Photo Courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan
Luke Rathborne started off the 3rd (and longest) day of the Northside Music Festival with a quick but excellent set over at Spike Hill. The singer-songwriter is self-deprecating and witty and his live band provides the perfect accent to the furious garage rock he plays live. His live set is completely different from his recorded material and while his EPs are both good, the hard rocking live show he puts on is definitely preferable.
After Rathborne's set, (after a brief libation break at Pete's Candy Store) we headed over to the Steve Madden Stage at McCarren Park for the Surfer Blood, Waaves and Guided by Voices show. The crowd at this show was full of old school indie rock fans from the 90s who consider Pavement and Guided By Voices gods. Needless to say, the crowd wasn't particularly into Surfer Blood and while they played a great set (almost the same as Friday night) it just wasn't the same as the Knitting Factory show. One highlight was during Take It Easy, lead singer John Paul Pitts, ditched his guitar, ventured into the crowd, couldn't climb back on to the stage, walked all the way around to the back and reemerged with 3 pre-teens. The 10-12 year olds stood around awkwardly on stage, boogied a little bit and then yelled this is awesome into the microphone. A truly awesome moment both for them and the crowd!
Waaves sucked and just don't write very good music so I retired to a taco cart (that's right! A taco cart in the venue!) during their set to get some grub and returned just in time for the indie rock fossils, Guided By Voices to the stage. I'll preface this by saying that I like their music but don't really understand the huge cult-following they have. Either way, I enjoyed their set and it was definitely fun watching the old guys (who probably have families) drink, smoke cigarettes and fist pump (not like Jersey Shore!) right along with Robert Pollard.
We then went back over to Pete's Candy Store for round 2 and a raffle for a free bike. I ended up missing out on the bike but winning an awesome free T-Shirt! Anyway, as I made my way inside for a pint, I heard some excellent sound coming from the show room and as I went to check it out, I discovered the 5-piece folk rock band Bel Air. They played a great little set and while their music is nothing special, I'm a sucker for anything folk. Support local music!
Finally, the night ended up at Bruar Falls on Grand Street for the Tom Tom Magazine's, a mag dedicated to female drummers/beatmakers, showcase featuring The Suzan. When we arrived Phoebe Jean was on stage and it was just bizarre. I don't really know what to make of it to be honest. Next, Emily Wells took the stage after a brief interlude from a beatboxer/rapper who late made waffles for the entire bar. Emily Wells is a violinist/beatmaker who's been around since 1999 but until last night, I'd never heard a thing about her. Her set was very impressive and included an absolutely amazing cover of "Juicy" by The Notorious B.I.G. She's definitely worth a look by all of you music fans and here's a video for the "Juicy" cover.
The Suzan wrapped up the night well, with another energetic and fun set that had everyone in the packed bar clapping and singing along. I can't really listen to The Suzan on CD but I'm comfortable saying I'd see them live anywhere. Find out where they're playing in your city and go check them out!
Sunday was a day of relaxation and exploration for Megan and I as we ventured out to East Williamsburg and Bushwick to take advantage of some of the deals our Northside badges granted us. This included 2 dollars off any IPA at Pine Box Rock Shop and a half-gallon of free beer at Goodbye Blue Monday. It was a great albeit bizarre day with some times that felt as though I had entered the twilight zone. I'll be returning to both these places sooner rather than later.
By the time we were back on the Northside, it was time for the show I was most excited about seeing. Deer Tick, the sometimes brilliant, other times mediocre folk group from Providence, Rhode Island were doing a set as Deervana, their Nirvana cover band that made all the headlines after their set at SXSW. It was honestly like watching a reincarnated, right-handed version of Kurt Cobain on stage. John McCauley, sporting a freshly shaved head, took the stage, absolutely wailed on his guitar and screamed his lanyx purple. This is an absolute must see for Nirvana and Deer Tick fans alike. The crowd was raucous, the band was energetic and everyone in the venue undoubtedly had a great night. At the end of the set, Deervana (using props), smashed all their instruments and left the stage in ruin. The setlist is below.
I've come to the conclusion that in order to be a quality cover band, you have to: 1) Be a real band with an established sound, 2) Pick one band to imitate and perfect their sound and 3) Play the part! Clothes, hair, attitude. Act like that band acted. With that said, I came up with this great idea: Titus Andronicus covering Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band under the name Bruce Andronicus. Thoughts?
Overall, the 3rd annual Northside Music Festival was an excellent weekend full of music, drinks, art, film, more drinks, food, new experiences, more drinks and most importantly fun. I will definitely be getting a badge to the 4th annual next year and you should consider doing so as well. Bravo The L Magazine!
Deervana Set List
About A Girl
On a Plain
Been a Son
Serve the Servants
Something in the Way