It was a gray and rainy day, rather cool for this time of year, so it was hard for me to get motivated to show up early for the block party. I managed to get there in time for Tara Jane O’Neil, whose solo guitar songs sounded promising to me; I’ll have to hear more. Of the other bands today, Seam, the Black Heart Procession and Pinback were pretty good, though nothing really blew me away. Brick Layer Cake — with his stilted rhythms on guitar and largely tuneless singing — turned off some listeners, but I found it pretty funny. Not something I’m likely to listen to much, but worth seeing at least once. CocoRosie was the strangest act of the day, if not the whole festival, with harp, operatic singing and African rapping all blended together in a surreal stew. Not for all tastes, but fascinating.
I’d seen Calexico twice in the last few months, so I wasn’t all that eager to see their fest-closing set — but they reminded me again how good they are. In fact, because the sound was better, this struck me as a much-improved set from their performance at Lollapalooza. And it was a fine way to wrap up the block party.