Our side of Northside Fest: Impose in conversation

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alternative looking people at silent barn

Katie sets the scene: As the Internet went conspicuously dormant in the office of our Internet publication, three of Impose’s weekend warriors compared notes (and battle scars) from their North Brooklyn show-going successes and failures at this June’s Northside Festival. Failure number one was everyone missing Thursday’s Ipsum Official Northside Showcase with Gringo Star, Slothrust, Mannequin Pussy, Flagland and Washer. I’d lie and say it was to conserve energy but honestly it was really a misplacement of it.

Zack: You mean displacement?

Katie: Oh yeah…you’re right. I’m not like an editor or anything…

Zack: Friday I went to the Unofficial Exploding in Sound Showcase at Silent Barn with Pile, New England Patriots, Dust From a 1000 Yrs, Bad History Month and Porches.. First off, highlight of the night was getting my face stroked by the lead singer of the New England Patriots.

Katie: What was the context?

Zack: First of all he had a polling booth with a fluorescent light inside that lit up all his pedals. After he went down, he would just go and lean over all the audience. He’s a pretty sweaty dude. I think it was the second to last song when he just came down and rubbed all over all of the people in the vicinity. I was one of the chosen ones.

Quinn: One of the lucky few.

Zack: Next up was Dust From 1000 Yrs. I could barely hear the lead singer the entire time. The drummer was going off, he was insane. One of my friends said he picked up drumsticks for the first time that day, just decided he was gonna be a really good drummer and then did. My other friend, who is a drummer, said it was painful to watch but sounded really good.

Katie: That’s really all that matters…kind of.

Zack: I’ve done that before. Just close your eyes.

Quinn: John Mayer’s facial expressions

Zack: mmmm…. well, after that was Pile and I consider it a success if only because I only got elbowed in the ribs once. Everyone was moshing to every song, regardless of how fast or slow it was. And then after that everyone exited the venue to go into the outside garden…that’s how hot it was.

Katie: Oh god, the humidity that night.

Zack: Yeah, the back window was dripping with condensation…not much ventilation.

Katie: Anything else noteworthy?

Zack: Everyone was clapping along to Bad History Month.

Quinn: Was it weird?

Zack: Instead of playing drums in “Staring at my Hands” he just had everyone clap along. It was good but it was just really goofy. Then Porches. came on after that and it was probably the least self-deprecating I’ve ever seen Aaron Maine.

Katie: That’s good, right? Like as progress as a human.

Zack: Yeah, I mean he should be confident. He is probably one of the best active songwriters right now. And they also debuted three new songs that were super 80s.

Katie: I saw those at Shea a few weeks ago and they were fucking great. I didn’t think they were that 80s though…just like, great pop. Like experimental pop makes the most sense when describing their songwriting style.

Zack: Oh I don’t know, it sounded just straight 80s to me.

Katie: We should talk about the Impose Show at Rough Trade too.

Quinn: Having a show at Rough Trade was really cool. The space was really nice, and huge. And it was a nice change of pace to be able to go out and look at records in between sets.

Katie: Did you catch Amanda X? I didn’t make it from the office in time.

Quinn: I did. They played several new songs from their upcoming album. Kat Bean has a really powerful voice. I couldn’t look away from her. And I really enjoyed their stage banter with Dayna (a fellow Philly girl) who was in the audience.There was this weird guy in the audience who kept coming up to all the females but also all the female Impose and Gothamist writers. He came up to me during the Tweens set and asked me a question but they were playing too loud for me to hear him. But the question turned out to be like, “Do you think what Tweens is singing about is at all relevant?”

Katie: Like to the female experience?

(Amanda X at Rough Trade)

Quinn: No, like just in general…but I didn’t know what to say.

Katie: As with most questions from creepy dudes.

Quinn: My boyfriend and Derek (unintentionally) stepped in.

Derek (interjects): Tell me if I’m wrong, but he didn’t seem that like, sexually creepy?

Quinn: No, no. Just overly friendly and dancing…really hard.

Katie: I got there just in time for Tweens' first song I think. They are fucking great. I seriously love them. I saw them a month or so ago at Death by Audio and they killed. They killed again at Rough Trade. This time the lead singer had a new hair color and sweet new baby blue (I think custom) Telecaster that I wanted to talk to her about after the set but didn’t…I never know if that’s a cool move or super lame move…so I just yeah..didn’t.

Quinn: Tweens is a band that everyone around me has been talking about since their album came out but I had never given it the time. But I saw their set and became a Tweens fan girl.

Derek: And it almost made her want to go to Cincinnati.

Quinn: Almost. Oh, and my friend Ray from Perfect Pussy stopped by before his show at St. Vitus, their second of the day. They toured with Tweens last year. And then Marnie Stern went on…

Derek: I didn’t think her live set would be the same as her full act just with a backing track…

Quinn: Oh, so there was a backing track.

Katie: Yeah, yeah. There was a guy on the side just hitting stop and play on the track. I think that was what she meant when she said she would have separated the tracks but forget to ask the studio for the stems.

Quinn: Ohhhh….

Katie: I think we all agree she seemed kind of nervous. Maybe it was the way she delivered the vagina so rapidly and unsure of the punchline.

Zack: It’s all about the delivery. Especially with vagina jokes.

Katie: Yup. But watching her technique on guitar is like mind-fucking-blowing. You can kind of tell that she just would fuck around and make weird (guitar) sounds in her bedroom. I don’t know, maybe I was projecting onto her but I saw her kind of escape into her own quirky world when she was in the middle of a song.

Quinn: I left the show before the end of Marnie’s set. Derek gave my boyfriend and I VIP passes to the Jameson lounge, where we proceeded to drink a lot of free Jameson mix drinks and watch the Rangers lose the Stanley Cup or I don’t know what, but everyone looked sad. Those Old Maids hit you like an hour after you drink them, as Katie and I found out on Saturday…

Katie: Wow I should have gone with you guys Friday too. I ended up going to my friends place called The Bohemian Grove. Mumblr came up from Philly to play a set there but of course, I missed Mumblr on failed search for cheap booze in Williamsburg and ended up with a plastic bottle of Old English.

Quinn: On Saturday, I arrived towards the end of Thee Oh Sees show at McCarren Park and swiftly began my day of drinking thanks to the free beer courtesy of Jameson. Thanks Jameson.

Katie: After this weekend, my relationship with Jameson as a brand has become pretty complicated.

Quinn: Yeah I have two (illegally obtained) full bottles of Jameson in my freezer that I’m afraid to look at.

Katie: Their time will come.

(Thee Oh Sees' John Dwyer)

Quinn: But yeah, Thee Oh Sees were good. Then I headed down to the Impose photo show. They were tearing up the fake grass they had laid on Bedford Ave, which was a very strange sight.

Katie: Wow, why did they even put it down?

Quinn: At the Impose Photo Show, it was really nice to meet some of our photographers and see some of their work.

Katie: Was it work outside of music photography? Is it bad that I am asking questions about the premise of our photo show?

Quinn: No it’s not. And no, it’s like 10 of our photographers displaying, like, three of their best concert photos from their work at Impose. And the free drinks there were yummy too.

Katie: Our photographers seriously produce some of the best music photojournalism I've seen. No plug intended.

Quinn: After that I headed over to 50 Kent {formerly Williamsburg Waterfront} for the Ratking+Beirut show. It was a strange line-up, obviously, but apparently Beirut curated. Or at least according to Ratking, Beirut curated it. The opener, Gambian Kora player Malang Jobarteh, was great. I spent the time before Ratking’s set watching my boyfriend skate in the VIP area with Eric (Sporting Life), Hak and their crew.

(Hak skating it out. Photo by Quinn Moreland)

After seeing Ratking at Governor’s Ball last weekend (that was last weekend? wow) it was weird to see them open for a band like Beirut. There were a lot of families and babes, but actual toddlers, in the audience. There were so many baby headphones…like protective headphones. It was very strange. Before they played “Canal”, Hak was very hard on the audience, asking them how many of them were actually from Manhattan and how many of them have actually been to Canal Street.

Katie: How can you not have been to Canal Street, even if you were only here for a Broadway Show or some shit?

(Wiki on the mic)

Quinn: Yeah, I hung out with them in the tent after their set because it suddenly got freezing and definitely took advantage of their free beer and MORE Jameson so I didn’t really SEE Beirut play but it sounded underwhelming. Oh, and the general consensus about Beirut, at least from those who I talked to, was that none of us had listened to them since high school. My boyfriend and I ended up going to the Jameson Lounge then with Sporting Life and his girlfriend.

Katie: Ha, that’s when I ran into you guys. I went there expecting to be well fed before Ipsum’s Unofficial “Secret Guest” riddled Sweatfest and ended up getting way to well…well, drunk. Those were heavy free pours and small little plates of delicious fried things with bourbon cream sauce.

Quinn: I had so many french fries…

Katie: They distract you with ice cream and sweet, sweet elderflower+Jameson+lemonade. Maybe they call it Old Maid because you puts you out of commission so early in the night.

Quinn: Yeah after that, I had a really hard time dragging my boyfriend back to Manhattan. We wanted to go to a Princess Nokia show but just couldn’t function.

Katie: Yeah I couldn’t bike myself to Sweat Fest and missed the epic house show with/big reveal of “Pig Ops” (Big Ups), “Cargo Pants” (Gymshorts), “High Strung Eating Tacos” (Low Fat Getting High) and “Bannerarea” (Flagland), so just walked my bike like 20 minutes…the alternate walk of shame.

Quinn: I didn’t make it out to any shows on Sunday either. I wanted to go to the Exploding in Sound showcase with you but I ended up going to the Natural History Museum with my mom instead.

Katie: Happy Father’s Day to her! And my Dad, who I successfully celebrated on the social media he doesn’t use only to fail on calling him until like 10:30…because I was “working.” In other words, I was at Baby’s All Right for a daylong sound explosion that made up for like 6 months of missed shows.

I woefully missed Ovlov’s set by the exact length of their set and got in for Bueno’s set, which was totally enjoyable but I was feeling very faint from mostly trying to do too many things for too many days in a row. So I missed Mattress Financial in a misguided search for cheap food but got back in time for Leapling’s totally awesome set. That set fell in a special 24-hour window between first listen and first sight. I would say it sounded more amazing with the sight but it’s just a great transition between recorded sound+setting and live sound+setting. Celestial Shore, on the other had, is just way fucking better live. LIKE WOAH, dude. Technically out of this world (sorry…puns) but the best part was watching Sam Owens blend totally out of control and perfectly reigned in guitar technique. I am going to the next Celestial Shore show for sure.

(Celestial Shore at Baby's All Right…on another night)

Honestly, I was a shell of a person when I showed up for the showcase but I toughed it out because it’s Exploding In Sound, duh! Flagland’s Kerry Kallberg rocked his “imagine yourself naked on stage” thing with no imagination required and cracked some well-played Dad jokes at the end of a solid set. I actually saw a dad running around backstage as I went from room-to-room too tired to talk to anyone. All I can say about Baked and Heliotropes is that they were real good. I wish I had had more energy to really take in the what/when/whys but I am notorious for dealing with exhaustion poorly.

Philly’s Creepoid kind of jerked me out of a daze just by their seeming misplacement (displacement?) on the bill. They had a dark metal vibe (like bizarre guitars and dude in girls jeans with scenester come Myspace hair) competing with (who I imagine as) a reformed emo goth that picked up a Fender and affinity for angular guitar. Also the sound guy was being a dick to them, turning the set up music off to hurry them up and I could tell that made them feel super (not) welcome. I think I wanted to see how they would react and they played well. They were good, okay. They were good. And so, obviously, was Krill. I especially liked their new songs, with lyrics about the difficulties deciphering what is your pure perspective and what is the “brain problem” clouding your true perspective. I identify, heavily.

I stuck it out—literally the soles of my busted Keds stuck to the floor of BBs beer-soaked floor like fly paper—for Guerrilla Toss. There was a reward at the end of the tunnel in the shape of a FULL ON circle pit. Everyone else was definitely lagging and just, that venue, seeing a circle pit there one song in was seriously impressive, let alone one that ended with the guitarist’s pants 3/4 off, ass full out and guitar still being played. Even when the song ended, there was no haste in his effort to replace his pants. After that, lacking the physical wherewithal to hang in a circle pit with my feet glued to the floor, I packed it up and biked home to call it a festival weekend.

For more of the Northside experience, check out some amazing shots from the CHVRCHES show none of us went to (or even mentioned) here.