On Saturday, the third day of Northside Festival, the situation escalated greatly. This sort of multi-venue festival can get really crazy going between venues, and this proved to be the sort of exhausting day that can really put your stamina to the test.
I started off at the living room styled venue and lounge called Muchmore’s for a chunk of the Paper Scissors Media showcase. Right out of the gate was a Philly surfy rock trio called Blushed that somehow managed to breathe life into my already deadened and zombie-like body. Frontwoman Missy Pidgeon proves to be a real fire-starter and pulls in elements of 90’s riot grrrl for hints of Veruca Salt and L7 and more recent rockers like Waxahatchee and Pins to produce an impressive female fuzz-guitar blowout. Next was another Philly outfit called Secret Nudist Friends, who was fronted by Matty Klauser, the drummer of the aforementioned band Blushed, but in this outfit he is out front as the wild man frontman and guitarist. They produce a catchy and spirited garage rock that makes you wanna bounce around like a Tigger on crack. Following them was one of the hardest working bands in Brooklyn, the blisteringly wild power trio THICK. They too mix up the riot grrrl sound, along with elements of 80’s power-pop, 60’s girl group trios, and 70’s punk blazers, and good old 90’s garage rock to produce one hell of a drag racing-styled good time.
Next, I alternated between the main Northside stage at McCarren Park and the pop-up event space called the TNT Backstory Studio only a couple blocks away. I came into in the park for Bryan James Sledge, better known as BJ The Chicago Kid, who brought on the classic Chicago soul sound with tender and touching love letters to grab hold of the heart strings. His sexy and soulful appeal brings on visions of greats like Smokey Robinson and James Brown while having plenty of modern pop/R&B polish. Next over at the TNT lounge was Computer Magic, the brainchild of frontwoman Danielle “Danz” Johnson. Along with a zesty drummer, she blended synthy keyboards and sharp vocal work to produce a lusty synthpop that goes into both retro 80’s new wave territory while also peering into unique pop sounds of the future. Then there was could be considered to be the headliner, or at least the best-selling act, of the Northside Festival, in the form of modern R&B great Miguel. He was very upfront about his appeal from the outset, even admitting a few songs in that he was here “just for the ladies,” as he proceeded to woo the sexual vibes from every woman in the audience with each carnal movement and sensual harmony.
Then, I threw another location into the mix, this location being the bowling alley backroom stage of The Gutter for the El GOODO & Reheated Spaghetti showcase. First up was the expansive lineup and party-hearty vibes of the NYC experimental pop group Toyzanne that really got things crazy right off the bat out of hell. Then came one of my favorite local groups, the power trio Del Caesar, who consistently bring on the bombastic retro-rock zeal, with flashes of classic garage rock with the sounds of greats like The Kinks, T Rex, and 13th Floor Elevators, as well as modern psych outfits like Temples, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Thee Oh Sees. Then, it was back over to the TNT pad to catch the end of the set by Controller, who brought on a kind of Fishbone rumble to a new wave funk party. Then, it was what could probably be considered my headliner for the day, the intensely innovative and darkly emotional synthpop group from Minneapolis known as Poliça. This was a rare chance to see frontwoman Channy Leaneagh up close and personal as she blew my mind with chilling vocals, artsy synths, alien rhythms, and hypnotic harmonies.
Following that mind-altering experience, it was back over to The Gutter, for a continuing party into the early dawn. Holly Overton with the Midnight People always gets the artsy juices flowing with a wide array of musical genres and tastes flowing throughout. Holly is an amazing multi-disciplinary artist, who can draw and paint like a veteran illustrator, produce amazing performance art pieces, dress and assemble like a fashion guru, and of course sing and perform the most elaborate and diverse of musical pieces; mixing a strong Blondie vibe with genres stretching from indie pop to calypso, and all sounds in-between it seems. Next, it was the party band extraordinaire No Ice up on revelry deck. This expansive band is like doing a shot off of a strippers belly and then doing all the drugs in the room, with drunken party tunes that just make you wanna get up and dance like The Ramones with a touch of bluegrass hoedown. Then, finally finishing the day in truly epic fashion, was one of my all-time Brooklyn favs Crazy Pills. This power trio that never fails to bring on the flawless rock, and their anthems bring on so many remembrances of greats like Chrissie Hyne and The Pretenders, Pat Benatar, and Berlin. Their Restless album from 2013 is still one of my absolute favorites, and the new material they’re ready to drop sounds more amazing than ever.
Article: Dean Keim