Pretty much my entire adult life, I’ve been out all day seeing a flurry of sets at a music festival in the second week of June. After 8 consecutive Bonnaroos, I decided to trade the Tennessee fields for Brooklyn streets for my first go at the annual Northside Festival. I still ended up with the same amount of memories and body hurt.
As is the joy of any such festival, I made it a point to set myself up to be able to bounce around from showcase to showcase, and was, for the most part, fortunate enough to be joined by intrepid photographer Kevin Hoopes.
The whole multi-day she-bang kicked off last Thursday as Kevin and I did our best to split time between Gold Sounds and Alphaville for Cigar City Management’s Nochebuena showcase and a sold-out gig headlined by SIMGE favs Meatbodies, respectively.
One of the finer indie management/booking companies out there, the breadth of Cigar City’s considerable talent on roster was on full display at Gold Sounds as Parrot Dream, Yucky Duster, Fruit & Flowers and Dirty Dishes all delivered with their own styles of rock. Definitely keep it locked here to keep with more.
Oh! Also great to see that Fruit & Flowers are still playing and tooling with their 24 Hour Songwriting Challenge submission, “Way Out.” Something tells me you might be seeing a proper studio version soon.
Over at Alphaville, openers Stuyeyed and Surfbort, who appear regularly in the area but have somehow escaped me up until that point, really blew me away as the former brought some deliciously heavy pyscho-billy on steroids and the latter undeniable fits and bursts of unhinged punk. Meatbodies closed down the night with a blend of slick psych and mosh inducing waves of sound that left everyone in the crowd nice and sweaty and my Vans thoroughly caked in dirt!
Getting out of bed, slowly, on Friday, I was pretty dead set at posting up in one spot and taking ‘er easy. By mid-day, I was already plotting how to soak up as many sets as I could while furiously sipping a dangerous amount of iced coffee.
The move was to switch between Bushwick haunts Cape House and Terra Firma for the Reheated Spagetti and Impose x Ears to Feed showcases, respectively. It was a dizzying array of glorious fuzz from some of the best local bands the city has to offer in Russian Baths, Grim Streaker, Monograms, Dead Stars and Big Bliss.
If I had been missing that warm, outdoor festival vibe that something like a Bonnaroo engenders, The Wild Honey Pie‘s Beehive showcase at The Well certainly filled that niche with a perfectly curated night as I caught sets from The Dig and Frances Cone. As a frequenter of The Well, it was truly refreshing and inspiring to see the backyard space utilized so effectively in a way I’d love to see replicated regularly. Lots of smiles all around.
Waking up Saturday morning was yet another struggle (getting too old for this shit!), but I rallied to make it over to Sunnyvale for a bit of Exploding in Sound’s all day showcase. Sets from Kal Marks, Gobbin Jr and Baked made for an excellent, reinvigorating trifecta and set me forth towards Rough Trade. It was a packed house for Lower Dens’ unique performance of ABBA classics which had its kinks as singer Jana Hunter was tripped up by a mis-timed karaoke backrop, but perservered as you’ll see below.
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I didn’t make it out Sunday, but Mr. Hoopes sure did. You’ll find his shots of the big show headlined by Thursday (in the blistering heat) along with his choice selections from Northside Festival 2017 below.