Saturday afternoon brought the first daytime shows of Northside Festival, and Battering Room had put together a show for the local Brooklyn scene. Highlights included...
Having been a huge fan of Pet Ghost Project for years, I was instantly a fan upon hearing Passenger Peru, the new project of Justin Stivers and Justin Gonzales. The band released their first demos last year, and have begun making their impression on the Brooklyn live scene with a slew of shows over the past few months. This was my first chance to catch the duo live and it's safe to say I was more than impressed. The band, with Stivers on bass and Gonzales on guitar and both handling vocal duties, played with a drum machine instead of a live drummer. This raised a few red flags for me, as I truly don't like the idea of drummer-less rock bands, but surprisingly enough, the band were exceptional regardless. Playing an experimental sort of indie pop, the guitar tones often reminded me of Sonic Youth as the band played dreamy songs that lashed out with noisy scrapes of guitar, only to fall back into the peaceful tranquility moments later. Fully locked in, their set was spectacular, offering up a wide range of sound and an undeniable tightness that needs to be experienced in a live setting. Passenger Peru were joined by Gold Street's T on drums for their last song, a monstrous instrumental of explosive psych, swirling like the eye of a tornado. I can't wait for their debut album this year, and hope to see them live again soon.
Magnetic Island, one of our favorite Brooklyn indie rock bands gave a stellar performance with plenty of shimmering guitar shredding. The band mix a blend of post-punk, space rock, surf, and 90s tinged indie for a warped sound heavy on guitars and synth led by Lisa Liu's gorgeous distorted tone and her expansive riffs. Liu and keyboardist SMV's harmonize together for a layered vocal effect that rests gently just above the caterwauling guitars and primal rhythms. Highlights included the restless "The Space," featuring a shouted megaphone verse from SMV, "The Thing Itself & Not The Myth," the booming "In Theory," "The Way," and anthemic closer "Don't Need it Now". Liu and Justin Gonzales (yup, he plays in both bands) chemistry together is great, balancing out texture with elastic shredding hurtling dazzling notes forward for our listening pleasure.