Posted in To Do | music on June 11, 2009

by Bill Pearis


Well it's the inaugural Northside Festival, the L Magazine's attempt at bringing the spirit of SXSW to Brooklyn. At least that what I think they're doing. What makes the Northside Festival different than CMJ, or the New Music Seminar if you remember back that far, is that all the participating venues are pretty much in walking distance of one another.* (Though getting from, say, Studio B to Glasslands you might consider a cab or car service.) Part of the appeal of getting the Festival badge ($45 until 5pm Thursday/today), which was super-cheap let's admit it, is the ability to zip from venue to venue, sampling as many bands as you can. See some you know you like, try some you've never heard.

Opening night (tonight, Thursday, June 11) has plenty of options, though I'll be honest I don't feel like anything is an absolute must-see. The big draw for most people is obviously The Hold Steady at Music Hall of Williamsburg, though I wouldn't be surprised if there's a line at new DIY venue Shea Stadium, which is featuring Magic Markers, Marnie Stern, The Fly Girlz/Nine II Thesaurus, and Dynasty Handbag. Though, it's Bushwick locale may keep some people away. And there's also the Official Opening Party at Studio B, that not only has Brightback Morning Light and Zomes (ex Lungfish), but also three hours of free beer and BBQ for badge-holders.

And while I might hit Studio B early, I'd bet I'll probably gravitate to Public Assembly for the Modular party featuring Philadelphia DFA signees Free Energy (ex members of Hockey Night); Minneapolis' Solid Gold who look more like rockers than a dance act and were pretty good when I saw them at SXSW; and Brooklyn's Tanlines who are kind of electronic afropop.

There's also an interesting schedule at Glasslands. Headlining is the '80s new wave of Class Actress, former Cibo Mato singer Miho Hatori, shoegazers Autodrone, and Washington, DC's Exit Clov.

And at Cameo is a night of ambient/experimental electronics, including Ducktails, the gorgeous sounds of Julianna Barwick, S.S.P.S. (aka Porkchop from Excepter), and show currators Men & Women.

And though the slot that was to be filled by France's Francois Virot at Union Pool is now marked "TBA", the bill still includes Sharon Van Etten and Olof Arnalds, the latter of whom is also playing a set at the BrooklynVegan showcase at Music Hall on Friday.

A couple other notes: With no links to bands' Myspace pages or websites, the Northside Fest's schedule page keeps things mysterious. Like, is the Discovery playing Spike Hill tonight at 9:30 the Vampire Weekend/Ra Ra Riot sideproject? No, it's a funk/soul/disco outfit who've been playing around the city since 2006.

And the schedule promises "secret surprise guests" at Coco 66 tonight. A look at the venue's website reveals it's a Bravo Silva reunion, who broke up in 2006.

And lastly, for those who aren't intimate with the neighborhood, Look at Me I Made A Blog created a really helpful Google Map with all participating Northside Festival venues.

This is obviously not everything that's going on. What did I miss? Stay tuned for the guide to Friday. A video of Marnie Stern from SXSW 2007, and the Glasslands flyer, below...




Comments (47)


Meat Puppets tonight for me

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 2:37 PM

Is marnie stern really playing that show? She doesn't have it listed anywhere.

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 2:43 PM

Shea Stadium isn't in Bushwick by any stretch of the imagination.

it's in the northernmost part of Williamsburg / Greenpoint, right near the BQE

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 2:45 PM

How is the capacity situation going to work out at the The Hold Steady show? I'm pretty sure it was already sold out before it was even made available to badge holders.

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 2:47 PM

Yep, Meat Puppets!

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 2:48 PM

Do you need to buy the $45 pass to see Ducktails at DBA on Friday?

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 2:49 PM

It would be great if they could release the stage times for the Shea Stadium show tonight. It's kinda essential to at least have an approximate idea of when bands are going on for this thing to really work. Anyone got any idea?

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 2:54 PM

"Do you need to buy the $45 pass to see Ducktails at DBA on Friday?"

It's actually gonna be Real Estate, not a solo Ducktails set. No badge required but there is a $10 cover.

Posted by e4e1 | June 11, 2009 2:59 PM

@2:49 - You can buy an individual tickets. But I don't think you can buy in advance as DBA never sells tickets anywhere but at the door.

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 3:01 PM

Yawnside Festival!

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 3:05 PM

I think you mean Northside Mehstival.

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 3:07 PM

Seriously, I'm reading through this post and there's not a single band who provokes any interest whatsoever. Hold Steady? Didn't they just play 3 nights at Bowery, along with having played a ton of local shows lately.
Obviously BV has a lot invested in this, with 3 major showcases. If he wasn't deeply involved, this underwhelming event wouldn't even get coverage here.

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 3:16 PM

at least someone is trying to put something ambitious together. go see some bands you haven't seen before. there is a ton of great stuff this weekend - expand your horizons.

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 3:21 PM

$10 is really expensive for These Are Powers and Real Estate.

These are bands that play for 6 or 7 bucks most of the time.

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 3:21 PM

just wanted to say that the northside design/logo is sweet

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 3:22 PM

Ambitious? Some of these bands are really good, some not so good, but almost all of them can be seen regularly in the area throughout the year, or in some cases the previous week or next week.

There's nothing ambitious or even particulary original about any of these showcases. Except of course that you're spending more money to see the bands here.

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 3:28 PM

Yeah, what are the times for Shea? I know how lame it is when people get a stick up their ass about set times, but for a festival like this to really live up to its full potential, the venues need to post some times and try to stick to them.

Also, anybody know if there will be door tickets at Shea? I've got a couple of friends who don't have badges.

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 3:30 PM

all I've got are friends who don't have badges.

seriously, did anyone buy badges to this thing?

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 3:31 PM

I think it's a good start.
For someone new to the Brooklyn music scene or maybe someone who's never really felt it was worth going out to Williamsburg it's a great thing.

For a pretty cheap price ($15 bucks per day) You can check out all the venues and lots of bands you may have not heard before.

It's not SXSW, but it's a good start to something that could potentially attract attention and be awesome a few years down the line.

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 3:34 PM


hey 3:34, get out of here with that optimistic attitude!! everything sucks!!!!!

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 3:37 PM

stay home

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 3:38 PM

"Yawnside Festival!"


Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 3:41 PM

All the best shows seem to be on Friday, imo.

Also, remember that with the badge comes free beer from 5-8 every night at both Studio B and Juliette (N5) which is a definite plus, even if it's Heineken Light.

If you like to go see music and would be going to shows even for just three of the nights, the pass is worth it.

Posted by bill p | June 11, 2009 3:44 PM

Don't stay home, go to see something good -- like Band of Horses at Carnegie, or Fiery Furnaces at Wordless or Todd Snider at Bowery or Meat Puppets at the Merc or Cymbals Eat Guitars at Martini Red or Robyn Hitchcock at Bell House or Marco Benevento at The Stone or ...

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 3:44 PM

Or aldenbarton at Bar Matchless! That show is free for everyone!

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 3:49 PM

go for the vajayjay

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 4:17 PM

"which was super-cheap let's admit it"

Super-cheap? Except for a handful of bands (Hold Steay, Sunset Rubdown), the majority of bands are local bands that normally charge $5. How is this badge super-cheap? Even the Hold Steady have performed numerous times for free and Sunset Rubdown shows are not expensive either.

Free Heineken Light is not an enticement. Life is too short to drank bad beer.

It's just another CMJ. In fact, if you don't live in WB/GP, it's even worse since you have to travel there. At least CMJ has chowcases in Manhattan, which is easier to travel to from Northern Manhattan, Queens, Jersey, south Brooklyn, etc....

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 4:25 PM

late add tonight:

Kittens Ablaze

The Brunettes (Sub Pop)

Art Sorority for Girls

This Frontier Needs Heroes

@ Pete's Candy Store, FREE

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 4:25 PM


Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 4:26 PM

L MEHgazine

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 4:27 PM

Sir Richard will embarass the indie rockers and cut the trustafarians down to size with his musical skills

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 4:35 PM

IVANA XL at Union Pool @ 8 pm. She's much more engaging than the more established and more hyped performers on the bill. The precious Olof Arnalds included.

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 5:04 PM

4:25PM - Wow, negative post there. I'm guessing you're not easily pleased. I've got a badge for Northside. I'm going to check it out. The free booze combined with the amount of shows I'll see easily makes it worth it. The lineup isn't amazing, but it's the first year and a lot of bands are away playing festivals at this time.

Kudos to them for picking some of the best new Brooklyn bands. I like Sisters, Knight School, the Beets, Air Waves. This fest will give them some exposure to a slightly different audience to their regular shows, which can only be a good thing.

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 5:08 PM

how can i sneak in?

Posted by big n gay | June 11, 2009 5:12 PM

I'm guessing that Crystal Stilts are the "secret surprise band" at Bruar Falls on Saturday?

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 5:45 PM

who cares

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 5:46 PM

@Anon 5:45
I think your mummy knows the answer.

Posted by bill p | June 11, 2009 5:54 PM

so is marnie stern actually playing tonight or not? also how much is that show?

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 5:56 PM

BTW, only 150 badges allowed in for the Hold Steady show tonight. Get there early.

Posted by Anonymous | June 11, 2009 6:49 PM

Well, that was a fucking disaster. After struggling to find "Shea Stadium" with the L Magazine's misleading map, I got there only to find the show wasn't affiliated with the Northside Festival. WTF? No badge holders were allowed in, and they were handing out flyers giving their reasons, which are based around Northside not giving any money to the bands playing. Northside Festival: Epic Fail.

Posted by Anonymous | June 12, 2009 12:52 AM






Posted by Anonymous | June 12, 2009 2:09 AM

2:09AM - isn't that a Northside Festival show?

Posted by Anonymous | June 12, 2009 8:14 AM

It definitely is. It's also the "Less Artists More CONDOS" show

Posted by Anonymous | June 12, 2009 8:22 AM

no marnie stern and no badges allowed at shea. the girl at the door said any donation was acceptable to get in, but the whole situation was just absurd.

Posted by Anonymous | June 12, 2009 8:40 AM

She Stadium's MySpace still lists Marnie Stern:

As does the Northside schedule:

Which also means it should have been a Northside show.

Posted by Anonymous | June 12, 2009 8:49 AM

sounds like bullshit to me. only reason anyone even knew about this show was because it showed up on L magazines schedule...

Posted by Anonymous | June 12, 2009 9:02 AM

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