This weekend I had the opportunity to make it out to Brooklyn’s Northside Festival, specifically the event hosted by Effective Immediately PR at the Knitting Factory. It was a great day for a showcase, and the five bands featured—Vivid Dreams, Hey Anna, The Fantastic Plastics, Mayve, and The Landing—each brought their own excited vibe to the stage.
The crowd was small, but each set brought a new range of people, and I loved seeing the different fans come out to support their favorites (or friends, as it would seem).
Vivid Dreams started us off, and though it took some time to really get underway, they definitely had a strong sound. Nicholas Bush commanded the stage on vocals and guitar. I would have liked to have seen more of Vivid Dreams, and I think with a bigger crowd, there could be a really great energy from this NYC-based band.
Next up was Hey Anna, a quintet from Brooklyn featuring sisters Erin, Anna, and Katie Rauch-Sasseen. It was pretty clear that this was going to be one of the highlights of the showcase. As new people began filing in, there was definitely a surge of excitement. And I have to say, Hey Anna did not disappoint. The female presence on stage was brilliant and inspiring, offering a unique sound and look to the pop rock scene. Each song had a little something extra to it, and drummer Matthew Langner was phenomenal. The entire set made me all the more excited for their upcoming debut release, Run Koko, in July.
Splitting up the afternoon was The Fantastic Plastics, an eclectic duo that at first glance I did not what to make of. As they prepped the stage, decked out in space and psychedelic wear, fiddling with different musical contraptions, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Then they proceeded backstage and were introduced in what was clearly a style all their own. The two made a grand entrance with their blinking, light-up glasses, wild hair, and a burst of musical energy.
The crowd had expanded once again, and now moved closer to the stage, absorbing and reverberating what The Fantastic Plastics were giving off. It was a pleasant surprise, and nice to see a following for this unique band. Of their songs, “Obsolete” was fun, and I strangely enjoyed the Twilight Zone-esque intro to “Overtime!.”
Of all the bands, however, I think Mayve had to be my favorite. A simple trio from Long Island, their indie pop sound was familiar and refreshing. I had heard them before, and even since listening to them after the fact, I actually enjoy them more live. On recordings they sound a little more generic, fitting into the category of bands like Magic Man and Walk the Moon. But live, Mayve was a whole different story. Each member carried his own, but it was frontman Nick Micheline that really stole the show for me. Especially when he brought out an extra drum and incorporated playing while also singing and upholding the guitar, I had to be impressed. It was also a fun touch when he and fellow guitarist, Michael Gusman, beat down simultaneously on the drum during one song. It was at this point that I was ready to demand more people pack the venue—Mayve is one of those bands who deserve a large, heart-pounding, feet-jumping crowd. I can only hope their popularity continues to grow.
The show closed out with The Landing and his five-person backup band. Again, The Landing brought a new sound and a new experience to the Knitting Factory stage. With three backup singers and several outlets for an electro synth sound, The Landing offered a subtler and rather haunting otherworldly presence, as compared to The Fantastic Plastics’ more techno take on the space-pop sound. Of all the bands there, The Landing was the most captivating, his voice practically hypnotic. His vocal range was also quite impressive, especially for a live performance. One of my favorite aspects of the set, however, was the incorporation of clapping to the beat in a couple songs. I always think this brings the music to life, and provides the perfect opportunity for crowd participation. The Landing even had us singing along with him at one point.
It was an eventful afternoon and a great way to be exposed to new music. If you haven’t heard of these bands, definitely head over to Spotify for a listen, and keep an eye out for their upcoming releases.