Live photos/review: Siren Music Festival at Coney Island

Photos by Loren Wohl

Braving the heat, the masses filtered out of the Coney Island subway station and onto the sun-drenched, wood-paneled boardwalk for The Village Voice's tenth annual Siren Fest this weekend. And while fans came prepared with sunglasses, hats and backpacks, there was no fighting the sweltering heat. But hey, that's what summer music fests entail, and it didn't stop the sweaty crowd of face-painted eccentrics, barely clad guys and gals, and head-band-wearing hipsters from having a killer time. Featuring an impressive line-up of Siren newcomers and repeat acts, including a good number of female-centric bands, this year's fest was a force to be reckoned with.

One such newcomer was the melodious, beach-punky Surfer Blood, from West Palm Beach, Florida, which flawlessly re-created tunes from its acclaimed debut, Astro Coast. Youthful frontman J.P. Pitts—sporting yellow plaid—summoned an impressive vigor as the five-piece performed crowd-pleasers such as "Floating Vibes" and "Swim." Dancing through "Take It Easy" and joking that it was "freezing" out, Pitts, along with his bandmates, easily won over the Siren crowd. A few sound problems aside, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart induced plenty of dancing with their mellifluous, whimsical, pop-laced indie rock.

And while most of the other bands also got audiences revved up, Brooklyn's happy-go-lucky Matt & Kim earned the fondest welcome. The infectiously upbeat duo managed to achieve the near impossible: to cause overheated fans to forget they'd been baking all day in the sun, and to just have fun. The set was a blur of raised hands, sing-alongs and crowd-surfing—all to the tune of Matt & Kim favorites like "Daylight" and "Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare," as well as a wondrous rendition of Biz Markie's "Just a Friend." And in true fun-loving fashion, fans joined Matt & Kim at the end of their set, as they ran into the cooling waters only the beach could provide.—Nicole Rallis

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