Four days. 50 venues. 350 bands. It’s Northside Festival again, or, as we call it, the most wonderful time of the year, and if you weren’t paying close attention to the local blogwaves, then you might not have even realized it was happening on your doorstep. Unlike spectacle-heavy music fests like Governors Ball and Electric Zoo, Northside, now the borough’s biggest music festival, has remained organic, exploding within Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick’s best (and gloriously air conditioned) venues—as well its selection of epic outdoor options—as if it were just another summer weekend in Brooklyn. Of course, as any Northside Music Festival vet can tell you, the brain-boiling array of talent makes this one anything but average, with the likes of Titus Andronicus, The War on Drugs, Ratking, Fuck Buttons, Perfect Pussy, Marissa Nadler, Watain, and more set to take our beloved stages come Thursday. So grab your badges and gather round as we rundown our favorite shows of the weekend ahead.
Night one kicks off like a concussion grenade some serious amplified madness in Greenpoint. Over at The Warsaw, local anti-heroes Titus Andronicus will be tearing the roof off with the best new post-punk band in a year teeming with new post-punk bands, Eagulls, as well as D’NT and Low Fat Getting High, while, just up Manhattan Ave, Pallbearer, Hull, and Planning For Burial will be leveling Europa in kind with a little help from their black metal friends in Yellow Eyes and Vilkacis. If you want to come hang out with us, will be out in force for Titus (though my heart, admittedly, belongs to Europa’s dark side), but if you’re just looking to chill out (work sucks, I know), then Cameo Gallery’s TEEN/Saint Pepsi-headlined indie spectacular is the place to be.
Where To Pregame: If you’re heading to Greenpoint like we suggest, then check out Keg & Lantern or Torst—perfect for all the beer nerds out there—or No Name Bar, where authentic Korean bites and a stellar backyard are sure have you in full summer-o-phile mode by the time the openers go on.
At 7pm, Americana ex-pats The War on Drugs kick off Northside’s duo of outdoor marquees at the brand new, 6,000 capacity 50 Kent space. If you missed the Philly phellas’ three-night NYC stand back in March, now’s your chance to make amends, but if you’re just looking to brood about how far your guitar chops have slipped since you began working full time, Marnie Stern’s intimate Rough Trade show is the place to be. Greenpoint options abound once again, with Captured Tracks taking over The Warsaw with Beach Fossils and Craft Spells and Pitchfork posting up at Saint Vitus with Perfect Pussy, Hop Alongs, and a couple more Femme-fronted punk projects.
Where To Pregame: In addition to Northside Festival, the World Cup also kicks off in full on Friday, so hit up Kent Ale House, where killer drafts, a relatively bro-free sports environ, and close proximity to 50 Kent provide the perfect pre-show pit stop.
The shred starts early on Saturday, with Bay Area garage kings Thee Oh Sees hitting McCarren Park for a free mid-afternoon face-melter. Afterward, check out FREEwilliamsburg’s very own Javelin-headlined Cameo Gallery showcase or shoot over to 50 Kent for Northside’s second highlight marquee, featuring French horn evangelists Beirut and Brooklyn art-rap upstarts Ratking. If that one isn’t weird enough for you, Pitchfork’s second Vitus lineup definitely will be, lining up tech death metal (Pyrrhon), noise (Pharmakon), avant-folk (Marissa Nadler), and more for one hell of a synaptic searing Saturday night.
Where To Pregame: Day shows at McCarren Park can only mean one thing: Turkey’s Nest Tavern, where the brews (and boozy slushies) are of the giant styrofoam cup variety and the atmosphere is somehow–across the street from multi-million dollar condos and around the corner from a Michelin star restaurant–still townie.
Put a sweat and beer stained bow on the whole Northside shit-show with Exploding In Sound’s all-afternoon rager at Baby’s All Right featuring Shea Stadium vets like Guerilla Toss, Ovlov, Krill, Flagland, Celestial Shore and more. If you’ve still got eardrums and/or drinking legs left after that one, Brooklyn Night Bazaar has curated a pair of killer—and contrasting—send offs headlined by Watain (in the warehouse) and Fuck Buttons (at The Warsaw), respectively. Watain’s notorious live show should help to replicate the Game of Thrones finale you’re missing, offering more than enough blood, guts, and hubris to go around, while Fuck Buttons, with the help of our personal favorite noise boys, Odonis Odonis, look to shut Northside down proper with their revered brand of art-house electronic. There’s 99% percent chance both of these will be at capacity soon after their 7pm doors, so if you miss out, head down to PopGun’s party Glasslands Party, featuring Swearin’, Radiator Hospital, Flesh Wounds, and Bent Shapes for a fitting consolation.
Where To Pregame: It’s Sunday night and you’ve been at it for four days, so anywhere that serves water.
Check out the full roster of Northside Festival shows on their website.