childlike vocals to produce a video-game sound that is, if nothing else, interesting.

San Francisco-based band, Thee Oh Sees, with their mix of poppy-punk, almost-surf rock was also a fun act to watch. Frontman John Dwyer’s frantic guitar playing was quite mesmerizing on “Ruby Go Home” which was something like a Buddy-Hollyesque ska number.

I didn’t end up staying for any of the headliners. Admittedly I had really only come to see The Blue Van and, of course, to get a hot dog.

Amy Hamblen

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