Army Navy brought its good haircuts and summery jams to what was perhaps the unlikeliest of rock show venues—the Puma store at Union Square. The show came at the near end of a seven-show marathon that by all accounts should have left the band members fatigued or asleep, but they were neither and succeeded at making a shoe store feel like a rock club, albeit one with really bright lights and racks of footwear. The lofty “Ode To Janice Melt” from their recently released The Last Place album was a highlight, as was “My Thin Sides,” which came close to being a tad too whiny but redeemed itself just in time with a pinch of Strokes-iness and possibly the most jubilant drummer ever.
Gary Clark Jr. is one of the few people around who can play music like it’s the ’70s without coming off as contrived. His Friday afternoon set borrowed heavily from The Bright Lights EP, which seemed to suit the audience just fine. “Don’t Owe You A Thang” and “Bright Lights” were stormy and brooding while the deeper, bluesier “Please Come Home” would have been hypnotic if it weren’t so crazy good.
Active Child makes Sunday music for sinners. Plucking away at his harp strings, Pat Grossi’s hymnals verged on an Antony Hegarty comparison, which would have been a fine compliment for a former church choirboy. Some well-placed clap tracks and reinvigorating synths helped dispel any “they sound like this other band” anecdotes though, instead conjuring descriptors like “celestial.” And playing a harp with synths and a drum kit? Brave.