At the cool little space known as Public Assembly, Babelgum and the Ice Cream Man decided to throw a party last night (Nov. 17th). Not only was there an open bar and free ice cream to celebrate the completion of the Ice Cream Mans journey across America and the music festival scene, but musical acts Kurt Vile and Times New Viking were set to entertain the assembled mass. Not bad for a Tuesday.
The space was clamoring, the alcohol was flowing, and clusters of chatty people seemed ready for some reveling on a school night. Im thinking ice cream and liquor will be huge in 2010 — almost everyone was holding a drink and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ice cream pop. The free ice cream truck was not just a haven for bargain hunters but musicians as well. Artists like Wayne Coyne, the Dodos, the Avett Brothers, Black Lips, White Rabbits, Man Man, the Heartless Bastards and MGMT were just a few artists to drop by the truck.
This might comes as a surprise to some, but the Ice Cream Man is a living, breathing person. As he came on stage, greeted by catcalls of Ice Cream!, he discussed his wild ride in his truck and the support he had for this project. In his hand was a float of ice cream and Magic Hat, a concoction that he claimed was good but I am still not convinced. Many people were thanked and a reel of select hits was played. With many thanks and a round of applause later, things settled down and the first act, Kurt Vile, came to the stage.
Just a man with a guitar and his long hair in his face, Kurt Vile offers some amazingly crafted music that is as earnest as it timeless. The songs and his style are naturally compared to American craftsmen like Bob Dylan, with his understated delivery and clever couplets. The acoustic nature and the slowed versions of the songs added gravity to the songs and despite the quiet nature, Kurt Vile cracked some jokes that were barely audible.
Folksy songs like Dead Alive are rooted in Americana, and remain modern. Other songs played included Hunchback and Freak Train. It was an interesting set of music that was challenging in its simplicity. The room was not entirely silent for the set, but the strain to listen to each lyric made the set even better. The set was stripped down, no Violators on hand to support the music.
The set ended and there was still some time left for the open bar which made the crowded space a great social setting. There were even some people making their way from the Back Room, where a night of heavy metal music was in order, trying to get in on the open bar action.
The night was a perfect example of how music can bring about more than just a good listening experience. Its a social experience, a cultural event that transforms the music and listening experience. Sure there may have been other factors to entice people, but at the end of the day what well be talking about is music. Oh, and open bar ice cream too.