Sure, this Northside coverage is a little late, but better late than never, right? Over the next few days I’ll be chronicling my adventures through Williamsburg at Northside (plus another show) and dishing on all the great music I saw.
After spending about a half-hour in the Lincoln Tunnel on a MegaBus, I arrived in Manhattan and was promptly whisked away to Brooklyn with Anna and Marc where we prepped for Day 1 of Northside, which had Atlas Sound‘s performance as the centerpiece. We went and picked up our badges near McCarren Park and our weekend was commenced.
We went right to St. Cecilia’s Roman Catholic Church where we missed Lichens, but settled into pews about halfway back in the church for White Rainbow. St. Cecilia’s was one of the most beautiful churches I had ever been in, and I was stoked to hear Atlas Sound’s jams permeate that environment. I’d seen White Rainbow in August 2009 as an opener for the Dan Deacon–Deerhunter–No Age round robin in Brooklyn, but didn’t really remember much. The tracks weren’t exactly made for the environment, as I wanted to dance and I’m sure many other people wanted to too, but we were in a church…so it just didn’t feel right. But still, White Rainbow’s jams were super sweet and definitely got me pumped for the weekend that was about to happen.
After White Rainbow finished up, Bradford Cox took to the sanctuary a little before the scheduled 9:15 start time. He immediately launched into a Bedroom Databank track that seemed to last for 20 minutes and really, really brought the mood down. It was eerie how depressed the venue felt, as if an immense sadness had taken over the venue. But Cox slowly went into “Walkabout,” probably his best-known Atlas Sound song due to its Dovers sample and contributions from Noah Lennox. I generally see that song as one of the happiest I’ve ever known, but Cox laid down just a spartan and sad version that was just so beautiful. It was one of the coolest musical moments for me in a long time.
From “Walkabout,” Cox went into “Shelia,” playing two of the best songs from Atlas Sound’s Logos back-to-back. “Shelia” was the first upbeat song in the Atlas Sound set, and Cox kept the momentum from there, playing a variety of new songs. He apologized for not knowing more old songs, but the new songs he played kept with the Atlas Sound aesthetic perfectly, including one titled “Terra Incognita.” Whatever he puts out next, whether it be an official release or something else through the Deerhunter blog, it will be epic.
“Walkabout” and “Shelia”:
The three of us composed ourselves after leaving St. Cecilia’s and headed over to the Hozac Records showcase at Shea Stadium, where we caught My Teenage Stride and Xray Eyeballs. My Teenage Stride kept apologizing for playing what they thought was a bad set, but it was enjoyable nonetheless, a great recommendation from my friend Adam. Xray Eyeballs played some more high energy tracks as well, bringing me back into the DIY/lo-fi mindset that I hadn’t had the chance to experience in a while.
The first day of Northside was long and tiring, but it set the stage for what was one of the coolest weekends of music for me ever. More to come from Day 2 tomorrow.