Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Escape To New York Festival Premiers in Southampton

Opening Night Features Patti Smith – Photos and Article by Bill Kelly

Perhaps it was fitting that Escape2 NY’s first night headliner, Patti Smith, dedicated most of her set to spirits past. Located on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton NY, the concert series combined hippie festival vibe with Rave-Burning Man touchstones. Twirling dancers following music blaring toads shared the sprawling grounds with Native American clothing and food stalls.

The inaugural event featured an umbrella-roofed dance tent, computer synchronized Tibetan gongs and full service bars. Champagne, tacos and dumplings were available, along with messages, art exhibitions and a shopping bazaar. Along with Smith, the festival featured performances by Edward Sharpe, Best Coast, Mates of State, Chairlift, The Postelles, The Psychedelic Furs and many others. Behind the main stage, the woodlands area allowed concert goers to wander among Alice-In-Wonderland illuminated trails, featuring a techno-music tent and “Braindrop”, a tear shaped sculpture lit by a chandelier. Modeled on promoter Fred Fellows’ “Secret Garden” concerts in the UK, the festival announced after Sunday’s events canceled due to rain that the concerts would be returning next year.

Chairlift’s late afternoon set featured a great version of their IPod commercial famous song “Bruises”. Following act, Best Coast, brought the crowd to the stage with their power-pop layered sound which seemed to come from more than the three musicians on stage. Lead singer Bethany Costentino’s voice filled the grounds during a strong set anchored by “When I’m With You”. Constentino engaged the crowd, remarking that the audience contained “Some of the best looking people I’ve ever seen”. But the night belonged to Patti Smith, whose band features guitar stalwart Lenny Kaye. Smiling, growling and exhorting the crowd to “try new things” Smith’s set featured dedications to Jerry Garcia, Amy Winehouse and late partner Fred “Sonic” Smith. Opening with the calypso-infused “Redondo Beach” Smith’s set seemed to build in fury as the night progressed. Anchored midway by a quite cover of Neal Young’s “Helpless”, the set then ripped into high gear, culminating with a roaring “Johnny Rap Land/Gloria” finale.

click on photos to enlarge

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