This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending the very last of the free and fabulous JellyNYC McCarren Park Pool Parties – an event that served not only as a wonderful goodbye show, but also as a fundraiser for the Obama Campaign. I’d heard and dug Titus Andronicus (not the gruesome Shakespeare play, but the band from New Jersey) when they opened up for Los Campesinos! at the Bowery Ballroom a few months ago. This only helped build my excitement for the main attraction: seeing indie big boys (and girl) Yo La Tengo playing for the first time in my life. What I will remember the most about last Sunday, however, will most likely be the dual performances I took in by buzzworthy Brits Ebony Bones. This is not to say that Yo La Tengo didn’t deliver a wondrous set; they easily justified twice over my ever lasting love for them. But I am a sucker for surprises, and Ebony Thomas (aka Bones) and her crew of costumed, head-dressed, tribal, electro-loving bandmates, delivered the goods. I watched, amazed, at masses of our passive, fellow 20-somethings, gyrating hips and throwing provided beach balls into the summer sky, before returning to form, and using the balls as pillows on which to watch the sun set over the many creeping high rises and the end of a Brooklyn summer tradition.
Though i was admitted into pool towards the end of Ebony Bones’ set, i got a more potent dosage of her magic down the street at one of my favorite hipster meat markets and former neighborhood watering holes (pun intended) – Union Pool. With a backroom that’s equal parts small town saloon cabaret and a strange out-of-time bordello, this place still a preferred venue of mine, despite a crowd that is shifting to include Jerseyites and uptowners.
Traveling with quite the whimsical menagerie – a back-up singer who stole my heart in mere moments – Thomas, who takes her band’s/stage persona’s name from the DC comics character Mr. Bones, is without a doubt the main attraction here. She twists, turns, shouts and sings like there is no tomorrow, as clever, sometimes snotty, always playful lyrics and frantic dance beats drop like pants on prom night.
Here is a clip of her performing in Paris:
As a former star of British television’s long running TV Soap “Family Affairs” ( not the mind numbingly vapid 70’s American sitcom “Family Affair“) for which she was nominated for three “British Soap Awards,” it is clear as soon as she takes to the stage that Thomas is no naive young thing. As floored as i was by her stage presence, i couldn’t shake the feeling that she could probably eat me for breakfast, and wouldn’t have minded if she had tried to. Though still seemingly unsigned and with songs that are impossible to track down in any kind of tangible format(at least, in this country) with admirers of all different breeds including Timbaland, Jarvis Cocker and soon, you, dear reader, I am sure that we will be dancing in the streets to her songs before the leaves have returned to the trees.
Ebony Bones – Don’t Fart On My Heart
Ebony Bones – I’m Your Future ex-Wife
Ebony Bones-We Know All About You
(Because I like Yo La Tengo so much and because I like you guys as well, as an added bonus, here is one of my favorite Yo La Tengo songs. Sadly, I didn’t hear this one at the pool party, but you can now hear it whenever your anxious little hearts desire.)
Yo La Tengo – Our Way To Fall
P.P.S. Did you notice that there were two places mentioned in this article with names involving the word “pool” that actually are pool-less? Isn’t Brooklyn fun?