The Highlights from 4Knots Festival 2014

Village Voice’s 4Knots Fest took over Southstreet Seaport in NYC this weekend, and if you weren’t there, well… you might want to pencil it in for next year. The festival brought perfect summer weather and wild performances to a great location, cementing itself as one of most underrated fests in NYC, nay, the Universe. We’ve shared our highlights from a great day of live music.

4Knots Festival Highlights

Dead Stars Play “Summer Bummer”

dead stars 4knots festival

Dead Stars rock out on the Front/ Row stage at 4Knots. Photo: Chuck Armstrong,

Nicolas White: The fuzzy rockers kicked-off the event with a lively set on the Front/Row stage, which was tucked away between the historic stone streets of the seaport and a bustling beer garden. Dead Stars set the tone for the picturesque summer day with a rousing rendition of the catchy “Summer Bummer.”

Radkey Lose Power, Keep Playing 

Juan Wauters

Jason Schellhardt: Hailing from Queens—by way of Uruguay—Juan Wauters brought his quirky brand of lo-fi folk to the Front/Row stage. The smaller stage provided a more intimate feel for Wauters’ early afternoon set, and his fish-out-of-water persona was on full display. Despite some recurring sound issues, Wauters delivered an oddly charming set, featuring his latest single, “Goo.”

4knots festival highlights review

Fans gather by the Front/Row stage early in the day.

Viet Cong Own The Main Stage

NW: These guys left it all out on the Pier 16 main stage. A really impressive set from the upstarts. The thundering drums and garage rock guitars cut through the saccharine haze of a summer day. While moving with the tides in the Peking Ship, everything felt right just about then.

Those Darlins Cover “Then He Kissed Me”

NW: A welcome surprise during Those Darlins rocking set, this classic track by The Crystals provided something to sway along to. We named Those Darlins a must-see band before 4Knots and it feels nice to be right sometimes.

So. Much. Free. Stuff.

JS: To any promoters reading this: Yes, I can be bought. Give me an open bar and I will write a rave review of your event. Honestly though, hanging out on a pirate ship with an open bar and a killer music lineup is hard to beat. I am usually 100-percent against VIP sections at music festivals, but the VIP section at 4Knots managed to exist without impeding anyone else’s experience. Also, I got to drink a lot of free beer.

mac demarco 4 knots

Mac DeMarco officially arrives on the 4Knots stage. Photo: Chris Kissel

Taking a Piss Next to Mac DeMarco

NW: Yes, you read that properly. No, you can’t have my autograph.

DeMarco was about to take the stage for the unforgettable performance that would make his rise official. Right before this, however, nature called. And I answered.

As I stood at the press room urinal, eyes forward, a familiar figure entered my peripheral sight—shaggy hair, bucket hat, casual demeanor. We both stood side-by-side, staring straight ahead into the depths of concrete. In that silence, though, there was a feeling of mutual respect, as in “Hey dude, you make good music and I enjoy listening to it,” and “Thanks, man, I appreciate you listening. Keep writing, brother. You’re making me proud.”

With that, we zipped-up and exited without a word.

Mac Demarco’s Set

NW: A buzz floated through the air around 5 o’clock; perhaps it was in anticipation of Mac DeMarco’s set, or perhaps people were just sufficiently drunk by that point. Regardless, the crowd went all out for this performance.

Let’s all remember, Mac DeMarco was playing hole-in-the-wall Brooklyn clubs a year ago, but now, he was crowd surfing atop a euphoric mass of people. It was clear how many showed up to see him, and he returned the love with a set full of standouts like “Let Her Go,” “Chamber of Reflection,” and “Blue Boy.” Good vibes all around.

4knots festival

J. Mascis rips through a legendary set.

Dinosaur Jr. Shred

JS: We bumped into J. Mascis briefly in the press room. The dude has a crazy aura—or something—to him, and you could tell all the younger artists in the room have some kind of reverence for the first real alternative guitar hero.

Later, Dinosaur Jr. took the stage in front of a wall of Marshall cabs and delivered a crash-course in proto-alternative rock, complete with a Cure cover. It was a perfect headlining set for a festival full of rising indie bands. By the time J. Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph took the stage, many of the younger bands on the bill had found a perch on the pirate ship to pay homage to their indie-rock forefathers.

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Article by Nicolas White & Jason Schellhardt

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