Back in January, when venerable Brooklyn DIY venue 285 Kent closed shop, the New York Times said "this was likely to be the end of one way of doing things." Sure — maybe in Williamsburg. Definitely not in Bushwick.
The do-it-yourself music culture that is so prided (and mocked) in North Brooklyn circa 2014 has other local purveyors, one of which was showcased earlier this month in Bushwick at 1.21 Gigawatts Festival. (It bears mentioning that the author ended up at an another DIY show in a backyard later on one night after a day spent at this festival. This young, gritty rock scene reminiscent of an earlier time is a subculture — but it's a thriving one with innumerable curators in this, and other, cities.)
The second annual festival celebrates 1.21 Gigawatts, a zine-and-show-booking outfit created by Danny Krug in 2012, and embodies much of what the up-and-coming punk rock scene has morphed into within New York's latest artist-filled, industrial and "fairly" inexpensive hotspot. For this four-day, three venue event, Krug put together an impressive, 60-band lineup that highlighted some of the best of this ever-thriving scene.
It's the sort of music festival that may not feel like a festival, but one where music reigns supreme. Along those lines: some of the best sets we saw were in the small room of an uninhabited loft nicknamed Hot 97. It's also the sort of music festival where you won't have heard of any of the artists (unless you live within the confines of this thriving subculture). Below are some of our favorites from the weekend.
Frankie Cosmos The alter ego of 19-year old lo-fi bedroom pop singer Greta Kline is one step beyond the confines of 1.21 Gigawatts. They've received accolades from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and Vogue on just the support of Kline's faint, haunting voice and light instrumental assistance from her band (drummer Aaron Maine and bassist/keyboardist David Maine). On Friday night, the three-piece drew a large crowd for her intimate set best described as a lovely ode to confessional melodic pop. Although her soft aesthetic would have been better enjoyed by a group of attentive listeners than the festival crowd at Radio Bushwick. Honduras The prevailing aesthetic of 1.21 Gigawatts came through loud and clear Saturday night in Hot 97's small, smoky and crowded room for fellow Brooklynites Honduras (pictured above). The punk rockers take a page from Britrock with their high energy and catchy garage cuts. Lead singer Pat Phillips and his band tore through a quick set within close quarters and the tightly packed crowd moshed along. If recent slots opening for Kaiser Chiefs and Drowners are any indication, this may have been one of their last in a DIY setting.
The Due Dilligence Earlier that day in the same room, we were impressed by '60s rock-influenced act The Due Diligence. Also locally-based, lead singer Isaac Gillespie sure understands how to work a crowd. Ahead of a new album ("Are You Down," out 8/5), the group showcased songs like "Cool" which could easily be mistaken for a track from our parents' classic rock records. The set ended with the spirited Gillespie handing his guitar off to a musician friend in the crowd to take over before leaving the room in a way that surely felt cool, if not a bit confusing.