Northside 2012 : Day Three Recap

<img src="" alt="Northside 2012 Day Three : Live" />Northside had a healthy Day 3 in 2012. ...
Northside 2012 Day Three : Live
Northside 2012 : Day Three Recap

For the fourth year running, L Magazine‘s Northside Festival came to venues in Williamsburg & Greenpoint areas of Brooklyn.  Thursday-to-Sunday, June 14th to 17th, the hippest parts of Brooklyn played host to showcases and acts from Brooklyn and beyond.



After an extended Day 2 (QRO recap), I was exhausted.  Not only did I miss Ravens & Chimes (QRO album review) at Spike Hill (QRO venue review) during the day, but also a special show at McCarren Park with Dean & Britta (QRO spotlight on) – but that had only been announced the day of, so not really my fault.

And had already spent a lot of time at Jameson Lounge, so skipped Caveman (QRO album review) there in the early evening.

-Ted Chase


Saturday seems to be when Northside’s schedule comes out strongest and it seems that quite a number of acts were out that I wanted to catch but had to forego for one choice or another.  For the most part, took some familiar steps with last year’s lineup partly out of laziness, partly because research (YouTube) suggested I would enjoy it.

-Donald Lee


L Magazine presents ‘Bands You Need To Hear’ @ Spike Hill – Donald Lee

I remember visiting this venue last year and being impressed at their offerings and a couple of trips to YouTube confirmed that I would give it a try again.  For the record, I made it to this one 30 minutes ahead.  Again.


Starlight Girls, 1:30 PM

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Bringing a sultry, dreamy lounge sound to Spike Hill, Starlight Girls was the first to the lineup.  It’s a retro sound that brings up images of smoky dance halls with red swinging doors with circle windows and Speed Racer-style fashions.  Probably just me.


Field Mouse, 2:30 PM

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Despite missing a good number of their usual members, Field Mouse‘s first of two acts -the second at Brooklyn Bowl’s show with Ape School, EXITMUSIC (see below), and Asobi Seksu – worked.  Between the weaved dream pop sound of synthesized harmony and soft croons that felt like a modernized fusion of new wave (complete with vocals that match some famous singers of that time), singer/guitarist Rachel Browne also offered humorous quips that made the show part stand up act.


Ravens & Chimes, 3:30 PM

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Described as "indie art rock," Ravens & Chimes played a very smooth harmony with a ballad style towards their music that was not afraid to play with its pace.  Despite a guitar that broke its string after second song – almost as though it was on queue, guitarist Asher Lack even remarked that he predicted this would happen for some reason – Spike Hill swelled to its fullest for a Saturday afternoon just to hear their sound.


Ski Lodge

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Tail end of L Mag‘s lineup finished with the beach-inflected Ski Lodge.  Felt appropriate to listen to outside on a sunny day.  Odd comparisons, considering how I described opening act, Starlight Girls.



Whatever Blog showcase @ The Spare Room at The Gutter – Donald Lee


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I caught WOJCIK last year at Northside’s Cameo Gallery (QRO venue review) to much pleasure (QRO photos).  The sound itself had that quicker, hard-edged sound with decent vocal range that kept me listening, but there is even more of a thrill hearing it while seeing drummer Geoff Lewit smash into his drums like a game of whack-a-mole. 

Curiosity provoked me about their progress as they spent most of their time this year working on a new album; clearly was not alone as a few familiar faces from Northside’s lineup also came.  As expected, lots of new material was played and it seems Hailey and Geoff have embraced an even harder sound than I remember, much to satisfaction.  Unfortunately, left prematurely because Northside’s schedule suggested another show I needed to catch starting soon.  Should have realized by now that the schedules that day would be off by 30 minutes.



The Windish Agency showcase @ Brooklyn Bowl – Ted Chase


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Did finally get myself going in time to catch the (relatively) blowing up EXITMUSIC at Brooklyn Bowl (QRO venue review).  This was one of the bigger shows of Day 3 of Northside, and there was a heavy, actually kind of obtrusive photog presence for EXITMUSIC.

Thankfully, EXITMUSIC deserve the hype that they’ve been getting.  Their moody post-rock-ish sound on debut Passage (QRO review) was good if not great, but gets not only grander live (even in a somewhat less-than-grand setting, as one could also hear bowling pins being knocked over throughout the set), but also more engaging and captivating than you’d expect – not as automatically sleep-inducing (not that there’s anything wrong with sleep…).



StereoactiveNYC showcase @ Spike Hill – Ted Chase & Donald Lee

MiniBoone, 10:30 PM

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Can’t have a Northside without Spike Hill; can’t have a Northside without MiniBoone.  The QRO favorite played mostly new stuff, still as energetic as ever, though they no longer do any instrument switching (probably for the best, especially at the cramped stage at Spike Hill).  It just leaves Craig Barnes to dance, Samuel Rich to jump, James Keary to scream, etc.  Doug Schrashun was more tied down, relatively speaking – even the new drummer got to shout at the start of one song, "I’m a fugitive – in Canada!"

-Ted Chase


Tempted to ask if I can rent a spot in Spike Hill and just live there at this rate.  Regardless, QRO’s favorite band was back and brought with them a lot of new material, much more than expected since their November show @ Great Scott (QRO photos), relegating their older material to only two songs, one of them the classic "Devil in Your Eyes" and the newer "Man/Woman".  As with most shows, plenty of that Talking Heads-ish sound coupled with plenty of jumping from guitarist Sam Rich.

-Donald Lee



The Gypsy West presents @ The Trash Bar

The Gypsy West, 11:30 PM

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Another band followed back last year before moving to Boston, the bluesy psychedelic funk sound of The Gypsy West performed at Trash Bar, as barefoot as ever.  Might just be me, but their set seemed tighter than I remember; their pieces in general seemed to favor more rock than the bluesier pieces I have seen them play before.


New Madrid, 12:30 AM

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Was unable to grace myself to catch the full set of New Madrid for the sake of making a final bus, but was able to hear enough to enjoy a show that had a music that had a psychedelic/metal tone to it with a sonorous set of vocals to it that felt appropriately Latino.  Drummer/vocalist/keyboardist Axel Ito lent a very stylish flair to the entire experience as though he was performing a dance with the drum itself as he sang.  Quite a change when you compare video from their 2008 days.



Unfortunately missed: – Ted Chase

-Dean & Britta @ McCarren Park, 5:15 PM – 6:15 PM.

-Caveman @ Jameson Lounge, 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM.

-Neon Marshmallow showcase @ Public Assembly (QRO venue review).  The Neon Marshmallow Festival returned, for at least one night, to Public Assembly (QRO photos from Neon Marshmallow NYC there last year).

-Asobi Seksu (QRO live review) @ Brooklyn Bowl, 10:30 PM – 11:30 PM.  Somehow, I’m always missing Asobi Seksu – they had a show cancelled by snowstorm-prevented headliner White Lies (QRO spotlight on) from making it into NYC, and this time they were up against MiniBoone…

-Freshkills (QRO live review) @ The Spare Room at The Gutter, 11:30 PM – 12:30 AM.  Should have checked out Freshkills at the Whatever Blog showcase.


Other notes: – Donald Lee

-Probably just me, but at first I mistook Ravens & Chimes’ Asher Lack for Luke Rathborne, who also played at the exact same showcase last year (QRO photos).


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