Tag Archives: Northside Festival


Big Thief Celebrate New Album’s Release at Rough Trade NYC

June 12th, 2017

Big Thief – Rough Trade NYC – June 9, 2017

Rough Trade NYC filled up quickly on Friday night, and the expectations were high for the headliners, Big Thief, as well as the opening acts, Mega Bog and Really Big Pinecone. The latter—a trio with disarming charm—took the stage first. Their smart lyrics and self-deprecating humor were an intoxicating little combination. The band’s acclaimed sophomore album, What I Said About the Pinecone, came out last fall. Mega Bog, a jaunty rock act fronted by multi-instrumentalist Erin Birgy, followed with signature spacey sounds. Their songs sent an eerie yet cheery chill down my back, her bright voice mingling with the group’s shape-shifting psychedelic guitar riffs and kicky drums from their 2017 album, Happy Together. Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief joined them for a song mid-set to add yet another layer to the band’s freewheeling sound.

Big Thief came onstage to the tune of some particularly uproarious applause, undoubtedly because some of us had already listened to their brand-new second album, Capacity (which had come out earlier that day)—and it’s incredible. The band’s sensitive, poignant sound brings life to stories of love, death and the family history in a devastatingly real way. What’s more, singer-guitarist Lenker, guitarist Buck Meek, drummer James Krivchenia and bassist Max Oleartchik put such care and compassion into being onstage together. It’s heartening to see such a thing these days.

Big Thief played their new album almost all the way through—“Pretty Things,” “Masterpiece” and “Mythological Beauty” rang out, and Lenker paused in the middle, joking, “We’d need this time to flip the record.” Capacity’s intimacy was really magnified live. Its quiet yet ecstatic energy delivered a punch to the stomach that hurt so good. The band is just beginning a summer tour of the world, and future Big Thief concertgoers beware: You’re in for an unbelievably ride that will take you deep into the crevasses of love, pain, light and dark. —Schulyer Rooth | @SchuylerSpeak

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com


Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Big Thief on 6/9

June 6th, 2017


Big Thief’s highly anticipated second album, Capacity, comes out on Friday. And as part of this week’s Northside Festival, the Brooklyn four-piece celebrates its arrival that night at Rough Trade NYC. They’re also doing an Evening with Big Thief and Friends on Saturday at Park Church Co-op, but if you want to catch them at Friday’s sold-out show, you just might have to try to Grow a Pair of tickets from The House List. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Big Thief, 6/9) and a brief message explaining what you love so much about music festivals. Eddie Bruiser, who’s been streaming the long-player, will notify the winner by Friday afternoon. Good luck.

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Don’t Miss These Northside Festival Shows This Week in Brooklyn

June 5th, 2017

Beginning on Wednesday, the ninth annual Northside Festival will bring thousands of people to Brooklyn—specifically Williamsburg and Greenpoint—“to uncover the future of music, innovation and content.” And with music as part of the equation, you just know that The Bowery Presents is gonna be involved. Although Mary Timony playing Helium at Rough Trade NYC on Thursday and Big Thief (above, performing “Paul” for NPR Music at this year’s SXSW) at Rough Trade NYC on Friday are already sold out, fortunately some tickets still remain for these other stellar shows:

Mild High Club (with Cut Worms and Aerial East) at Music Hall of Williamsburg

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart with Beverly and Ablebody at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday

An Evening with Big Thief and Friends (Friends = Twain, Relatives and the Brother Brothers) at Park Church Co-op

Timber Timbre and Ohtis at Music Hall of Williamsburg

Lower Dens performing songs from ABBA’s Gold: Greatest Hits, Tony Molina performing songs from Dinosaur Jr.’s You’re Living All Over Me and Tredici Bacci String Quartet performing songs from Koji Kondo’s Super Mario Bros. soundtrack


Jeff the Brotherhood – Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 10, 2016

June 13th, 2016

Jeff the Brotherhood - Music Hall of Williamsburg - June 10, 2016

Photos courtesy of Pat Tabb | pattabb.com


Northside: Music Hall of Williamsburg and Rough Trade NYC Shows

June 7th, 2016

The Northside Festival—the annual eight-day showcase of music, film, food, ideas and entrepreneurship in Brooklyn—returns this week, for the eighth time. The fest began yesterday, but the music portion kicks off on Thursday and runs through Sunday. And we’ve got plenty of action all four nights that you won’t want to miss.

Music Hall of Williamsburg: Steve Gunn and the Outliners, Yonatan Gat and Cut Worms
Rough Trade NYC: the Prettiots, Chaos Chaos and Long Beard

Music Hall of Williamsburg: Jeff the Brotherhood, Flasher and Bombay
Rough Trade NYC: Dawn Richard, Kingdom and DJ Earl

Music Hall of Williamsburg: Psychic Ills, Weyes Blood and She-Devils
Rough Trade NYC: Frankie Cosmos playing songs from Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville, Ava Luna playing songs from Serge Gainsbourg’s Histoire de Melody Nelson and Deradoorian playing songs from Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality

Rough Trade NYC: Into It. Over It. and Hurry and Clique


Jacco Gardner Enchants Rough Trade NYC with a Little Magic

June 12th, 2015

Jacco Gardner – Rough Trade NYC – June 11, 2015

Wrapping up a long evening of music at the Northside Festival, Jacco Gardner felt like a conduit to another world on Thursday night. It was hot and steamy outside Rough Trade NYC, but Gardner and his excellent band were a jungle oasis evoking a unique magic and sound. For “Clear the Air,” an early set highlight, the bass bopped along like the sound of a summer rain while the keyboards twisted a time-travel groove. His sound is often described as baroque pop, which only seemed to cover half the music filling the room last night. In reality, each instrument evoked something of the past: a harpsichordlike keyboard recalled an alternate, funkier 18th century Vienna, the bass grooves would’ve been right at home in a ’70s discotheque and the reefer-drenched guitars were ’60s London.

Sometimes Gardner was almost superfluous, playing a light acoustic rhythm guitar while the lead guitarist beautifully streamed the melodies; or shaking a tambourine or maraca while his skilled drummer conjured the rhythms; or even tapping away at the synth while the keys player expertly manipulated the organ. But this was deceiving. The Netherlands native was clearly the potion master, carefully weighing and mixing each ingredient into a delicious, exotic cocktail. The set featured most of the the recently released Hypnophobia“Grey Lanes” offered a terrific prog-rock instrumental piece that gave the band room to show off their skills while “Face to Face” was a new-folk masterpiece that Gardner led to some real ecstatic moments.

A few other highlights came from 2013’s Cabinet of Curiosities, including “Chameleon” and “The Ballad of Little Jane,” which found the bassist bouncing open wormholes to both the past and future. But even despite the late hour, Gardner and Co. obliged the not-ready-to-go-yet with a best-for-last encore. Upon return, each band member took up a different spot (the drummer to the bass, etc.) while Gardner led the newly misplaced ensemble through a cover of the Skywalkers’ “How to Live Again,” which wasn’t too shabby even with the changes. After everyone got back to their normal spots, they closed with “Lullaby,” which opened in gorgeous fashion, Gardner sweetly singing, the band joining in ethereal harmony. Eventually, the melody split open and they launched into a somewhat unexpected jam that went on for several euphoric “wow!” minutes, the true potency of their enchantment kicking in—a fitting, magical end before the inevitable return to reality.
—A. Stein | @Neddyo


Dan Croll Plays Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday Night

June 13th, 2014

He may be young, but there’s no doubting 23-year-old Dan Croll’s talent. The English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist mashes together folk sensibilities, electronic beats, sweet melodies, African rhythyms and a healthy dose of guitar hooks to make his own brand of smart synth pop, featured prominently on Croll’s debut album, the vibrant Sweet Disarray (stream it below), which came out earlier this year. The LP has earned him comparisons to Paul Simon and Vampire Weekend, and AllMusic hails Croll (above, doing “From Nowhere” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!) for his songwriting chops and “forward-looking experimentalism.” See him perform live on Sunday at Music Hall of Williamsburg as part of Northside Festival. I Am Oak open the show.


Fifth Annual Northside Festival Kicks Off Tonight at Music Hall

June 13th, 2013

“Proudly powered by L Magazine,” Brooklyn’s fifth annual Northside Festival—eight
days of music, art, film and entrepreneurship in Williamsburg and Greenpoint “and some secret surprise spots too”—is back, beginning today. The festival’s music portion runs through Sunday, and Music Hall of Williamsburg hosts four great, wide-ranging shows, starting tonight with Iceage (below, performing “White Rune”) and A Place to Bury Strangers. Tomorrow it continues with Osiris Presents Kylesa, and following a sold-out show at The Bowery Ballroom on Friday night, the alt-country (although we prefer y’alternative) Son Volt play Music Hall on Saturday, before English punks Subhumans close out the festival there on Sunday night. So think global and rock out local.


Caveman/Frankie Rose – Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 15, 2012

June 18th, 2012


Photos courtesy of Diana Wong | dianawongphoto.com


GZA – Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 14, 2012

June 15th, 2012

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com


Four Nights of the Northside Festival

June 13th, 2012

Brooklyn’s Northside Festival—eight days of music, art, film and entrepreneurship in Greenpoint and Williamsburg—is back, beginning tomorrow. The festival’s music portion runs through Sunday, and Music Hall of Williamsburg hosts four great, wide-ranging shows: GZA performing his critically acclaimed second album, Liquid Swords, tomorrow, Caveman (above, playing “My Room” for The Bowery Presents Live) and local singer-songwriter Frankie Rose—a Brooklyn Vegan showcase—on Friday, the psychedelic Olivia Tremor Control on Saturday and, finally, the Bronx’s own Ultramagnetic MC’s closing out things on Sunday night. You can’t beat a local music festival.


Woodsist Records Showcase – Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 25, 2010

June 28th, 2010

There were no opening bands on Friday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, just an amazing self-contained festival on one stage. Woodsist Records packed the bill, and no one was going to miss any of these acts. The balcony tables were secured long before Moon Duo took the stage to deliver their screaming fuzz-guitar and organ jams. It was something of a milestone, bringing these acts together. From the West Coast, San Francisco-based Moon Duo, Sic Alps and the Fresh and Onlys bonded with Brooklyn’s own Woods’ and Real Estate’s sunny vibes. Hearing them all together like this, there’s no doubt they’re all rooted in those ’60s mind-altering sounds, relying heavily on effects and abstract melody.

Sic Alps, which just recently opened for Pavement and Sonic Youth, brought heavy guitar experimentation to the table, drawing out their hazy blues into laid-back explorations in scuzzy feedback. Whatever song structure they originally had was abandoned, and they repeatedly broke them down with ear-splitting volume. Up next, the Fresh and Onlys took a traditional garage-pop approach to the swirl of effects, favoring a catchy melody over an extended jam. Tim Cohen, a friendly flannel frontman, cracked jokes and led the four-piece in tracks off their self-titled release, which leans toward a dense, smooth harmony-laden good time.

Woods played with their trademark blend of high falsetto and the mysterious technical wizardry of G. Lucas Crane. They were taking obvious pleasure in teasing out the tracks into oblivion and reeling them back again long into the night. Finally, Real Estate, with themes of nostalgia for the Jersey Shore, was completely at home onstage before a packed audience. Matt Mondanile and Martin Courtney on guitar, playing off each other’s surf-inspired melodies, was the key to Real Estate’s lighthearted summer jams, with rivers and beaches making their way into the lyrics if you weren’t already staring into the sun. The band left the satisfied crowd to walk out into the humid night, with a comfortable dream-pop soundtrack for those slow 8 mm films of the boardwalk, the jerky home movies of friends running into the surf under the blinking lights of a run-down casino. —Jason Dean


Northside Festival Kicks Off at Music Hall of Williamsburg

June 25th, 2010

Thao and Mirah with the Most of All – Music Hall – June 25, 2010

(Photo: Jared Levy)

(Photo: Jared Levy)

Collaboration requires a delicate balance. In creating a unified whole, individuals must forgo the full expression of themselves. And, by doing so, the sum embodies a product that the parts are incapable of creating. This is the appeal of subjugating the personal to a group. However, the ingredients must retain their integrity. When musicians come together, it is their participation as a single entity that is judged as well as their contribution and authenticity. Take, for example, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, who created timeless music as a folk-rock supergroup. While each shined individually, the group’s identity was fortified in their cooperative performance.

In the hopes of tapping into this spirit, the talented indie songstresses Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn and Thao Nguyen have teamed up to play a number of tour dates. On Thursday night, the two, joined by a backing band as Thao and Mirah with the Most of All, played a packed set at Music Hall of Williamsburg for the opening of the Northside festival. The fortuitous meeting of Mirah and Thao began when the two played a collaborative set at the Noise Pop festival in San Francisco. Both artists show flair for charismatic folk pop, perhaps explaining why their temporary union is ballooning into a intermediate tour.

For last night’s show, both women showcased their respective talents. Thao, a perpetual ball of energy, pounded and thrashed while Mirah took a more subdued and introspective approach. They traded songs, most successfully on Thao originals like “Bag of Hammers” and “Know Better Learn Faster.” Though these numbers came late in the set, Thao’s humor and charisma kept the audience present and engrossed. Thus, whether the partnership persists beyond their slate tour dates, it was a pleasure to see two talents share both stage and song. —Jared Levy