This looks pretty cool. Interviews and live footage with Jay Reatard, the Dirtbombs, Black Lips, and lots of other bands that play messy, loud rock and roll. “New Garage Explosion: In Love With These Times” was directed by Joseph Patel and Aaron Brown with producer/journalist Mike McGonigal, and you can now watch the entire 75 minute long documentary online.
Iggy Pop was fucking the camera. Lithe like a Romanian gymnast, his lifelines disappearing craggy into low rise jeans, the punk father writhed onstage like a human snake razor blade, and the camera beamed it into outer space. A veteran sex simulator and the energy source of his reconstituted Stooges, Pop’s completely unfakeable yowls, tumbles and cabinet climbs were typical of a show that delighted in refreshing the stale rock festival concept. There were a few flecks of grey in this 21st century version, and the occasional mohawk’d toddler waddled on by. It also took place in the shadows of a giant orange mocha frappucino. But with his Underground Garage Festival, Little Steven Van Zandt made his vibrant music id a touchable thing, and the jabberwocky prattlecock of today’s industry faraway for at least a day. And New York City rocked like a hurricane.
Our umbrellas were consfiscated at the gate (they could be used as weapons, I was told), but that was the only down note in the entire day and night of Little Steven’s Underground Garage Festival on Randall’s Island. My friend Kathy and I got there at 1 pm, having bagged an overly ambitious plan to be there for the beginning at 11:00 am (who can rock at 11:00? Apparently James Gandolfini, and missing him was a drag, but we caught a few other Sopranos who were hanging onstage, like Big Pussy Bompansero and Paulie Walnuts, along with some other of Little Steven’s pals like, oh, Bruce Springsteen, who sauntered on now and then to introduce a band). It was a day of dazzling but casual star power; everyone was friendly; there was a minimum of insider/outsider vibe, and the unpretentious, inclusive spirit of the show evoked legendary 60s rock events like Woodstock (the love vibe) and Altamont (the confiscated umbrellas, the revved-up aggression in the music) and made peace with that past by connecting it to the present.
John Kerry, Garage Rocker. The Electras, 1961. “It’s really primal and they have that attitude that collectors really like.”
When the Romantics’ publicist invited us to review the band’s new album by name-dropping the White Stripes, we weren’t quite as excited as, say, getting our preview copy of Elephant. So I would be lying if I didn’t admit to accepting with every intention of making at least one completely stupid pun on “What I Like About You.” This then is my apology for snickering at the Romantics’ comeback story.