Caged Animals

My goal for Northside Festival was to catch many small Brooklyn-based bands with the hope of discovering some promising new ones and to get those being buzzed about some added exposure. I saw a lot of frankly terrible bands, but I saw a number of good ones as well. Here are the good ones:

BAMBARA at Music Hall of Williamsburg:  Because it was raining way too hard on Thursday to walk to Warsaw to see Swans, or to St. Vitus to see Kathleen Hanna’s unbilled new band, I took the second or third best option and went with MHoW’s BAMBARA/Bennio Qwerty/Lower/A Place to Bury Strangers/Iceage lineup. BAMBARA was the surprise of the night and also complimented A Place to Bury Strangers’ now signature noisiness quite well. I don’t know whether the best part of BAMBARA’s set was lead singer Reid Bateh getting on his knees and slamming his effects pedals after every verse in a song, or drummer Blaze Bateh resting his head on his kit during a particularly intense break, but a lot of passion was displayed throughout. Also, Bennio Qwerty were refreshingly odd and A Place to Bury Strangers destroyed a lot of things and were generally on fire. (BAMBARA on Bandcamp; Bennio Qwerty on Bandcamp)

BAMBARA live at Death By Audio (c/o Sixdust NYC Music)

Rush Midnight at Cameo Gallery:  Rush Midnight doesn’t have much material out yet, but what the band does have is a little boring on record. Fortunately, their live set Thursday night was more lively. Or it could be that Russ Manning, aka Rush Midnight, is very statuesque and looks about 19 years old in person. Although electronic-based music doesn’t always translate well in a live setting, Manning has the advantage of performing electro that is a bit more easy-listening than party-starting. This led to a mellow atmosphere of moderate grooving that helped us forget the monster downpour going on outside. (Rush Midnight Official Site)


The Gutter’s Friday lineup:  Although I missed Libel, the other bands playing that night brought the goods enough to ensure a collectively strong showing. Butchers & Bakers were heavy without being punishing; The Meaning of Life brought some decent ‘90’s alt-girl-rock vibes; Lazyeyes had boundless energy and a set list written on one of those pictures of men with cats; and Shilpa Ray was the usual picture of fierce rocker professionalism. (Lazyeyes on Bandcamp; Butchers & Bakers on Bandcamp; The Meaning of Life on Bandcamp; Libel on Bandcamp; Shilpa Ray Official Site)

Rosy Street at Pete’s Candy Store:  Before heading off to The Gutter, I saw Shilpa Ray’s pedal steel guitarist, Jon Catfish DeLorme, lend his skills to charming quartet Rosy Street. After a hectic morning day, I was relieved to take a seat in Pete’s boxcar-like back room and be soothed by leader Kyle Avallone’s delightful guitar-picking and his band’s lowkey sounds. Bonus points for mentioning Chloe Sevigny in a song without sounding cheesy. (Rosy Street on Bandcamp)

Hippy at The Gutter:  Don’t let the band name fool you:  this is more hippy shake music than flower power sounds. Awkward stage banter was compensated for by fun and clattering tunes about book clubs and the Hippy value system. Every person in The Gutter’s small back room bopped and shaked to the band’s early evening set, meaning everyone who missed Solange still had a chance to get down.  A fun, no-frills way to end the festival. (Hippy on Bandcamp)

Bonus props, established artist division: Caged Animals at the Dr. Martens Stage:  It was a sunny Saturday afternoon. The Jameson Black Barrel Lounge was close enough for me to reach for my press badge, and Williamsburg Walks was actually aiding my trek. Up and down Bedford Ave. the peppy sounds of Caged Animals’ electronic pop gems made me hold off on all other plans. A crowd of all ages gathered ‘round the outdoor stage smack in the middle of Bedford and North 3rd and smiled and bopped through the twistedly sunny set. Extra points for lead singer Vincent Cacchione’s joyful stage presence, and for saying “motherfucker” right as a small child was approaching the stage. (Caged Animals Bandcamp)

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  1. Why would you wanna create a “best” of the “new” bands. That’s some elitist bullshit. You give Brooklyn a bad name. So annoying. Now do a best of new small businesses so the other small businesses that didn’t make the list can fail. Kudos.

    1. I think you’re getting too hung up on semantics. Either that, or you’re in a band that’s not getting any press.

    2. The author was referring to the best bands she saw, what is wrong with that? This isn’t elementary school when everyone wins. Some bands are great. Some are not. It would be worse if we were specifically bashing certain bands…
      And we do BEST of lists all the time, of cafes, pizzerias, etc. Readers want to know what to seek out and what to not waste their time on.

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