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Northside Festival Days 1 and 2 - Gza, Olivia Tremor Control, Jens Lekman, Thermals

As music festivals go, none are more dear to me than Northside Festival, the annual gathering of local artists, musicians, and alternative honeys that takes place in North Williamsburg each summer. Combining substantial musical acts from around the world with a homegrown, neighborhood vibe, Northside truly is SXSW in Brooklyn, minus the massive corporate assault and celebrity sightings. Big Ass Lens has been up in the Northside scene since its founding, and each year we have somehow managed to renew our press passes, drink mad free Heinekens, and party like we are 5-10 years younger than we actually are. We even had our own showcase last year. Ya’ll bitches go to that?

Rolling up to Northside headquarters Wednesday evening packing camera goods and blunts, we proceeded to take advantage of the free Heineken happy hour that may very well be the highlight of this yearly event. I gotta give the Heineken brand mad props for not only being a founding sponsor of the festival, but continually hooking it up with unlimited free brew each year. Heineken is by no means by favorite beer, but free makes everything taste better.

In addition to Heineken, your boy John Jameson is also onboard for this year’s event, converting Good Co. on 10 Hope Street into a fully branded Jameson speakeasy with unlimited hard alcohol beverages. Dubbed the “Jameson Black Barrel Lounge”, it truly is your one stop shop for music, drinks, and food – all gratis and on the house. Dropping in yesterday, we were thrilled to see that the legendary Olivia Tremor Control would be playing an intimate acoustic set fueled by free Heinekens and chicken fingers. So we stopped in, got super blazed, ate some goat cheese bruschetta, and took a bunch of snaps and vids, which you can see below. 

Also my man Mike McKeever from the band Life Size Maps opened up with a solo acoustic set. 

Just before that we had popped into McCarren Park to peep Thermals, who are from Portland, and my main bro Jens Lekman, who was supposed to play an electric set backed by a full band, who ended up being denied visas because they are from Sweden. Another loss for Sweden, another win for USA. Lekman is from Gothamburg, much like my boy Jose Gonzales, dude from Junip, who we interviewed a while back. More importantly, let me take this opportunity to bitch about this so-called “VIP Area” in the McCarren Park venue that was separate from the lowly GA area. We rolled up expecting a VIP experience, or at least some free brew and maybe some crabcakes. What we got instead was regular priced $5 heineken, an inferior view of the stage, and one small ass tent to provide shade in the balls ass heat of the day. Next year, Gold Bond should sponsor the McCarren VIP area, because we could have used some for the balls sweat. 


Rewinding back a day earlier, let me point out what has so far been the highlight of this year’s festival – Gza playing Liquid Swords with a full live backing band. Gza literally destroyed this one, putting on a bomb show that was fortified by weed bombing…and essential vitamins and minerals.

Check out this bro who tattooed the lyrics of “Duel of the Iron Mic” on his back. Is this Mr. Don Rodriguez, from the Bronx?

Check out these bros having the god damn time of their lives.

More festival goodness coming your way tomorrow. Enjoy the pics and vids in the meantime. 

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