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Photograph: Courtesy the artist Girlpool

The best concerts to see at Northside Festival

Here are the shows you don’t want to miss at this year’s Northside Festival from Dirty Projectors to Jay Som

By Andrew Frisicano

In its ninth year, Northside Festival has emerged as one of the city’s most exciting showcases for local and national talent. Taking on a multipronged approach, the fest takes over Williamsburg and the surrounding areas to present a combination of indoor gigs and big outdoor concerts, as well as talks, block parties and a new series on political journalism from June 7 to 11. A music badge sets you back $85, and individual tickets are also available (some shows are free too). Here are the relevant summer concerts you shouldn’t miss.

RECOMMENDED: See the full guide to Northside Festival

Best concerts to see at Northside Festival

Photograph: Courtesy Mahdumita Nandi

1. Jlin


Way back in the early 2010s, producer Jerrilynn Patton’s manic tempos and unconventional sonic palettes were a high mark for the Chicago-born sound called footwork. Check out her cutting-edge beats upstairs at Brooklyn Bazaar, Greenpoint’s newish shopping-eating-partying destination

2. Miguel + BJ the Chicago Kid + Saro


As a big-time style-sampler, R&B crooner Miguel delved into numerous cross-genre dabblings throughout his first couple albums, making the tunes part Latin-tinged hip-hop and part classic soul. On the newly released Wildheart though, he focuses in on his funk inspirations—Prince, Freddie Mercury, James Brown, etc.—for a run of sensually grooving new material. He'll be in performer mode while supporting the critically-acclaimed release at the spacious Terminal 5.

Dirty Projectors
Photograph: Virginia Rollison

3. Dirty Projectors + Kamasi Washington + Jay Som

Music Jazz

Dave Longstreth has spent the past few years writing hooks and harmonies for Kanye West and Solange in Los Angeles while also working on the just-released album Dirty Projectors, an avant-pop solo affair filled with polyrhythmics, jarring turns and heartbroken lyrics. This gig is one of his only shows this year, so expect something unique. He's joined by saxophonist and bandleader Washington, who reinvigorated contemporary jazz and garnered lots of mainstream critical attention with his ambitious 2015 debut, The Epic, and songwriter Melina Duterte, who delivers memorable moments of atmospheric bliss and cathartic release as Jay Som. (Read our recent interview with Jay Som.)

Photograph: Alice Baxley

4. Girlpool + Ian Sweet + Lexie

Music Rock and indie

As folk-punk duo Girlpool, high school friends Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker weave complex vocal interplay—unison shouts along with lilting harmonies—above spare guitar melodies. Performing now as a quartet, the band adds a fuller sound and the jolt of live percussion to the stark songs of its sophomore album, Powerplant.

Elysia Crampton
Photograph: Jillian Clark

5. Elysia Crampton + Moor Mother + Total Freedom


This boundary-pushing Northside gig features three artist-producers whose music defies classification. Experimental electronic musician Elysia Crampton’s magnificent and kaleidoscopic production collects far-ranging sonic iconography into dizzying collages that traverse histories of colonialism. Lo-fi "dark rap" artist Moor Mother of Philly label Don Giovanni shares a similar political impulse, addressing racial violence through a punk ethos, sonic chaos and noise instrumentation. Finally, partystarter Total Freedom amalgamates varied soundbites and samples from trap, UK grime, Kuduro and more into an experimental bass music menagerie.

best of 2016
Photograph: Courtesy Dylan Johnson

6. Thursday + PUP + The Hotelier + Jeff Rosenstock + Tony Molina

Music Rock and indie

Though lyrically far too convinced of the importance of being earnest, New Jersey's screamo poster boys, Thursday, have mastered the art of tricky time signatures and cathartic instrumental bloodletting. Here the group plays a free outdoor show with bands including The Hotelier and PUP. The latter's 2014 self-titled debut was a thoroughly brilliant punk romp that garnered its fair share of breathless praise—momentum that continues with the Toronto foursome’s barreling follow-up The Dream Is Over.


7. Big Thief

Music Rock and indie

On Big Thief’s second full-length release, Capacity, guitarist and vocalist Adrianne Lenker follows up her folk-rock band's critically acclaimed debut, Masterpiece, with a slow-burner that expertly distilled years of songwriting experience into a seamless but wide-ranging collection.

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