Try to take in too much at the Northside Festival and you’ll lose your mind; just putting together this guide was a harrowing experience! However, if you wander out into the wilds of the Brooklyn music circuit with no itinerary, you’ll find yourself in just as much of a state.
In addition to four days of music and five days of film, this year’s festival includes a tech conference called NExT (Northside Entrepreneurship + Technology). Although it’s nice to see that Northside–now in its fourth year–is expanding and going strong, this guide will focus on the music side of things.
Swans, Chelsea Wolfe at Warsaw, 7pm ($32): If Iceage and A Place to Bury Strangers aren’t going to be loud enough for you, go to this. Come early for Chelsea Wolfe’s spooky folk.
Kisses, Selebrities, Rush Midnight, Chad Valley, The Ice Choir at Cameo Gallery, 7:30pm ($15): If you like your “Ice” bands a little dreamier, then this is the show for you. The hotly-tipped ‘80’s throwbackers Selebrities and the pleasing electro vibe of Chad Valley should steer the night away from being too overly-twee.
Iceage, A Place to Bury Strangers, Lower, Bennio Qwerty, Bambara at Music Hall of Williamsburg, 8pm ($15): A Place to Bury Strangers are probably better to see at Death by Audio–which lead singer/guitarist Oliver Ackermann founded–but getting into their occasional shows there can be a tight squeeze. The inclusion of the hyped (for good reason) and heavy Iceage and their fellow Danes Lower is the real draw here.
Twin Sister, Ava Luna, The Luyas, Lushlife, Julian Lynch at 285 Kent, 8pm ($10): Ava Luna played last year’s Crossing Brooklyn Ferry festival early on a Friday evening and turned out to be one of the highlights of the night. 285 Kent gets crowded and sweaty, so get there early for South Philly’s New York Times-approved Lushlife.
DJ ?uestlove Presents: Bowl Train at Brooklyn Bowl, 11pm ($5 advance; $8 day of): It’s ?uestlove, he’s DJing at Brooklyn Bowl, and it’s $5. Enough said. Should it be too crowded and you’re saving your dollars for other Northside events, there is always the FREE JD Samson PAT Party at Union Pool at 9pm. Samson, formerly of Le Tigre, is capable of throwing a mad enough party in her own right, but for good measure she’s bringing along Amber Valentine, Will Automatic, and Sveta.
Har Mar Superstar, The Boxing Lesson, Purple, Spires, Supercute!, NVUS at Grand Victory, 6pm ($12): Har Mar can get pretty sleazy live, but his new album, Bye Bye 17, is a suprisingly mature soul affair. The pleasing psych-pop of Spires is an even bigger treat.
Sinkane and Xenia Rubinos at Brooklyn Bowl, 6pm ($20): Formerly of Yeasayer, Sinkane’s hypnotic, afrobeat-inflected “fake jazz” should provide a good, relaxing start to the weekend. Xenia Rubinos’ RnB by way of St. Vincent should keep the mellow vibes flowing.
The Great American Canyon Band, Jus Post Bellum, Noro, and Rosy Street at Pete’s Candy Store, 7:30 pm (FREE): Greatly indebted to Leonard Cohen, Rosy Street are the top draw for someone looking for the mellow and the melancholy on Friday. For those looking for a history lesson, Jus Post Bellum’s Civil War-inspired songs are just the ticket.
Lazyeyes, Shilpa Ray, Butchers and Bakers, Meaning of Life, Libel at The Gutter, 8pm ($5): Lazyeyes are beginning to blow up, and for good reason: in just a few months, they’ve been showing more assuredness at playing out than local bands who have been going at it for years. But the real draw of the night is Shilpa Ray. Always a riveting act, she’s finally found a backing band who suits her power.
Rhys Chatham & Oneida, Dan Friel at Europa at 8pm ($20): Europa isn’t the best venue in the tri-neighborhood area, but this show could be a real treat. Chatham is one of the best regarded avant-garde musicians so a collaboration with noise outfit Oneida should be an enlightening aural experience.
Chrome Canyon, Computer Magic, Avan Lava (DJ set) at Brooklyn Bowl, 11:30pm ($10): Self-described as “a sexy band from NYC,” an Avan Lava DJ set should prove just as alluring. While not as hot and spicy, Chrome Canyon’s synth epics should be the perfect soundtrack to a potential all-night escapade.
The Veda Rays, Happy Lives, The End Men, Life Sized Maps, School ov Thought, Tough Luck, the Harmonica Lewinskies Radical 2, Jerry Paper and Jack Falby at Muchmores, 12pm ($7): Muchmore’s is one of the best DIY spots in Brooklyn due to its homey feel and very cheap drinks, so an all-day house party–regardless of the bands–sounds quite inviting. The Veda Rays are doing double-duty Saturday, so if you miss their highly-textured rock earlier in the evening, basking in their beauty at Muchmore’s is clearly the way to go.
Caged Animals, Coast Gaard, The Denzels and Juniper Rising at the Dr. Martens Stage at Bedford and N. 3rd, 2pm (FREE): If you can’t get into the free Walkmen show, this is a great alternative. The Denzels will spread nice, jangly vibes up and down the avenue, while Caged Animals will take back the borough’s weirdness.
The Gories, Daddy Longlegs at Brooklyn Bowl, 6pm ($12): Regardless of whether you like your garage rock straight up or bluesy, this is the show for you. Mike Collins of The Gories has a DJ set at Brooklyn Bowl, so if you dig this be sure to check that out, too.
The Jazz Butcher, Texas Bob Juarez & Mike Stone, Gold-Bears, Small Reactions at Spike Hill at 7:30pm ($10): The Jazz Butcher are indie-pop legends, and your only chance to see an act from the Creation Records stable at Northside. Texas Bob Juarez and Mike Stone are from the hugely influential Television Personalities (MGMT wrote “Song For Dan Treacy” about the band’s founder) and Gold-Bears delight with their driving, Wedding Present-esque pop.
Clouder, Dead Stars, American Darlings, Low Fat Getting High, The Veda Rays at Legion, 7:30pm ($5): With three great live bands–Dead Stars, The Veda Rays, and polished indie-psych quintet Clouder–on the bill, this show is the real deal. Legion is a tiny space, so prepare to sweat and groove to some bands who you’ll be seeing at much larger venues in the very near future.
Son Volt, Colonel Ford (members of Son Volt), and more at Music Hall of Williamsburg, 8pm ($20): After 18 years in service, Son Volt are back with a national tour and new album, inspired by the honky-tonk genre. A good show if you partied hard on Thursday and Friday and are in the mood for something mellow come Saturday night.
Ladyhawke, Flying Horse, and French Horn Rebellion (DJ sets) at Glasslands, 11:30pm ($12 advance; $15 day of): Pairing a New Zealand songbird with a guy in a giant horse mask should make for an interesting couple of DJ sets.
All-day House Party featuring The Brooklyn What, Gunfight!, Backwords, Honduras, Bugs in the Dark, Sun People, Graffiti Sunshine and more at Muchmores, 1pm ($7): Another day, another Muchmore’s house party. Although not as strong of a line-up as Saturday’s, this is still a good opportunity to swing by and say hello to friends-of-Greenpointers Backwords. If you’re looking to get down and dirty, the slightly menacing garage pop of Honduras should suit you well.
Solange, Petite Noir, Cable, My Midnight Heart at McCarren Park at 3pm (FREE, RSVP required; Northside Festival music or premium badge-holders guaranteed entry): Solange is the diva of the moment, so if its a sunny day her spunky and new wavey tunes should be the perfect accompaniment. My Midnight Heart should start the afternoon off on a lush and synthy foot.
Born Ruffians, The Spinto Band, Turf War at Brooklyn Bowl, 6pm ($12 advance; $15 day of): The Spinto Band has been delivering decent indie pop for 15 years now; they and Canadian indie-rockers Born Ruffians should close out the festival on an easy-going note, with Turf War providing a gritty Replacements-tinged counterbalance.
Modern Rivals, The Living Kills, PEP, Hippy at The Gutter Spare Room, 7pm ($5): Modern Rivals is a Deli-approved collective featuring beachy and sunny arrangements. If that’s not your thing or if you’re an early riser, at least pop in early for the garagy and carefree Hippy.
Ratking, Hot Sugar, Normally Important at Knitting Factory, 8pm ($10): Ratking is being referred to as the next Odd Future, but with less punk hijinks and more experimental vibes. Normally Important should bring a bit more recklessness to the proceedings, at least musically.
Added Bonus: Greenpointers is bringing an unofficial Northside showcase to Coco 66 on Saturday, June 15! A Bunch of Dead People / Butter the Children / Dead Monk / I’m Turning Into and all your Greenpointers friends for the low, low price of $5! RSVP