Brooklyn’s McCarren Park Pool has been opened for rock shows for a little while now, but Sunday marked my first opportunity to see the drained pool in its new role as an indie rock venue. I went in with very low expectations, because outdoor venues usually have such shitty sound. However, I was pleasantly surprised — the sound quality is actually rather impressive. It also turned out to be a nice recreational venue — there was a dodgeball tournament going on on one end, and a slip-‘n’-slide kind of deal on the other. And beers were only $5, which is pretty sweet considering that the show was free.

Asobi Seksu: “Walking On The Moon” (download)
Unfortunately, I missed Asobi Seksu because subways out of Queens and into Brooklyn are incredibly slow. I got mixed reviews from my friends that were there to see them, and I can’t say I’ve heard a whole lot of their stuff, but I really love this song of theirs that a friend of mine put on a mix.

Irving: “She’s Not Shy” (download)
I arrived right before Irving took the stage. Lots of bloggers have been giving them positive feedback, but I can’t say I was impressed. Their live show was decent, but reminded me too much of another Interpol, the Walkmen, etc. kind of vibe. The tracks I’ve heard from their recent release, Death In The Garden, Blood On The Flowers, sound pretty generic. This song, however, shows a lot of promise.

Enon: “Carbonation” (download)
Enon were not as energetic and exciting as they were when I saw them (years ago) on the Dismemberment Plan’s farewell tour, but I blame the heat. It was pretty gross out.

Of Montreal: “Forecast Fascist Future” (download)
Before Sunday, I’d never seen Of Montreal live before, and I was really nervous about how the music would translate in the live show. 8 times out of 10, music with a lot of computerized parts and synthesizers and such is either really boring to watch or sounds really shitty during live shows. This was not the case with Of Montreal. They absolutely blew me away. Kevin Barnes is one of the most energetic, captivating front men I’ve ever seen. You just can’t take your eyes off of him. He made several outfit changes and at various points, brought flags, masks and swords out on stage. They were also all drinking champagne and/or beer, and wearing vintage ladies’ blouses. I don’t think a more perfect band for an outdoors summer show exists.

Ray Lamontagne: “Crazy (Gnarls Barkley Cover)” (download)
Before beginning their encore, Kevin Barnes said something to the degree of “every summer has its jam, and this is the jam of the summer.” Then, Of Montreal busted out into the best cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” that I’ve heard — and I’ve heard Nelly Furtado, Mates of State, and this one by Ray Lamontagne, which is the second best. If anyone stumbles across Of Montreal’s version, please, please, please send it my way!

Overall, the outing was a great success. McCarren Park Pool hosts free shows every Sunday, and the bigger acts are around $35-$50. I’d say it’s worth it, either way.