Some random thoughts about the Siren Festival (btw, BIGTIME ETERNAL GRATITUDE to Geeta for getting me into the press area. You really should be reading her blog if you don't already. You'll learn something!)
1) Symbolic of NYC in general, the press and those who bothered to show up early got a nice earful, while the average festival patron was dealing with a sound system quieter than your stereo.
2) My favorite bands were the ones who did frenetic, angry pop-rawk with keyboards. The Fever, Your Enemies Friends and Electric Six. This genre needs a good label and I vote for the term NU-WAVE. They're already using it in England for some techno absurdities, but I think these fuller, more metal-sounding bands deserve the name even more. Don't be thin and reedy, earn that nu, RAWK THAT SHIT IN YOUR SKINNY TIE! Interpol (who weren't there) count despite the lack of keyboard because they're like an angry Duran Duran. I think the Killers count too. Franz Ferdinand might as well. The trick is that its new wave with a better comprehension of aggro.
3) For some reason Mission Of Burma does a great job of getting me to dance by the end of their sets. Maybe it's because they're so gawky and shamelessly exuberant themselves.
4) While I appreciate And You Know Us By The Trail Of Dead's determination to win by crook if not hook (they might have sounded better if I had stayed in the press area but even then I would have noticed how out of tune the singer was), throwing a case of beer into the press pit was a bit much. Especially when I catch your bassist switching gear before hurling it into drum kit. Stunt bass? What are you, Kiss? The second drummer's chimes were cute. They implied grandeur while being inherently inaudible. Somebody buy these guys a gong.
5) If I ever get to sing lead in a band, I apologize in advance for stealing Dick Valentine of the E6's one-dance-move-per-song shtick. Hearing "Synthesizer," my favorite song of 2003, followed by "Electric Demons In Love," my favorite love song of 2003 in a row almost made me cry.
6) I totally missed Har Mar, Death Cab For Cutie and the Constantines. Only caught the end of Vue, TV On The Radio & The Fever (REALLY wish I'd caught more Fever). Fiery Furnaces, Ponys and Blonde Readhead were the groups I left cuz I had better shit to wait for or see. I kind of wish I could relive the festival again Groundhog Day-style and see what I missed
7) The Thermals need a keyboard bad so they can hop on the nu-wave bandwagon.
8) Reaffirming my rock crit nerd status, Michael Azerrad, Caryn Ganz and what may well have been Chuck Klosterman with new glasses were just as exciting to spot as Nick Zimmer and David Cross. Though Azerrad was watching MoB and wearing a Sonic Youth hat. If his t-shirt also had the name of someone from Our Band Could Be Your Life than that guy needs to cut it out.
9) WEAR SUNSCREEN. I look like a hot dog.