2016 Northside Music Festival Review


Summer was well and truly ushered in this last weekend as the Northside Festival concluded its 8th year. With a 400+ roster of bands among dozens of venues, there was no shortage of entertainment; Free Williamsburg staff made a credible stab at doing as much as possible, and our thoughts are below – the best sets, what we sadly missed, and looking to the future. All photos by Chris Quartly

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2016 Northside Music Festival guide


We’ve had several failed attempts at summer kicking off this year, but the Northside festival always seems to usher in the season semi-officially for us here at Free Williamsburg. With a music lineup that breaks a whopping 400 in number, there is plenty to cram in over the course of 4 days, it’s not too late to buy a badge, and single-ticket shows are available here. While the laws of physics dictate that you can’t be everywhere at the same time, we’re here to help out with the suggestions of who, where and when (not to mention finding time for a beer).

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Northside 2016 Festival includes Brian Wilson playing Pet Sounds


The Northside festival is always one of our favourite times of the year, and so it will no doubt be again following the announcement of the intial lineup for the 2016 iteration. The obvious standout is Brian Wilson performing the all-time classic Pet Sounds album on the 12th of June (the album is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year). Location and ticket details for the show are yet to be announced so stay tuned.

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2015 Northside Music Review

ex hex

The seventh Northside festival wrapped up on the 14th of June, with over 100,000 people spending time indulging either music, innovation, film, or a combination of the three. Free Williamsburg staff spent time at various shows from metal to pop acts, among thousands or sometimes only a dozen likeminded souls. The best sets and the ones that got away all feature below.

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Brooklyn Electronic Dance Round Up: June 12-13

Trapped in the heat and you can’t get out? This weekend’s Northside Festival is due to be a hot one so make sure to stay hydrated! For those looking to keep the party going after the showcases, I’m back laying out the weekend’s finds for nightlife pleasure seeking. Starting with The Bunker tonight, presenting a heavy night of techno, celebrating the release of EPs on their label from both Løt.te and Mark Verbos. Then its off to Bushwick where you can find left field producer Willie Burns (L.I.E.S., WT Records) melding records together from years worth of collecting at Brooklyn’s The Thing record store. Cap it all off at the newly opened Black Flamingo for a classic night of Disco and House from Jacques Renault and Justin Miller. Saturday begins early with a daytime rooftop special at Output with Metro Area and local staples Kaviar Disco Club. For the pièce de résistance you can find Tigersushi honcho and french bred DJ/Producer Joakim at Cameo for an all night long DJ set with the legendary Justin Strauss! Go out and get some New York! – @evvnmichael



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Sometimes you’re a little late: MisterWives


I usually consider myself up on the indie-pop music scene, but I wasn’t prepared for the pandemonium that was the MisterWives show on Saturday.

I should have been tipped off by the fact that a great band I have been following, Body Language, was opening for MisterWives, but truth be told, I was blind. I watched the video below, and thought, “Awesome, another new band to check out.” But apparently, as Kim Zolciak would say, I was tardy to the party.

I had to work my weekend job on Saturday, so I knew it was going to be close making it to the MisterWives set on time. I trucked it from Greenpoint to the Brooklyn Bowl in record time, only to be confronted with a huge, round-the-corner line. Who is this amazing mystery band? I skipped up to the front to see which line was which and overheard people literally begging to get in. It was a free show, but these folks were willing to forget their RSVP and pay cash – anything to get to the stage.

The ticket line moved pretty smoothly, and I was in the building after a short wait, but missed about half the set. I walked in to a packed floor, every face singing along to the lyrics.

I was not alone in my ignorance at the popularity of MisterWives. The lead singer, Mandy Lee, seemed just as impressed by the size of the audience as I was and continued to express her awe. Lee’s gratitude contributed to the overwhelmingly happy energy in the room. She bounced around the stage and tapped along with the band on her tambourine, beaming. Each song was better than the last and when the band left the stage, the crowd was screaming for more like it was NKOTB. They rushed back out to the stage, but the mics were turned off and the band was literally out of material. Finally, the sound crew got it together and MisterWives closed the set with “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” A fitting ending, if you ask me.

After the show, I made a couple other quick Northside pit stops and then returned to my apartment to listen to their EP Reflections on repeat. Now, when I go see MisterWives the next time they’re in town, I’ll be  properly prepared to belt out the tunes with the masses. Better late than never.


Breaking News: The Times discovers that Williamsburg has a “gritty” south side


We’re not quite sure how the divide between north and south Williamsburg is news. When we started this site, the Bedford avenue stop was called “The Northside.” (See the image from our premiere Geocities issue above.)

In fact, our friends at the L Magazine, even have a annual festival called The Northside Festival. The only thing that has changed about the “Mason-Dixon line” divide of Williamsburg, is the extent of the gentrification, which is slightly greater on the north side. Oh well, its been a few months since the Times published an irrelevant article on Williamsburg, so it was overdue:

Grand Street is more than just the dividing line between streets that are numbered north and those numbered south. The border has become Williamsburg’s equivalent of the Mason-Dixon line, cleaving the neighborhood into two: a sleek, moneyed “North Williamsburg” and a gritty, hyper-authentic “South Williamsburg.”

In case you need a translation, “gritty” apparently means “has Latino population:” [Read more…]

For the nine-millionth time, stop blaming “Hipsters” for the census.

Metro: Blame Hipsters for NYSigh. It happened again. After City Councilwoman Diana Reyna stated that “‘hipsters’ may be part of the cause” for the New York City’s inaccurate census results, the media went wild, with L Magazine bringing up the tired “hipsters are too cool” argument, and Metro NY going as far as to accuse hipsters of costing NYC billions of dollars in federal funding. (The Awl has a shot of the even-more inflammatory print headline here).

As we pointed out last April, the “hipster” areas of Williamsburg etc had census return rates that were about on par with the rest of the city, making this more of  a story of media sensation and less a story of substance. It also, as City Limits points out, blatantly ignores very real issues that get in the way of census returns: the fact that so many residents live in inaccessible-to-the-public apartment buildings, that so many residents live in illegally subdivided or sublet apartments, that undocumented immigrants may be less-than-willing to talk about their living situation with a government representative, or that the city’s population may indeed have plummeted due to the this-city-being-so-fucking-expensive-no-one-can-afford-to-live-here-anymore factor.

So can we get over this hipsters-hate-the-census thing already,  and move on to some real problems? Like how you can never reach Northside carservice on weekend mornings, or that it’s been almost two months, and the Weeknd has STILL only put out one mixtape?

ps – you all had better have actually filled out your damn census forms, otherwise I’ll look like a real big idiot.