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Memories and Photos from Siren 2010 by 20watts

Kamara Thomas of Earl Greyhound

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 20 Watts at SIREN 2009

To Coney Island’s ever-looming gentrification and eventual decline in cool, the Village Voice’s yearly Siren Fest is a welcome spit to the eye, and 2010 was no different. Upon arriving to the festivities a bit late and taking a gander at the stacked lineup, we decided to hit Continue reading

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Memories and Photos from Siren 2009 by Eric Vilas-Boas
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Frightened Rabbit rabble-rouses at Saturday's Siren Festival

READ: 20 Watts’ exclusive interview with Siren opener Tiny Masters of Today
VIEW: 20 Watts’ festival photo gallery, under the jump

Life doesn’t get much better than listening to free live music on a blazing hot summer’s day while chowing down on some cheap, sub-par hot dogs. To all those who don’t reside in the New York area or just couldn’t make it out to Coney Island on Saturday, let’s just say we’re very sorry you missed out.

Luckily for you, however, we’ve compiled a list of the best bands that graced the stages by the boardwalk this weekend. And when they play in your area, you better not miss them. Highlights of the day ran the gamut from fifteen-year-olds to the veteran ’90s indie-rockers that make up Built to Spill. Two types of shows permeated Siren this year: those driven by gimmicks and those driven by musicianship. The best acts melded the two strains together and struck a balance.

Tiny Masters of Today, made up of fifteen-year-old Ivan and his thirteen-year-old sister Ada (with an unnamed drummer), opened up the day for the audience at Siren.

There wasn’t much of a crowd yet when they started, but considering these kids are much younger than most readers of this blog and played at the same stage and on the same day as Built to Spill and Japandroids, they held their own remarkably well. Ada even went so far as to amicably explain that the “President” referenced in one of their songs was George W. Bush, not Barack Obama. With short song lengths and smatterings of political lyrics, it’s ironic that they played some of the purest punk rock of the day despite being born twenty years after the genre first surfaced.

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Despite the heat, Japandroids rocked out like a coked-up White Stripes

Speaking of Japandroids, if there were any band at Siren with too much pent-up energy, it would be this duo. Playing garage rock like a coked-up, bastardized version of the White Stripes, Japandroids murdered their set, pulled it from the grave, and kicked it in the face like so many of the beach balls floating around the stage and crowd. Japandroids offered a warning before starting, with guitarist Brian King commenting on how much room he had to move around on the stage and how he felt like “the f**kin’ Stones” as a result.

Japandroids played one of the most dynamic, talented sets at Siren, and indeed, seemed to love doing it. When drummer David Prowse wiped his forehead with a towel after 20 minutes of nearly nonstop frenetic drumming, King chastised him for his weakness: “The f**kin’ towel? Really?”

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20 Watts Interviews Tiny Masters of Today by 20watts
Tiny Masters of Today may be young, but that's not to say they aren't talented.

Tiny Masters of Today may be young, but that's not to say they aren't talented.

At first glance, Tiny Masters of Today sounds like a typically gimmicky band name.  Then you find out that, at 13 and 15, its two founding members are relatively pretty tiny.  And with their rambunctious, fun-loving brand of punk, they’re well on their way to being masterful, too.

20 Watts’ Jett Wells caught up with Ivan, Ada and Jackson in between sets at the Siren Music Festival in Coney Island on Saturday.  Tiny Masters were one of our most-anticipated sets — and after talking to this hilarious trio, it’s easy to see why.

20W: How long have you guys been playing?

Ivan: Me and (Ada) have been doing this for three or four years, and Jackson has been playing with us for the last two years.

20W: You guys are 13, 15 and 19 years old, respectively. How did you all get to this point?

Ivan: I picked up the guitar when I was 8 or 7 years old.

Ada: I started playing keyboard when I was 8 years old and we just started writing songs and playing music for fun.

20W: Like in your parents’ garage?

Ivan: No, the basement.

20W: At what point did you start playing live shows?

Ivan: The first show we did in 2007 was written up in Newsweek Magazine, and we got a lot of attention from that. And I don’t know. There was the buzz from MySpace too.

20W: How many bands do you know that are like you guys at this level?

Jackson: Not a lot. It’s awesome. I’ve been coming to Siren for the past five or six years. It’s awesome to play here, and especially on such a nice day like today.

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