There's definitely something to be said about free music festivals in the middle of major metropolises. It's pretty easy to be convinced to enjoy music on the waterfront in the sun, regardless of how casual a music fan you are.
As is such, its also a great way to present up-and-coming artists to the general public. 4Knots, the annual music festival at the South Street Seaport sponsored by the Village Voice, was heavy on the punk — and the punk rockers — this past Saturday, but offered an accessible foray for New Yorkers to find out what's 'hip' these days.
The lineup, featuring lo-fi king Kurt Vile, classic rock-influenced Reigning Sound and NYC's 2013 buzz act, the 'smart' punk Parquet Courts, mirrored the guitar rock trend in clubs as of late. Rough riffs were at a premium across the board, from Canadian punk rock act White Lung's metallic cuts to NYC's The Men who play winding, psych-influenced songs.
Locally Amped last saw Parquet Courts at SXSW in March and they've since developed their live set dramatically. Undoubtably due to their fairly insistent touring of late, the punk rockers for people who aren't accustomed to punk rock are now far livelier onstage. On the other end of the spectrum, the slow developing garage punk act Reigning Sound brought out an older crowd as their soulful rock broke the generation gap.
While no Siren Festival — Village Voice's since shuttered free summer music festival on Coney Island — it reminded us of New York's always wonderful free summer show offerings. Other highlights in New York include Central Park's Summerstage series, the Celebrate Brooklyn! concert series at Prospect Park in Brooklyn and Hudson Park's RiverRocks series. Boston's offerings of free music festivals are just as jam-packed, from the always must-see Lowell Folk Festival to an unprecedented, eclectic nine-day fest called Outside the Box.