via Auditory Threshold
This past weekend, L Magazine cured NYC's SXSW envy with the first Northside Festival, a music and art-filled four days in North Brooklyn. Known for being musician and artist friendly, Williamsburg and Greenpoint were the obvious choice locales for a Brooklyn-based music festival. With a dense population of music stages and art galleries, North Brooklyn is dream come true for a music lover, and I thank L Magazine for taking full advantage of the local culture for the festival.
Northside Festival kicked off on Thursday with a short list of events. The first stop for me was Ducktails, a project of Matt Mondanile who also plays in the much-loved Real Estate. I only caught the end of his set which included "Beach Point Pleasant," a track off the recently released self-titled LP (Order here). Cameo Gallery, a fairly new art gallery/music venue located inside the Lovin' Cup Cafe, was a strangely appropriate venue for Ducktails. Darkly intimate with iridescent strips hanging from the ceiling, Cameo could be the best indoor space for an experimental one-man or one-woman show. That being said, I have to admit that seeing Ducktails live wasn't the most thrilling experience, which is what I expected going into the show. Because I have such little knowledge of what actually goes into creating his sound, it was hard for me to be engaged. 7 inches has some great insight into what he believes Matt is doing onstage, and I highly suggest that you go over there and read his write-up. If someone would like to walk me through some of the technicals, I would appreciate that, too. Ducktails has an awesome LP, and I recommend that you pick up a copy. I ordered directly from Not Not Fun Records and it came with some interesting packaging. Ducktails was also featured on the Free Music Archive recently.
Let's Rock the Beach (Live at WFMU) - Ducktails
After Ducktails, I stayed a little longer for Julianna Barwick. I don't know much about Julianna, so this may be a crude evaluation of her set. While I think some of her songs are very beautiful and soothing, it was uninteresting for me to watch someone use samples and only contribute live vocal loops. "You Catcher" has beautiful minimalist picked guitar lines and upper register piano chords, and I would have liked to have seen Barwick create the instrumental loops herself. In a way, Julianna Barwick's music reminds me of French films, the ones that have no real plot, pinnacle, or resolution. Some people are into that, but it's not my cup of tea.
You Catcher (Daytrotter Session) - Julianna Barwick
To close out the night, I headed to Studio B, which is once again in danger of losing its liquor license. Brightblack Morning Light sounded like a psychedelic funk band, backed by a couple brass instruments. I recognized the saxophonist from the Akron/Family show at Bowery Ballroom. As much as I liked Brightblack Morning Light's sound, their songs started to blur together after a short while. Calming music, but not the best band to see late at night when all you want to do is crawl into bed.
Oppressions Each - Brightblack Morning Light
Elsewhere at Northside Festival, correspondent Auditory Threshold attended a headlining performance by The Hold Steady and shot some great pictures. Head on over to Auditory Threshold to see and read the rest.