Todd P Unamplified BBQ at Fort Tilden Beach

Post Author: Nate Dorr + Joe Perez

The Todd P barbecue at Fort Tilden was an upping of the annual ante Mr. Patrick has been setting for more than a couple years now to foster a spontaneous community event out of nothing but people and unamplified instruments. (I didn’t spot anything being barbecued this time around). In his own words, there’s something political here:

It’s not amplified so it’s so quiet no-one could complain that we’re disturbing their peace. It’s out in the open air so there can be no fingerpointing about “fire safety.” We don’t charge admission & we won’t be selling anything, so there’s no commerce to regulate. It’s in a public place so we’re not trespassing. We vigorously clean up and pack out our trash afterwards, so we’re not littering.

Instead of hosting this event in the regular unvisited and uncared for corner of Roosevelt Island, the party was moved to the boonies of Brooklyn/Queens Rockaway, on a fishing beach at Fort Tilden Park. So it was only a matter of a half dozen hipsters passing through the park gates for rangers to bemusedly stroll en masse to the show themselves. While the story would’ve had a better ending if someone had tried putting a guitar in one of their hands, their presence continued throughout the day in suspended animation. With the exception of a few arbitrary open-container yoinks, the uniformed guys with floppy hats could do little more than stand on top of the dunes and yell at anyone who also stood on top of the dunes, because that was simply not allowed.

And while it was kind of impossible to hear 75% of the acts that performed, those who’d planned ahead to be loud (or naturally can belt out a tune) where met with the kind of audience mind-melding that can only come from a couple hundred people gathered on a beach that is at best a half hour drive from their house and at worst, a two hour public transit nightmare.

Big A little a and Necking offered up the perennial performance peaks, with Necking progressing their stick and cymbal-throwing game to its inevitable conclusion in the ocean, tom drums afloat and dudes soaked while fully clothed. Aa brought in old members and Julian Bennet-Homes from Fiasco, along with pre-recorded ambience blasted from boomboxes on top of a swelling coming-and-going of percussion that exploded into a few of their all time greatest bangers. (”13″ is always my favorite.)