This weekend Downtown Music Festival in New York City showcases a new crop of street-savvy artists befitting the downtown moniker. Neighboring venues in the Lower East Side make it easy to bounce from show to show, 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. While these artists have yet to be courted by Mountain Dew, they come with full downtown credentials.
With a name inspired by Blanket Jackson, Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt is street credible to the level of sewers. Videos have the feel of Old Dirty Bastard as a Gummo character. Test him and he may ollie right up on you. Like the rest of the Odd Future family, Earl is a young beast on a skateboard infecting the crowd with a silly blend of humor, decrepit gore and violence and adolescent machismo. His show will be a (lowlife) highlight of DT:NYC.
When Ratking played an in-store performance last fall, frontman Wiki was all New York street kid, missing front teeth in a ragged, dirty T-shirt, dogfighting with the microphone. His energy was massive and his spitfire flow delivered what the crowd expected — a raw, exposed street kid on the verge of disaster, if not already swimming in it. With heady lyrics coming out of a body that looks about 15, Wiki and the rest of Ratking are the future, through an Armageddon lens.
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The band Trash Talk is skate punk thrash in the vein of Black Flag and Bad Brains. Sweat and bass and pounding riffs with a crowd that brawl-moshes through their set and stays hungry for more Trash. From backyard parties in Los Angeles the boys bring their brand of street grime under palm trees to Gotham.
Like posh street wear, Kilo Kish manages to be fashion friendly and street credible all at once. See Metro's Kilo Kish: Downtown pretty.
Sky Ferreira has a lot of pop in her sound but there’s a serious element of concrete jungle in her eyes while she melodically laments a broken heart. Maybe it’s the black lace and bleach job but there’s something lowbrow about her glazed-over, jaded expression that screams street savvy. With sticky hooks and a tight band she plays DT on Friday night.
Visit thedowntownfestival.com for tickets and schedule