Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Evening in Williamsburg: Northside Festival presents Of Montreal, Jens Lekman, The Thermals and Beach Fossils at McCarren Park

This evening we had a terrific time in McCarren Park, having been lucky enough to win free tickets to the Northside Festival show featuring an incredibly diverse group of talented musicians: of Montreal, Jens Lekman, The Thermals and Beach Fossils (who we last saw in October). We feel dopey about saying anything about the music since we don't have the vocabulary or critical sense to write intelligently. (Our excuse is that we are 61 years old.) For us, it was fun to be inside at a Northside show at the park rather than watching from the sidelines, as we did last year for Beirut and Guided by Voices. We went for free, but anyone who got there at 5 p.m. and stayed until the profoundly exhilarating end of the night more than got their money's worth. Here's intelligent commentary in Rolling Stone by the fine music critic Stacey Anderson, who begins her review:
The performers of the biggest show of the Northside Festival – a multi-venue independent rock sprawl in fashionable Williamsburg, Brooklyn – were an unlikely mix. The flamboyant freak-folk rockers Of Montreal, the winsomely deadpan singer-songwriter Jens Lekman, and the bracing yet introspective punks the Thermals played the main stage at McCarren Park in fractured but happy succession, united in their enthusiastic stage presence and little else. After openers Beach Fossils, who spun their woozy pop for a tepid 5 p.m. crowd of tumbleweeds and visibly hung-over hipsters, the Thermals roused the slowly gathering masses with a taut, kinetic set.
(Video of of Montreal courtesy Fairytale of Hurt) And Anderson concludes her review (please read the whole thing):
[of Montreal]’s range was well represented, especially in the set closer "The Past Is a Grotesque Animal," off their mercurial 2007 breakthrough Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? The near 12-minute song was meted out exhaustively, with no wildly clad dancers in sight; the spectacle was contained, and completely satisfying, in the chilling prog-rock jamming and nearly unbearable tension of the epic track, an exceptional high-wire act of musicianship and a suitable conclusion for the good-natured yet highly unusual night in Brooklyn.
(Photo by Alex Reside for

We are very, very grateful we could be there. Thanks to the Northside Festival for making us a winner.

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