As a follow up to our Northside Festival preview, here is a recap of some of the shows we got to catch during the past weekend long festival.
This is why I love live music : it brings new life to bands and songs that you thought you knew. I have always generally enjoyed the music of Beach Fossils, but enjoyed it in a passive way. In the way that it’s the type of music that I put on in the background while I half-heartedly clean my room or everyone is falling asleep in my car on a road trip: I’m not going to stop in my tracks to observe a moment in a song and no one is going to try to stay awake to hear the album.
But their Northside show- a headlining set for the Captured Tracks showcase at the Warsaw on Friday- was full of energy, light-hearted goofiness and friendship, an especially large amount of crowd surfing and some very benevolent moshing. I loved it. The boys of the band actually live in Greenpoint themselves- they quipped about walking up Manhattan Ave and getting called “faggots” by a crazy man they pass on a daily basis.
Woods is exactly the type of band you would want to see at an early-summer outdoor festival. Their summery indie rock is elevated in a live setting because they love to jam, and although many people would feel cynical about going to see a jam band in Brooklyn, Woods pulled it off very well. The weather did not permit them to play on Friday, but it was better that they played during a beautiful sunset on Sunday at 50 Kent- the chill setting matched the mood much better.
I’m a pretty big fan of Chvrches’ music, but having seen them before, I knew that their live show wouldn’t be one to write home about. Don’t get me wrong- I think Lauren Mayberry is endearing and just charming enough that no one can fault her, and they sounded just fine, but they simply lack stage presence. There isn’t much for the audience to observe on stage (I think their triangle light display would be cool- perhaps in a small, dark club- a place in which none of us will probably ever get to see them, given their popularity), and not too much to hear besides a basic, but tight, performance of their album. It is, however, always worth seeing Chvrches live show to see the song that Iain Cook sings, “Under the Tide.” This guy is bringing the stage presence that I said they generally lack, almost as if he is trying out to be the next lead singer of Chvrches…
As a testament to the variety of music Northside had to offer, Canadian industrial rockers Odonis Odonis played on Sunday at Warsaw, opening for F**k Buttons. I loathe F**k Buttons, but I love Odonis Odonis, and their set was fantastic. They truly create the most beautiful blend of industrial, shoegaze, vocal melodies, punk and noise- it’s just dark enough to push me (an ardent lover of pop music) out of my comfort zone, but not so dark that it scares me away. They had the best lights and projections I had seen in awhile- it wasn’t just a band playing music, it was a show, a full on experience.
HARVEY SID FISHER
This was perhaps one of the most interesting shows I have ever attended in my life, and definitely of Northside. You probably haven’t heard of Harvey Sid Fisher, and if you have, you were probably there with me. He was performing songs from his only actual album, 1989’s Astrology Songs, which is an album that consists of songs about each astrological sign- and not in any sort of metaphorical way. Each song is basically a lengthy description of characteristics each sign has. His backing band consisted of local musicians, who probably helped get people in the door, but the crowd was singing along very whole-heartedly. Harvey is 73 years old, and a Sagittarius in case you were wondering, so his stage banter and stories tended to drag on to the point that he had to cut his set early. It was such a small show though, that we all got to tell him how much we enjoyed the show and shake his hand and get a t-shirt order form afterwards. This show was definitely the most appropriate show to see on a full-moon Friday the 13th.