Northside Festival is NYC’s largest and most accessible “discovery festival”. Spanning 8 days, Northside showcases what’s next in music, film, art and entrepreneurship, all in a location described as a melting pot for creative types: Brooklyn. When I think of Brooklyn, one of the first things that come to mind is music. Countless bands have fine-tuned their craft on its streets, the sights and smells and inspiring their lyrics and sound. It makes sense that Brooklyn should be home to a festival being hailed as the Northeast’s answer to SXSW.
I’m particularly excited about the music and art portions of the festival. On Saturday, Northside Art will take over the block of Bedford Ave from N8th-N9th Street as part of the Williamsburg Walks series – temporary wall units, interactive installations and sculptures will be staggered throughout the block for live painting performances, graffiti and other participation oriented works. On Sunday, 80+ artists living and working in Williamsburg and Greenpoint will open their studios to the public to engage in conversation, education, collaboration, and appreciation.
Like SXSW, the music shows at Northside Festival take place in multiple venues throughout Brooklyn/Williamsburg, in the evenings on Thursday through Sunday. With so many bands playing (so many bands!) it’s hard to keep track of when and where you need to be. Here’s my list of must-see shows & a playlist of Northside Festival bands!
1. The Knitting Factory – 361 Metropolitan Ave, doors at 7pm
Bands (in order of appearance): Zambri, Air Waves, Beach Day, Bleeding Rainbow, Eternal Summers, Class Actress
Eternal Summers make music that seems to follow the philosophy of their name – sunny, indie, slightly punk-tinged rock that sounds like the perfect summer anthem.
2. Union Pool – 484 Union Ave, doors at 8pm
Bands: The Everymen, Ex Cops, Nude Beach
I just recently started listening to Ex Cops and am really enjoying their sound a lot – atmospheric and mellow with almost-whispered lyrics and shimmering guitars.
3. Glasslands Gallery – 289 Kent Ave, doors at 8:30pm
Bands: Beacon, Niki and the Dove, Selebrities
There’s been a lot of buzz around Swedish electro-pop duo Niki & the Dove – I’m curious to check out their live show!
4. McCarren Park – North 12th St and Berry, Doors at 4pm
Bands: Beach Fossils, The Thermals, Jens Lekman, Of Montreal
I’m a big fan of Beach Fossils and their music that sounds like just that – like it was plucked from the sand, drenched with salt water. I’ve never seen them live so I’m excited to see them play a show in their hometown! I also love Swedish singer/songwriter Jens Lekman, so this show is a must for me.
5. Brooklyn Bowl – 61 Wyth Avenue, doors at 6pm
Bands: Husky, The Felice Brothers
I saw the Felice Brothers a while back when I was living in San Francisco – at the time I didn’t know anything about them, and the blew me away. They put on an incredible live show – definitely not to be missed. Opening act Husky is supposed to be good too!
6. Spike Hill – 186 Bedford Ave, doors at 7:30pm
Bands: Fast Years, New Moods, Ice Choir (members of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart), Zambri
7. Music Hall of Williamsburg – 66 North 6th St, doors at 8pm
Bands: Frankie Rose, Caveman (more TBA)
I had the pleasure of meeting these guys a few weeks ago and not only are they an amazing band, but they’re super sweet guys too. Looking forward to seeing them again J
8. The Grand Victory – 245 Grand Street, doors at 4:30pm
Bands: Troubled Sleep, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Weird Children, Brenda, Flying Pace, Sunset Hearts
If you saw my tunesday post last week you know I’m a big fan of this girl, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper J I’m excited for her live show, and to meet her in person this weekend!
9. Brooklyn Bowl – 61 Wythe Ave, doors at 6pm
Bands: Field Mouse, Exitmusic, Asobi Seksu, Ape School
This should be another great show – both Field Mouse and Exitmusic have gotten my attention lately, and Asobi Seksu is great as well!
10. Cameo Gallery – 93 North 6th St, doors at 6:30pm
Bands: Phonetag, Caged Animals, Guards, Physical Therapy (DJ set), Twin Sister
We love Twin Sister here at FP, and I STILL haven’t seen them live! Thankfully that will finally change after this weekend. Guards (the guitarist from the Cults) is also really good.
11. Knitting Factory – 361 Metropolitan Ave, doors at 8pm
Bands: Snack Machine, Gap Dream, Gary War, The Black Belles, Turbo Fruits, Grass Widow
I’d like to check out San Francisco based band Grass Widow, as well as The Black Belles, who were discovered and signed by Jack White.
12. Glasslands Gallery – 289 Kent Ave, doors at 8:30pm
Bands: Warthog, Wymond Miles (members of The Fresh & Onlys), Var (members of Iceage), Amen Dunes, Crystal Stilts
Crystal Stilts will essentially close out the festival, and it’s fitting as the Brooklyn based band were among the first wave of lo-fi rock bands to emerge from Brooklyn and find success – essentially doing what most bands playing Northside hope to accomplish.
For the full schedule for all Northside events check out the website.
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