Northside 2011 : Day Two Recap

<img src="" alt="Northside 2011 : Day Two Recap" />Day Two saw one of the strongest ‘upper-middle class’ bills of Northside, put together by Kanine Records. ...
Northside 2011 : Day Two Recap
Northside 2011 Day Two Recap

For the third year in a row, L Magazine threw its multi-venue Northside Festival, at stages across Williamsburg & Greenpoint in Brooklyn, June 16th-19th.  And for the third year in a row, QRO was there: 



Kanine Records showcase @ Knitting Factory

w/ Surfer Blood, Eternal Summers, Grooms, Pepper Rabbit, Xray Eyeballs, Zambri, Dream Diary

One of the strongest ‘upper-middle class’ bills of the fest was put together by Kanine Records.  Surfer Blood was the clear headliner, but only by a matter of degrees.  The line-up order was more or less arbitrary – at least in terms of the usual opener/headliner game – since the middle of the bill could be counted on to draw about the same number of heads through the door as the openers.  The net result was a uniformly strong night of music that eschewed ‘breakout bands’ for established acts that knew how to put on a show.  Probably the most ‘professional’ night of music I witnessed at Northside.

ZambriAfter opener Dream Diary, the ever-enchanting Zambri took the stage and played what sounded like a set of mostly-new material, which smacked of the techno-world pop vibe of Hooray For Earth’s (QRO spotlight on) new True Loves, though it’s hard to tell which direction the influence flows these days.  The Zambri sisters contributed a lot of vocals on that album, and other members have another hybrid Zambri/HFE group in the Nirvana-esque sludge disco outfit Dpony.  If there was ever a time when Zambri and Hooray For Earth were one big amorphous creative unit, it’s right now.

The indie bro-heavy middle of the bill had this QRO correspondent wishing Zambri had been pushed further into the night.  Xray Eyeballs makes for solid and attention-grabbing coed garage pop, but Pepper Rabbit ladies of Zambrisounded too much like a band the chillest member of the frat would listen to.  Grooms was only a marginal improvement in that regard.  None of this is a strike against either band, but they would have both benefited from some sort of estrogen interlude, a stronger female presence that would have brought their masculine indie dreaminess into more impressive relief.  As it was, the middle of the bill dragged.

Eternal Summers brought the house back to life.  Maybe it was the female songstress?  Or maybe that’s too gendered a reading of the night?  In any case, the snap-to-attention was noticeable.  This QRO correspondent enjoyed the vintage indie pop gems so much that he made his way over to the merch table hoping to score some Eternal Summers vinyl, only to find the table unmanned.  How is a label-curated & sponsored showcase not going to make sure that there is someone available to sell their albums at any and all points throughout the night?  "Fail," as the kidz say on the interwebz.  But the inclusion of Eternal Summers on the bill was a total win, as with Surfer Blood, the fine purveyors of Floridian neu-Weezer (QRO live review) jams.  It seems like just yesterday that Kanine Records snatched up the young band after an auspicious CMJ debut (QRO recap) – and here they were, playing the elder statesmen of the bill, bringing it on home in style.
Xray Eyeballs


More photo galleries from Northside Day Two:

The Gypsy West showcase @ Trash Bar

The Yes Way

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Wounded Buffalo

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The Gypsy West

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Pepper Rabbit

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The Louisana Sun Kings

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Concert Reviews
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