The Most Blogged About Shows of the Week Special Edition: Northside Preview

The Northside Festival

The Northside Festival can be intimidating if you have a badge… so many shows, so little time.  And while our own humble Brooklyn-based festival isn’t as massive as similarly-modeled “showcases” like SXSW or CMJ, it also won’t put as massive of a dent in your wallet.  There are plenty of free shows worth seeing, and most others are $12 and under.  Or hey, you could pick up a badge for just $80 (which could have been had for AS LOW as $52.50 for our loyal readers), and you’ll have free reigns to run wild up and down Williamsburg and Greenpoint for a long weekend.  Rather than discuss everything that’s awesome (because there’s a lot of awesomeness) I thought I’d share how I plan to map out the weekend, with the hope of maximizing said awesomeness.

The music portion of the festival begins tonight, and who better to get things started than Kool Keith?  That’s right, KOOL KEITH.  The enigmatic absurdist underground rap deity has been pretty quiet the past couple of years, but he has a new LP Love & Danger out later this year and plays Brooklyn Bowl to kick things off (and closes things out with Ultramagnetic MC’s on Sunday.)  Doors open at 6.

Cold Cave fronts an awesome lineup at 7 PM (their set at 10) at Europa with White Ring and Burning Star, which is really tempting, but I’m planning on staying closer to North 6th tonight (more on that later.)  Instead, I’ll probably catch the first couple bands at 285 Kent’s showcase at 8 PM.  Local fuzz-punks Eula are up first and are followed by New York experimental legend Dave Shuford’s (No Neck Blues Band, Speer) new instrumental outfit Rhyton, who play incredibly loud reverb-drenched psych jams.

After those two wrap things up, it’ll probably be wise to get on line to catch GZA’s second Liquid Swords set over at Music Hall of Williamsburg, the first absolutely CAN’T MISS performance of Northside.  He plays earlier in the night as well (doors, 8PM), so I’m hoping a lot of people decide to go to that one (which is sold out) so I can check out some of the above shows earlier in the night.

If that falls apart, PLAN B will be to run over to Knitting Factory for whatever remains of Class Actress, Eternal Summers, Bleeding Rainbow, Beach Day and Zambri.  That one starts at 8 PM.  If I tire of that one, and need some air on what is supposed to be a beautiful evening, Union Pool is as good a place as any to end the night with Ex Cops, Nude Beach and The Everymen.  And hey, it’s right down the street.

Everyone and their mama is going to be at Jens Lekman, Of Montreal, The Thermals and Beach Fossils in McCarren Park tomorrow afternoon (doors at 4), so I plan on showing up pretty early to get a decent spot.  This is the first BIG outdoor Brooklyn show of the summer and one of the best showcases Northside has put on in its four-year existence.  Of Montreal goes on last at 8:30, leaving the evening wide open.

Frankie Rose

After that one, Caveman and Frankie Rose play Music Hall of Williamsburg with doors at 8 PM.  Fort Lean and Hume were JUST ADDED to the bill, so I’d guess Frankie and Caveman won’t be playing until later in the night.  I’d like to catch Frankie’s set, after she put on what I would consider a pretty weak 30 minute set at Knitting Factory earlier this year for her album release party.  Hopefully she gives the crowd more this time around.  If that one gets out early enough, Shea Stadium’s got a PopFest showcase with Ski Lodge, the ever-buzzed Beach Day, Plastic Flowers and South of France.

No matter what happens, I’ll end my Friday night getting my dance on.  First up, the LAZERPOP party at Glasslands (usually featuring a 30 minute vodka open bar) features some high profile DJ sets from the likes of Pictureplane, Teengirl Fantasy and Hooray For Earth.  If Glasslands closes up shop early enough and I still have energy, I’d guess that the Bunker party at Public Assembly will still be going strong, as those things have the tendency to rage until sunrise.  They’ve got Kassem Mosse, Mike Servito, JD Emmanuel, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Jonathan Schmdit, Rene Hell, Raglani, Michael Pollard, Spinoza, Led er Est, Mindscraper and ISO.  Sounds like that many DJ sets will take you well into brunch on Saturday morning.

And hey, right after that Saturday morning brunch, the L Magazine (the outfit responsible for this whole shebang) has a showcase at Spike Hill with Ski Lodge (if you miss them at Shea), Ravens & Chimes, Field Mouse and Starlight Girls.  This one might get pretty packed.  Saturday is also “Williamsburg Walks,” meaning Bedford Avenue will be completely shut down to motorists for a street party of sorts, so I’d guess some people will spill over into this one.

The BIG ONE on Saturday is The Olivia Tremor Control at Music Hall of Williamsburg, and this probably my EDITOR’S PICK for the whole damned festival.  My entire day will be built around getting into this one.   I wish they’d announce set times for this already (come on, Bowery Presents); because there’s a bunch of other stuff I’d like to see.  I’d guess Olivia Tremor Control wouldn’t go on until at least 10 PM though (Laura Stevenson & The Cans and Dinosaur Feathers open), and you’re going to have to sacrifice the rest of the evening if you plan on getting into this thing.

If you’re not so inclined, there’s a really good consolation prize show over at Cameo Gallery, with Twin Sister, Guards, Physical Therapy, Caged Animals and Phone Tag, which is one of the best lineups of the festival.  BEST CASE SCENARIO, Olivia Tremor gets done around 11 or so, I scuttle across the street to Cameo and catch Twin Sister (11 PM set time) and Physical Therapy (midnight.)

Wait.  I just realized Black Dice and Run DMT are playing at Public Assembly on Saturday as well.  Normally that’d make for a tough decision, but the beauty of this whole thing is how friggin’ close a lot of the venues are.  My advice for non-Olivia Tremor Controllers is to hang on North 6th Saturday night and catch the best of the Black Dice and Twin Sister shows.  And hey, you might be able to see Olivia Tremor Control, Twin Sister AND Black Dice, if you’re lucky.  Not too shabby.

Sunday is traditionally a day of rest, but not this weekend.  Deli Magazine’s got a good one for you at 6 PM over at Cameo Gallery.  I think I’ll grab a quick bite at the Lovin’ Cup and then check out some of Avan Lava, Computer Magic, SAADI, Papertwin and Osekre & The Lucky Bastards.  I’ll probably shuffle between Cameo and Public Assembly in between sets, as they’ve got an awesome show at the same time with Suckers, Violens and Night Manager.

After that, it’s a mad dash to Muchmore’s over on Havemeyer for Ava Luna’s 11:30 PM set, and ANOTHER mad dash to Glasslands to catch some of Crystal Stilts midnight set at Glasslands.  Maybe the guys at Popgun will put me up for the night after that one as there’s a good chance I collapse on the bench, stage right, at Glasslands after all of this.

Peter Rittweger of My Social List

My Social List is happy to partner with Freewilliamsburg to bring you the best of music in the New York area.  My Social List tracks nine of the most popular music blogs and aggregates mentions of bands to create weekly Top 10 Lists of the city’s most exciting and highly-anticipated shows.

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