On Sunday, Discosalt took the beeline along Flatbush Avenue to the secluded yet much hyped Fort Tilden Beach party in the Rockaway’s for Todd P’s “Unamplified Acoustic BBQ”. The Acoustic BBQ was envisioned by DIY promoter Todd P, as an artistic musical event stripped of every element that could be threatening or dangerous. Not loud enough to disturb the peace, entirely outside – so there is no safety hazard, no admission or commerce to regulate and since it’s in a public place – no trespassing. And because it’s on a beach where state law permits topless sunbathing, pass the patchouli… clothing was optional.
This laid-back peace/love/flowers/Doors movie, beach party vibe showcased an eclectic line-up of almost 50 bands. Predominantly, an onslaught of Bushwick basement bands with some big fish in the mix—Real Estate, Ponytail, Mika Miko, Knyfe Hyts, and Dinowalrus. And, sharing the sand were some debut bands like White Diamonds (featured below) whose unamplified set left mystified stares. If you can imagine what would happen if a Coney Island Mermaid parade performer shacked up with a Waterworld drifter and their spawned love-children formed a dance-punk/new rave band – then you might grasp White Diamonds. But set aside the bizarre theatrics, White Diamonds do entertain, and they are playing three shows this week to do just that, so check them out.
While the whole idea for the day was pretty ingenious, it was a considerable challenge to replicate electric music without an electrical outlet. While some bands did a better job than others, it was still a struggle to hear most sets. As the day waned, bands started to move their performance towards the crowd and the ocean, some right in the ocean…where everyone huddled around to try to figure out what the hell was happening. And, what was happening? It’s hard to say. It was difficult to know which bands were performing most times, and the stripped down songs were frequently so unidentifiable as both their original muse, and unfortunately, as songs/music in general. But in the end, it didn’t really matter. The real idealism of the day lay in the camaraderie of everyone involved, the shared blankets, comunal whizz bushes, and roving musical instruments. Everyone got some sun, an earful of overheard in New York sound bytes and some seriously aggressive submissions for “look at this fucking hipster.com”.