2018 Northside Festival Highlights

Brooklyn’s Northside Festival, celebrating its tenth anniversary, kicked off its music portion Thursday, June 7th. Running through Sunday the 10th, Northside boasts over 300 artists playing in more than 30 venues across the borough. I had the pleasure of attending two great shows. 

On Thursday the 7th, Snail Mail played a sold out record release show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Lindsay Jordan’s debut full-length record, Lush, out on Matador, was released on June 8th. Each and every song on Lush masterfully showcases Jordan’s creative mind, mixing dexterous guitar work and emotionally honest and upfront lyrics. Jordan was all smiles as she and her backing band played some crowd favorites from her 2016 EP, Habit, in addition to the new songs from Lush. Peppered in was a delightful cover of Coldplay’s “Speed of Sound” which beforehand Jordan joked, “We wrote this song, thanks.” 

Corridor and Lionlimb were also on the bill that evening as openers. Montreal-based band, Corridor, set the night off playing a multitude of songs from their second album, Supermercado. With jangly guitars and some mild head-banging, they got the crowd moving and ready for what was to come. Lionlimb was next, offering up their psych-pop melodies. 

Saturday the 9th brought the diverse Pitchfork Rising Showcase to the Music Hall of Williamsburg. I was able to catch Empath, Madison McFerrin, and Half Waif. Empath kicked the night off with its synth-fueled rush of noise rock. The four-piece band hailing from Philly played songs from their latest EP, Liberating Guilt and Fear, complete with the bird chirping sounds. 

Madison McFerrin hit the stage next with a set that was a true testimony to the raw beauty and versatility of the human voice. McFerrin performed entirely a capella using only her voice and a looping pedal. She captivated with the prowess of her voice, playing a range of songs from a cover of Britney Spear’s “Toxic” to her own acclaimed single, “Insane." In between songs, McFerrin called upon audience members to love themselves and say hello to their neighbor. 

Nandi Rose Plunkett’s Half Waif came out around 11 PM, filling the room with its layered electronic soundscape. Swells of synths blended beautifully together with Plunkett’s complex vocals. Half Waif’s latest album, Lavendar, was released in April of this year to critical acclaim. 

By Kayla Smith

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