The day before the borough of Brooklyn was to be beset by one of the most epic multi-venue music festivals in the US today, I rocked out at the Unofficial Northside Festival 2016 Kickoff Bash. It was thrown at one of Bushwick’s most exciting and impressive new venue/bars by the name of Sunnyvale BK that features an impressively spacious high-capacity room and chill space, quality sound, and a lengthy well-stocked bar.
The week of insanity to come kicked off with the half-boy, half-girl foursome Yucky Duster, who bring on the fun party vibes whether they’re singing about the complications of playing drums with “boobies,” avoiding annoying catcalls at construction sites, or just trying to play while your baked. These members of other local bands including Bluffing, the Gradients, and Slonk Donkerson just dropped their impressive debut self-titled LP that is drenched in wild and weird garage pop. The LA trio Pink Mexico brought on a much more hard rock edge to the proceedings with just the right amount of fuzz-doused pop to make the head banging less exhausting. They also have a new album coming up at the end of this month called Forgetting Everything, so get ready to throw out your neck now. The Brooklyn power trio Monograms brought out a bit more of a jam-heavy gazey psych to the affair and recently released their Downer EP that we reviewed back in February. Then there was a sharp serve from the grunge of the 90’s straight into the new wave of the 80’s with SLONK DONKERSON, who sound like a rather organic mix of The Outfield, Mr. Mister, The Replacements, Weezer, The Rentals, and plenty more that apply to the uber-catchy guitar-riffing college rock of the late 80’s and early 90’s.
Headlining the night was Total Slacker, a Brooklyn band that seemed like they were the biggest thing since sliced bread in the NYC music scene several years back, known for an outlandishly wacky psychedelic sound and extremely spirited performances headed up by singer and guitarist Tucker Rountree. Then there was the tragedy of drummer Terence Connor dying in a hit-and-run incident, but Tucker did make an impressive comeback with another lineup in 2014. Now, it’s a couple years later, and it appears that Tucker has once again changed up the band’s lineup once again with a more maturely straightforward experimental sound and appeal. Now as a trio, Tucker is joined by bassist Lydia Gammill and drummer Mattie Siegal, and the overall result still reminds me a bit of Sonic Youth of their earlier louder days, but now has a weight of a more Jesus and Mary Chain vehemence. We can expect their third LP sometime in August and the new songs sound quite expansive.
Article: Dean Keim