4Knots Music Festival 2015

This year was the first time the Siren/4 Knots music festival was a paid event, as well as the first year it was on Pier 84. At $25, its a steal to see huge acts like Super Furry Animals and Stephen Malkmus in a relatively intimate venue plus getting a chance to see Screaming Females, Twin Peaks and Mikal Cronin. Early attendees got to see great rising talent like Happyness (who I was excited to see), Meatbodies, Heaters, Heaven, and Surfbort.

Unfortunately, I got there a bit late, missing most the early bands, but lucky me (bad for the bands), due to sound issues the fest started late. I was able to catch the last two songs of the haymaker set of the Meatbodies, who provided members of Surfbort multiple disguises after they were banned from re-entry after jumping off the VIP ship.

I was relieved when I found out I hadn’t missed out on seeing Happyness’s set.  Their 4Knots set kicked off their 2-month long North America tour and they impressed. Their set mostly consisted of their quieter songs from their debut LP Weird Little Birthday, but they really won over the sparse crowd with the fuzzy “A Whole New Shape.”

With their home state set as the backdrop, Screaming Females tore up Pier 84 playing mostly tracks from their latest LP, Rose Mountain. Marissa Pasternoster was in full form, giving her guitar (and mic) hell, with band mates Jarrett Dougherty and King Mike chugging along on drums and bass. Their set was cut short due to time, but definitely the loudest of the day.

Mikal Cronin has been busy this year, often on the road to support his latest record MCIII, noting in between sets that they had to rush to the airport after the set to fly to California to open for Death Cab for Cutie the next night.  Cronin’s breezy psychedelic sound was choice for the venue and weather.

Twin Peaks had a busy touring year as well, but their short set would probably a nice break for the boys. But of course its never a dull set with these guys, even if they only play a handful of songs. Right from the first song, all of the members from Twin Peaks were on the rampage, throwing a few stage shenanigans in the mix like running through the photographers’ pit.

Stephen Malkmus may never agree to another Pavement reunion anytime soon, but at least we still have The Jicks. Malkmus and the gang mostly played tracks from their recent record Wig Out at Jagbags.  The set was a mix of high energy and fun (with some songs from Real Emotional Trash), and even got a little tender when Malkmus opted for a stripped down version of “Freeze The Saints,” with keyboard solo with Mike Clark, in which Malkmus jokingly told him “stop stepping on me bro” when their fingers collided.

Their appearance at 4Knots marked their their first US show since 2009 bit unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay for Super Furry Animals set, but I’ve heard they were electric and entertaining as usual.

While 4Knots will never be a festival that people will trek across the country for, its something that local NYC music lovers should look forward to every year, with the fest’s nicely curated lineups and penchant for putting the music first above all else.