Brooklyn’s been a mega-force in music for so many years now it’s hard to remember when it was ‘that outer borough’. In 2010 L Magazine started the Northside Festival in Williamsburg & Brooklyn, to celebrate acts from the area and bring in acts to the area. It’s more-or-less beefed up every year since then, and though it still had to live in the shadow of the prior weekend’s Governors Ball on nearby Randall’s Island (QRO recap), the festival brought the sounds to the north side of Brooklyn, Thursday to Sunday, June 12th to 15th:
Vans/FYF showcase @ House of Vans
House of Vans (QRO venue review) started having events not too long after Northside began, but this was the first year that the two teamed up – or rather, the first official event of the House of Vans summer season (though the space had been used prior to that this year – QRO live review) was added to the Northside schedule. This saved your correspondent, who’s a regular at House of Vans, and so wouldn’t be missing the first night of Northside.
With a name like ‘Benjamin Booker’ and opening for Charles Bradley (see below) one might have expected some neo-soul or neo-blues, but instead Booker’s just another garage-guitar guy in a town that’s got tones of them (though is black). More interesting, really, was that House of Vans was now allowing beers throughout the space, as opposed to the two restricted, far-off spots of recent years.
Remember when Girls (QRO live review) – the band, not the show – broke out, and you wondered why everyone was raving about their neo-sixties pop? Kind of felt the same way about Mac DeMarco, who has gotten tons of praise and got tons of fans to House of Vans show. Perhaps, like how Girls main-man Christopher Owens was considered interesting because he had been raised in a cult, DeMarco gets notice thanks to his wild shows (though didn’t see that much of it at House of Vans; has reportedly toned it down in general). At least DeMarco started under his own name, and so won’t have to break up his group to go solo.
Charles Bradley & The Extraordinaires
DeMarco did seem to be the main draw of the show – and there had been a serious line to enter, despite the inclement weather – because the crowd thinned before Charles Bradley & The Extraordinaires came on. Their loss.
‘The Screaming Eagle of Soul’ was introduced by his own band (which included members of fellow Dap-Tone act Sharon Jones’ The Dap-Kings – QRO live review), and came out in a kick-ass monogrammed red suit, and had it going all night long. Note that ‘all night’ included a second set, where Bradley changed into a white suit (that red one had gotten a lot of sweat on it). While older than the vast majority of the crowd, Bradley had more energy than anyone, including duct-taping his mike to its stand for full action.
-In the free beer report at House of Vans, the drinks in the VIP area managed to run out while still on offer in the regular area. Possibly because now VIPers could bring drinks out to actually watch the bands – and bring them out for friends in the crowd. But the regular beer, whose line organized from a giant scrum into well-working lines, lasted right through the night. Our gain.