Having seen Josh Ritter twice already this year, I was aware that he’s been giving a lot of time on stage to honing new songs. The new material is fascinating and it is a treat to see him perform songs like the enthusiastic “Henrietta” alongside crowd favorites like “Kathleen” and “Joy to You Baby”. However, unlike the most recent time when I saw him perform with Zachariah Hickman, Ritter went solo for this set, on par with headliner Damien Rice. Unfortunately, this resulted in Ritter being drowned out by the collective audience chatter.
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The Northside Festival has tons to offer, and is perhaps the biggest series of shows outside of CMJ in New York. The weekend after Governors Ball, this series is more like CMJ than a getaway, as the festival has shows across tons of venues. While the entire festival encompasses music, film, and tech, we were only able to attend some of the music nights, notably the second (Friday the 12th) and the last (Sunday the 14th).
The rain on Sunday night might have been a surprise but it was not a deterrent to the throng of fans attending the final headlining set of the 2015 Northside Festival from Run the Jewels. El-P and Killer Mike (with one arm in a sling) were devastating together and even more so when Nas made a special appearance. Friday night had a headlining set from Neko Case, but I wanted to catch Malawian group the Very Best along with Heems at another one of the multitude of showcases. The Very Best are supporting their new album Makes a King while earlier in the day Dutch artist Jacco Gardner was performing tracks from his new album, Hypnophobia. Following Gardner and Irie Maffia, former Das Racist, Heems took the stage solo, save for a portable music device providing beats, spitting out rhymes from his album Eat Pray Thug. I, like some others in the audience, were confused by the guitar he occasionally strapped on and “played” but it didn’t appear plugged in so… ? Check out photos from these sets below.
On Tuesday June 16th, eager animation fans who wanted to see the latest film from Disney Pixar Inside Out had the opportunity to see the film early via a “special event” screening from Fathom Events. Fathom Events often screen opera or theater productions on the silver screen but this was a notable screening as it was the first time I was aware of them working with a major popular animated film. The Inside Out screening featured “exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from Pixar Animation Studios and a Q&A with director Pete Docter, producer Jonas Rivera and the voice of Joy, Amy Poehler.” Essentially, these were unique offerings that might be expected to be on a DVD release but were prepared ahead of time to give the audience reason to shell out for higher priced tickets.
Celebrate Brooklyn! is one of the most popular summer series in New York City and the 2015 season kicked off on a nice evening with a gala for all the beneficiaries and a musical performance from the legendary Chaka Khan.
As the Amsterdam News reported, “What seemed like a never-ending line last night stretched from the Prospect Park Bandshell entrance to around the corner and down Prospect Park SW. Thousands of people waited hours for Chaka Khan as she kicked off “Celebrate Brooklyn!” Performing Arts Festival on June 3. “The Queen of Funk” stepped on stage in all-black attire with big hair and an even bigger voice. She performed top hits including “I’m Every Woman,” “Tell Me Something Good,” and “Ain’t Nobody,” among other chart toppers.”
On any given night in New York City, there are a multitude of free ways to entertain yourself or get inebriated and still have hours left in the evening. On June 4th, I did just that bringing along my camera to capture the events.