It was a nail-biter – but after the first two acts of LIC's Live at the Gantries were rescheduled due to rain, Brooklyn/Queens borderline rockers Pass Kontrol made the third time the charm and kicked off the annual Summer music series under clear skies.
The band played upwards of ten songs in Gantry Park last Tuesday, gliding into atmospheric instrumentals or rushing into fuller, more uptempo numbers with the frenetic charge of old school, stripped-down rock and roll. Some tracks were peppered with lyrics sung in a warm and effortlessly bluesy tone, while others were completely wordless, ringing out through the Gantries and floating off into the night. Either way, the glowing undertone to their music is a certain spirit of joy, which is why Pass Kontrol were a great choice for Long Island City's most glorious venue. They were versatile and gracious, filled the huge and scenic space with their expansive sound, and seemed genuinely enthused about what attendees know to be a Gantries signature: cheeky little kids who love to dance! At one point, the band even echoed a little boy racing around in front of them and called a "time out!" on their music, grinning and pausing until they received his signal to resume.
The children were part of a Live at the Gantries crowd that was, as always, all ages and relatively diverse – comprised of friends and fans, mellow bystanders, folks sitting at tables, dog-walking couples pausing to watch, and photographers snapping away. The audience filled out even more as the band's set went on, and it's no surprise – on a gorgeous Summer evening, Gantry Park is incomparable, especially when it comes to seeing live music.
Pass Kontrol lent themselves particularly well to the setting with their mix of rollicking rock, jangling guitars, driving beats, and shimmering electronics, all with a standout, easy-to-listen-to voice that melded perfectly with their sound. Their singer/guitarist and drummer also traded places in a humorously dubbed "dirty switcheroo" for some loose, punchier songs at certain points in their set. In a serendipitous way, Pass Kontrol's sound also seemed to invoke the many phases and feelings of the Summertime – laid-back and dreamy, nostalgic and bittersweet, boisterous and free – especially when soaked up in the golden light of LIC's picturesque waterfront. By the time the sun had nearly set, it was clear that the band originally intended to be Live at the Gantries' third act had ended up as its extremely fitting opener.
Welcome to Live at the Gantries!
Audrey Dimola is a born and raised Astoria/Long Island City gal. Best known around town for her work as Managing Editor of LIC-based arts/music/culture magazine, Ins&Outs, Audrey is now Project Manager of Dom & Tom, Inc., a NYC web and mobile development studio.
All photos by Arianys Wilson, view more on Flickr.