“Because it’s Northside!”
More or less, the phrase became a mantra of sorts over this past weekend, when the multi-venue Northside Festival enveloped Brooklyn for the sixth year in a row. As I, Loren, your trusty narrator, chased bands around Williamsburg, Bushwick, and everywhere in between, the sentence was repeated often. Another beer? Why not, it’s Northside! Multiple skips across the borough for must-see shows with overlapping set times? Uber, please! Out past midnight on a school night? Whatever, work can wait. One dollar mystery slush? Unfortunately, it all went down way too easy. Northside was a musical whirlwind, yes, but as per usual, a total blast; let’s recap what we saw, shall we?
My Northside adventure (which can be traced by our handy Top Shows: Northside Edition guide) began at Rough Trade on Friday Night, where Impose and Gothamist hosted an impressive trio of excellent bands: Amanda X, Tweens, and Marnie Stern. Openers Amanda X, who hail from Philly, were even tighter than usual, strumming their sweet melodies over layers of harmonic fuzz.
I soon re-located to The Silent Barn for the most legit unofficial show of the weekend: cult favorites Pile played with fellow Exploding in Sound bands Bad History Month and Porches. “Sweaty” doesn’t quite cut it in terms of describing the night’s atmosphere; regardless, a large, supportive crowd of pure Pile devotees kept things crazy the whole night through.
Finally, I made a late-night pit-stop at DIY venue (AKA somebody’s pad) Pet Rescue for the Hearts Bleed Radio Showcase. The Teen Age, My Teenage Stride, and The Planes kicked off the night, but we only managed to arrive just in time for Shark?, our Bushwick Daily favorites. Seeing the band perform in such an intimate space was a real treat; the beer-fueled set inspired much shimmying on the part of this Shark? buff.
On Saturday, McCarren Park hosted Thee Oh Sees, San Francisco’s beloved garage-psych veterans. It was a beautiful summer’s day and, despite the not-quite-optimal sound, John Dwyer and his brand new lineup totally shredded. Highlights included the groovy “Toe Cutter/Thumb Buster” as well as the afternoon audience of committed crowd-surfers.
A quick break to watch the Italy-England game (Forza!) then it was onto Sweat Fest 2014 at Bushwick space The Neverlands. The night featured sets by some of the very best that Brooklyn has to offer, including Big Ups, Flagland, Vulture Shit, Low Fat Getting High, and more pals. A near-brawl with some neighboring punks aside (true story), the wild performances got crazier as the night went on. We came. We moshed. We ate pizza and drank lots of beer. What more could you want?
Day of rest? Whatever, man. It’s Northside! On Sunday, I hit the town early and made another stop at The Silent Barn, managing to catch the ever-entertaining Bodega Bay. This local collective of weirdos– we mean that lovingly, by the way– are an appealing blend of artfully-crafted punk and thoughtful performance art. The crowd was tiny, but the band’s concept is big; be sure to catch them if you have the chance.
Later, I concluded my Northside alongside a jam-packed lineup at Baby’s All Right: Krill, Flagland, Leapling, Guerilla Toss, Ovlov, and many, many more appeared the second Exploding in Sound showcase. As day turned into night, the show became a test of endurance. For a mere dollar, the fruits of the venue’s slushy labor can be enjoyed via an enticing alcoholic concoction known as “the Pink Baby.” Monday morning wasn’t too much fun, but do we harbor regret? No way! Until Northside next year.