Colleen Green performs at Baby’s All Right during the Northside Festival. Photo by Chona Kasinger.
D∆WN and her recent collborator Kingdom’s show, originally scheduled for Market Hotel, was moved to Rough Trade, and while the record-store venue has exponentially less character than the newly legal DIY space, that didn’t keep D∆WN from tearing it down. The cuts from her Kingdom EP Infrared were well-received, but the crowd went absolutely batshit for “Wake Up,” from her upcoming LP Redemptionheart. At a late show at Baby’s All Right, Colleen Green, Childbirth, and Diet Cig proved that women with guitars playing the same old chords is just inherently more interesting than a bunch of dudes doing the same thing. It’s all about perspective.
Saturday evening, The Felice Brothers opened for Conor Oberst and Kacey Musgraves, then served as Oberst’s backing band. The weirdly grown-up looking Oberst played some old folk-leaning Bright Eyes songs as well as some new joints off his latest LP, Upside Down Mountain. The Felice Bros.-arrangement of “First Day of My Life” was particularly painful, however, as were Kacey Musgraves’ pro-gun tweets later in the night, after news of the massacre on Latin night at a gay club in Orlando, Florida.
Pitchfork’s noise-heavy showcase at Saint Vitus had one of the more interesting lineups all weekend, with sets billed from Rabit, Lotic, Marshstepper, Priests, Breadwoman, Dan Vassalotti, and Bichkraft. The show at the increasingly notorious Saint Vitus (which, despite a subpar soundsystem, awkward layout and isolated location, is proving to be one of the best-booked bars in New York), served to help to re-establish the publication’s legacy of promoting underexposed talent. It might have been a bit difficult to reconcile the fact that the newly Condé Nast-owned property was hosting Breadwoman and Marshstepper, two little-known acts that are as much performance art as anything else. But by the show’s end there was little reason to feel anything other than appreciation for the brand and the fact they gave this art a platform — the show was that good.
The Breadwoman performance, a collaboration between producer Steve Moshier and performance artist Anna Homler, played out as a chilled-out noise-scape to soundtrack to the titular, bread-adorned dancer, who at one point gave birth to a sourdough round. Marshstepper, on the other hand, was a trip to hell. Frontman Nick Nappa paraded two chained and masked women to the stage, where they sat silent and still as he trounced around, swallowing the microphone and slapping the aforementioned chain against some homemade noise box. It was a lot of fun, and when paired with DC punks Priests, and the less abrasive closing acts of Rabit and Lotic, made a case for the essential qualities of the live show, and Northside Festival in general.
We didn’t catch the 33 1/3 Book Series event, which saw Frankie Cosmos perform songs from Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville, Ava Luna perform songs from Serge Gainsbourg’s Histoire de Melody Nelson, and Deradoorian perform songs from Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality at Rough Trade, but it might have been interesting, and they certainly score points for precociousness. Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds was about as sad as you can imagine. An old man being pushed out onstage at the behest of people who stand to gain financially from such a spectacle, it was a bittersweet coda to a weekend of otherwise pleasant experiences.