Northside Festival 2012: RECAP

The streets of Williamsburg belonged to musicians, even more than normal, for the four days that the Northside Festival staked its ground. There was a constant bustle of badge-clad press agents, photographers, managers and agents in addition to guitarists toting their instruments and lead singers trailed by groupies.  Booze was certainly also flowing freely.  At Good Co. on Hope Street, Jameson hosted a party featuring their whiskey and McClure’s pickle juice.  A young lady I met at the bar admitted, “I’m not even in the music industry, but all my friends are. And I wish I was.”  Then she ordered herself a pickleback (a shot of Jameson followed by a shot of pickle juice, which is apparently a New York phenomenon?).

The catalog of bands and showcases was extensive; in browsing through the program trying to determine which band to check out next,  I quickly realized it was a crapshoot. There were very few names I recognized, so any choice was going to be hit or miss. Luckily, there were more hits than misses. Here are a few highlights…

<< well, what are they?? >>

(Photos by Andrew St. Clair)

Under African Skies: The Story of Paul Simon’s GRACELAND

It has been just over 25 years since Paul Simon released his revered album Graceland.  To commemorate the anniversary, Sony Music in association with A&E Indie Films and Radical Media produced a documentary titled Under African Skies which was screened on June 5th at New York’s legendary Ziegfield Theatre. The screening was followed by a talkback with Simon and Director Joe Berlinger, moderated by Bob Costas.

The film follows the story of Simon’s trip to South Africa in 1985, his collaboration with local musicians on the making of the album and their first world tour in 1987, all amidst the intense racial tensions of apartheid and a cultural boycott imposed by the UN and the African National Congress (ANC). Archival footage is juxtaposed with footage from Simon’s return to South Africa and reunion with the original band last year. Bolstered with commentary by colleagues such as Sir Paul McCartney, Quincy Jones and David Byrne; New York Times music critic Jon Pareles; members of the band and current and former members of the ANC, this is a captivating story of triumph through music…

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Northside Festival Takes Over Williamsburg

As though you didn’t already have enough on your calendar for the summer (Food fairs! Music festivals! Outdoor movies!), there’s even more live music vying for your attention this weekend.  The fourth annual Northside Festival kicks off on Thursday night and provides a prime opportunity to discover great new bands right here in Brooklyn, an area rife with them.  Music is only one aspect of this eight-day affair, founded by brothers Scott and Daniel Stedman (who launched L Magazine); there is also visual art, panels on entrepreneurship, and a full-fledged indie film festival/competition to round things out.

These four nights of music are dedicated to showcasing emerging bands, and with around 350 participating, there is plenty to explore. Music labels, websites and agencies will be presenting shows at all the usual Williamsburg/Greenpoint hotspots: you name it, Northside has it booked. Keep in mind, though, that most bands only play one or two sets, so your chances to catch them are limited. While last year’s line-up featured more big names (Beirut, Hospitality, Sharon Van Etten), the level of diversity and activity this time around assures that there will be no problem finding new favorites. So clear your calendar for a few nights and check things out; if you want to take our word for it, here’s ten bands to put at the top of your list…

<< see list  >>

…here are a few hints:

Galactic Blew Through Brooklyn Bowl

The spirit of New Orleans permeated Brooklyn Bowl last Friday as Galactic planted themselves on the stage for four consecutive nights of raucous musical celebrations.  The spirit was alive not only in the brilliant blues, soul and funk music but also in the tireless energy of the performers.  If The Stooges Brass Band hadn’t been on deck for the after-party set, Galactic could’ve (and would’ve) gone on well past their two-hour mark.

[…] it became increasingly difficult to keep track of all of the various musicians who joined them onstage, but singer Corey Glover and the stellar Corey Henry on trombone also featured prominently in the line-up.   In addition, there was the soulful woman accompanied by four men on bass drums who brought an element of Latin dance to the soundscape, plus the three men who duplicated the trombone and saxophone and added a trumpet to the mix, expanding upon the powerhouse horns already stealing the spotlight.  With moments of heavy bass lines, crying harmonicas, screaming trombones and superb vocal scatting, the set was one helluva party.

<< read the full review here! >>