5 takeaways from 4Knots Music Festival

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by Samuel Hernandez

It was hot this summer in New York City. Even when it was raining out, driving people indoors, it was humid and sticky and hot. So 4Knots Music Festival was a chance to bask in the breeze over the water, check out a luxury yacht and get out of the sun for those with VIP passes while listening to some sludgy buzzed about bands.

Here are the three biggest takeaways still with us weeks after 4knots is over:

1. Having a Festival along the river in the middle of summer is a smart idea. 

Opening band Heaven had the crowd sweating as much for the heat as for the dancing that their soul filled psychedelic shoegaze was producing.  Low key dancing maybe, the kind where you sway and bob your head, but dancing on a hot day nonetheless. Their songs are gloomy and foreboding, big numbers that hide both the worst of the melancholy and the worst of the optimism. They’re the Smiths with a little John Hughes high school melodrama. At the hottest part of the day, Heaven played through the sweat and maybe tears.

2. You don’t always need an audience to rock out. 

It’s nice to have a musical theme. If it’s the surf rock, the psychedelic rock, the garage rock, or just the rock that’s tying together all of your openers. Openers sell seats. Except when they don’t; really does it make them any less rocking. The theme here was bands that start with the letter H. Band Heaters, brought the throbbing guitar rocking onto stage. Though their vocals sound distant, they fill the void of blues tinged rock that the White Stripes left behind, with a little bit of that NYC punk thrown in for good measure. They’re throw back, and they rock without needing an audience.

3. There was a yacht overlooking the Hudson.

Never underestimate listening to bands rock out on a pier when you’re on a boat.

4. Free stuff and vendors.

New York City doesn’t often just the street food and music festival combination. Afropunk is one of the only festivals to include that consistently. 4knots brought the goods. Special nod to Califia Farms for giving out cold brew coffee for the extra pep.

5. Revivals bring the noise. 

Super Furry Animals performed together for 4knots for the first time since 2010 in anticipation of a new album release. With the sun setting over the Hudson and New Jersey, the air finally cooled down, the band brought the packed pier to a frenzy mixing in their old standbys and their future classics.

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