Una Odisea Llamada APW

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For a novice festival in which many things haven’t been stellar (confusing name, cancellation of acts such as Robyn and Juana Molina , steep prices) it was no surprise that things wouldn’t go so smooth for us either. It was Friday, and my friend Eddie and I were on our way to the first day of All Points West Music and Arts Festival (aka Coachella East, since it was produced by the same dudes who put on the famous California festival). As typical New Yorkers, we got lost in what I personally consider the “crazy train” (the PATH train.) Of course, this could’ve been avoided if we had taken the special ferry offered by the festival, only 15 minutes from Lower Manhattan to Liberty State Park, the site of the show. Only problem: each way it cost $20 each way in advance through Ticketmaster, $25 the week of the show, and $30 if purchased at the ferry box office on the day of the show. Yea, um “Gracias pero no gracias.”

So off we went to New Jersey via the PATH ($1.75) and the Light Rail ($3.80) and with our lack of direction and well-intentioned yet wrong directions by the locals, we got to APW too late to see the first few acts, like the fabulous six piece group from England The Go! Team and one of Remezcla’s favorites, our homies from Forro in the Dark. Finally, we made it and our first impression was that for the most part it looked small and a little bit disorganized (parecía mas una fiestas de patrón santo than anything else), but who are we to criticize right? To be fair, most of the music was great, Liberty State Park had an amazing view of the Manhattan skyline on that gorgeous day and we danced, partied, and rocked-out.

One of our favorite acts there were Brazilian electro-rockers, Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS), where toda la Latinada was concentrated. Coming out on stage to the sounds of some very naco forms of techno, they looked like the embodied the nu-rave style to perfection: all neon and no jokes (seems like lead singer Lovefoxxx’s fiancé’s, Klaxons’ guitarist Simon Taylor-Davis, influence does not go unnoticed). Starting out with “Jager Yoga” and other songs from their just released second album, Donkey, las garotas y el menino delivered a show that was full of energy and fun. They had two dancers in spandex and Lovefoxxx was dressed in a one piece multicolored body suit, part Bjork, part circus clown. Even though Donkey is more polished and reserved than their self-titled debut, en vivo they kept it raunchy (although no stripping like in the past), with Lovefoxxx saying things such as ““I’m going to sing you a love song” before belting out their sweetly-titled song “Alcohol.” Some of the highlights were songs like “Art Bitch”, “Off the Hook”, “Alala” and, of course, una de mis favoritas: “Lets Make Love (and Listen to Death From Above)”.

After the crazy Brazilians, we walked over to the main stage to see electronica British band Underworld, better known for being part of the Trainspotting soundtrack. There we were reminiscing about the mid 90’s when we noticed behind us two very beautiful  girls shouting “Dominicanaaaaaa!!!” and having the time of their life. Guess they were celebrating the Dominican Day Parade a few days early. With more energy than toda la gringada there present, they were living it up like no other. So, ladies (Jenny and Francheska), you can contact me anytime.  😉 By that point, we were starving, and even though we were surprised they had burritos and arepas available on the grounds, at $8 and $6 respectively, these were over our budget, so Eddie and I decided to split a basket of greasy chicken fingers. Amongst the other bands we saw were indie-pop acts like Mates of State and New Pornographers, critically acclaimed (and don’t know why) Duffy, who owes her 15 minutes of fame career to Amy Winehouse, and my personal man-crushes, the über-amazing musicians from Radiohead. After that incredible finale, we were ready to get lost again in the New Jersey train system, hungry and tired, but triumphant.

Photos and additional reporting by Eddie Costas.