‘Siren’ song

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Siren Fest — the Village’s Voice’s annual concert on the Coney Island boardwalk — will limp into its seventh year on July 21 with all the appeal of a grandparent’s funeral. This summer behemoth that once drew legions of fans to see A-list acts like Superchunk and Guided by Voices is now headlined by the reunited New York Dolls, a fogeyish nostalgia act if there ever was one. Suddenly, schlepping out to Coney Island for a long, hot day packed into a pen isn’t all that enticing, especially when the best bands on the roster play regularly at air-conditioned clubs.

That’s where Jay Diamond comes in. The 26-year-old Bushwick resident, who himself grew up near Coney Island, is launching “Diamond Days,” a festival in conjunction with Heeb magazine — the cheeky, glossy rag for the young and Jewish.

“I wanted to have a music fest in a part of Brooklyn where stuff is happening,” said Diamond. “I can’t really support going down to Siren for Coney Island’s last hurrah.”

Heeb Publisher Josh Neuman, who met Diamond behind the counter of his local coffee shop, told GO Brooklyn he was thrilled to bring a breath of fresh air to the summer festival scene. “We want to put a festival together that really embodies what Brooklyn is all about, “ he said. “Siren has become so bloated and corporate.”

“Diamond Days” is decidedly bare bones, featuring 50 bands like Brooklyn’s own TK Webb, Fresh Kills and psychedelic spaceship music makers La Otracina, over four days in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. And there are no mega-sponsors either. Neuman said that instead of bringing in Budweiser, they will feature suds from the Brooklyn Brewery. Additionally, sales of the tickets (which run $10 for a single day or $25 for the whole festival) will benefit the City Reliquary Museum in Williamsburg.

Other former Siren enthusiasts have also grown weary of the festival’s lagging appeal. “This year’s line-up is beyond miserable,” lamented James Hunt, 31, a regular who is calling it quits this year.

“Diamond Days” will run at various locations, including some Polish churches. Diamond doesn’t see any confusion in a Jewish magazine throwing rock shows in a church. “They say that if you live in Brooklyn for any length of time,“ Diamond quipped, “you can pretty much consider yourself Jewish.”

“Diamond Days” will run through July 22 at various locations. Tickets are available at Sound Fix (110 Bedford Ave., at North 11th Street in Williamsburg) and are $10 for one day or $25 for the entire festival. For information, visit

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

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March 28, 2009, 6:32 pm

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