D.I.Y. Bushwick Music Festival, Day 4: Bartholomew, The Last Nights, Consider the Source, Not Blood Paint, and More

My final night at the Bushwick Music Festival began at the Opera House, where Fuck Yeah Yankee Bang Bang played fun, poppy rock, featuring Sita Asar and Glenn Baughman harmonizing on vocals and Sean Spada on keys.

Bartholomew performed next, a moody blend of folk, country, and rock.  Bill Bartholomew’s soulful vocals intertwined with Dave Klym’s melodic guitar solos created a catchy, distinct sound.  The band’s often simple but dynamic melodies, strong energy and solid rhythm made for a personal, engaging set, especially captivating toward the end with songs “Walk On By” and “One Big Wheel.”

The Louisiana Sun Kings played at 9:30, a metal band with a petite female singer, Noelle Tannen. They had quick tempos and flashy riffs, but it was Tannen’s energy – dancing, twirling, rolling on the floor, singing into the audience – that charmed the crowd.

I then went to Eastern District and caught the end of Food Will Win the War.  Despite their seven-member lineup of two guitars, two keyboards, violin, bass and drums, they had a mellow, acoustic sound.  The Last Nights played next, a trio comprised of a two-octave Korg controller and laptop, cello and guitar.  Several of their songs had danceable electronic drum beats, and others were more minimal. The cello’s bass line sometimes provided the beat, often underneath haunting minor-key melodies.

I arrived House of Yes around midnight, during a flashy drum solo by Justin Ahiyon of Consider the Source.  A progressive instrumental jam band consisting of a double-neck fretless guitar, drums and bass, they had unusual time signatures, flashy riffs and tight chemistry.

I hustled to Bushwick Music Studios to catch a theatrical set by Not Blood, Paint. With skin covered in black handprints and all four band members wearing fur coats and shorts, they gave a cinematic, captivating performance that had the packed audience dancing, singing and howling wildly along to their dynamic, catchy songs.

The night ended around 4 a.m., with sets by U Say USA, a Dylan-inspired pop-rock band, and finally The Nuclears, a high-energy, Zeppelin-esque rock band.-Vivian Doskow

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D.I.Y. Bushwick Music Festival, Day 3: Guitars, Otis Grove, Lowry, Boom Box Repair Kit

The night started out calmly, with Guitars at the Opera House lofts.  Self described as minimalist country, they had slow but driving rhythms, simple melodies, harmonica and tambourine interludes.  The beat picked up with Photon Dynamo and the Shiny Pieces, an energetic rock trio with strong technique, attractive harmonies and jazz-inspired chords and rhythms.

I next went to Brooklyn Fire Proof to catch Otis Grove, a three-member instrumental jazz/funk/hip-hop jam band from Allston, Massachusetts. Having been together eight years, they played with a solid, captivating energy, soloing and improvising off each others’ themes, utterly absorbed in the music.  Sam Gilman’s riffs and chords on the Hammond organ created a distinct, 70’s sound that drove the music, while Tyler Drabick flaunted his skills on guitar and Blake Goedde showed his on drums.

Lowry, comprised of keyboards, two guitars, bass, banjo, drums, and tambourine, played next to an eager, dancing audience. Singers Alex Lowry and Heidi Sidelinker created lovely, folk melodies over simple chords and catchy beats.  Sidelinker’s voice was ethereal and haunting, especially in her banjo solos toward the end.

The last band to play at Brooklyn Fire Proof was Boom Box Repair Kit, a fun, fast-paced Latin influenced indie rock/reggae band with a wild, enthusiastic energy. Frank Pace led the songs with his fast-paced, pounding drums.  Most of the songs were in minor keys with saxophone and trumpet solos. Each member played an impressive solo during their last song, “Dancing with a Stranger,” marking the end of the evening.-Vivian Doskow

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Bushwick D.I.Y. Music Festival Kicks Off

Bushwick Music Studios launched its first annual Do-It-Yourself Music Festival yesterday evening.  With about 150 bands in nine different venues, the shows run March 24-27 and provide the artistic Brooklyn neighborhood a local alternative to the South by Southwest Festival in Austin.

“The nature of the neighborhood gave me the idea,” said Tito Ladd, who runs Bushwick Music Studios and organized the festival.  “It seemed inevitable.  It needed to happen.”

David E Beats and the White House Band played an energetic set at BMS at 9.  He blends hip-hop with rock and electronica, rapping and playing guitar over strong bass chords.  At 10, Jennings (Mary Jennings), a singer/songwriter/pianist with a powerful, expressive voice and simple piano melodies, performed at Eastern District art gallery.  Meanwhile, at Brooklyn Fire Proof, Bern and the Brights, a five-member band performed.  The singer, Bernadette Malavarca, had a wide-ranging, emotional voice that harmonized beautifully over the band’s catchy melodies.

Back at BMS, Shinobi Ninja played a fun, high-energy set, captivating the packed crowd with their combination of hip-hop, punk, soul, and other styles. The singers, Baby Girl and Dave Aaron, had a tight chemistry, leading the audience to sing along, stamp their feet, and jump and dance endlessly.  And the band’s guitarist, bassist, drummer and DJ showed off their chops as they launched into flashy solos. The colorfully-dressed band’s wild energy, fun rock beats and captivating grooves gave no signs that they had just driven 34 hours from Austin to play the festival.

Not Blood, Paint performed at Brooklyn Fire Proof at midnight.  Their songs were theatrical, carefully choreographed and cerebral, but with strong dynamics and tempo changes, they were also moody and dramatic. Laden with tight harmonies and strong guitar, their dramatic performances are not to be missed.

Stay tuned throughout the week for more updates!

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Fixers Collective

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Music Quiz

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Vivian Girls at the Market Hotel, November 6


You never know when you’ll be clinging onto the speakers in an effort to protect your equipment from a surprisingly violent mosh pit.

Vivian Girls from Vivian Doskow on Vimeo.

Who would think a band called Vivian Girls would draw such a mosh pit in the first place?

That said, The Bitters, The Grass Widows and the Vivian Girls played at the Market Hotel in Bushwick on Friday night. The venue is located on the corners of Myrtle Avenue and Broadway, a section of Bushwick under the train tracks and more dangerous than desolate.


The Market Hotel is a giant run-down loft. It packs quickly with 20-somethings and charges $10 at the door, even to bloggers. Abstract, unimpressive paintings hang on the walls. The stage looks homemade – the walls and ceiling around it are black, peeling paint. Just a curtain hangs to the back of it. It looks like many places in Bushwick – ratty, large, and utilitarian.

Maybe it was the equipment, or the sound guy or the acoustics, but the bands sounded terrible. The guitars were always too high with lots of static and reverb, the vocals indecipherable.

The first band that I saw (I accidentally showed up late) was The Bitters, a 4-piece from Toronto. Aerin Fogel, an attractive lady in a flowered dress, was the singer.



Grass Widow played next. They had just flown in from San Francisco.


Hannah Lew, Lillian Maring, and Raven Mahon of Grass Widow

Vivian Girls headlined.  They’re hard to describe because of the problems with the sound.  The wildly shoving crowd was crazy over them.


Kickball Katy of the Vivian Girls


Cassie Ramone, guitarist, Vivian Girls


Both of the final two bands were garage rock, pop-punk, loud. The ladies in each tossed their hair and flaunted their guitars, most of them wearing short skirts and tall boots. It led me to assume that their popularity was based more on looks and stage presence than musical ability. But again, overall sound was a problem.

I regained hearing by Sunday.

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After having serious intentions to go to The Last Masquerade, a giant Halloween party in Bushwick with a ton of bands, art, performance, and good decorations for Halloween…

John Phipps

The people there tried to charge $20, although I’m press, I stopped by my usual spot instead.  The crew at Bushwick Music Studios was much more welcoming, so I stayed.

John Phipps of BMS

The first band was The Accidents, with a grunge rock sound and a gory appearance. Ben Longwell sang and played guitar, with Ryan Barry on bass, Jason Shoulders on drums and guest Mike Fish on guitar.  Melodic guitar riffs intertwined with heavy vocals over dramatic drum beats as they played a combination of ballads and heavier rock songs.

BMS Halloween_Accidents1



Ben Longwell, The Accidents

Next up was Spokinn Movement, a hip hop group reflecting a variety of musical influences – jazz, reggae, rhythm and blues.  iLLspoKiNN was the Emcee, with Chris Cuzme on bass, Dave Cinquegrana on guitar and Yoni Halevy on drums.  Their unique improvisational style made their songs catchy and danceable.


As the bands played, people showed up at all hours and in all types of outfits.




BMSHalloween_Monsters and PBR

The crowd packed the studio when Not Blood, Paint came onstage.  Band members George Frye, Mark Jaynes, Seth Miller and Joe Stratton were as strong performers as they were musicians.  I was captivated, along with the rest of the audience.  The music was heady, often filled with chants and dissonant electronic effects, but the guitars always provided memorable melody lines.  Their carefully choreographed moves added to the performance art charm.  Check out the videos…


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U Say USA played last.  They are Steve Nelson singing, harmonica, and guitar, Leif Nelson on drums, Jake Strunk on bass, Ian Guilliam on guitar and backing vocals, and Bill Bartholomew as guest on synths.  They have a Dylan-influenced, psychedelic-punk sound.




Steve Nelson, U Say USA

Most people had left by 3, but some remained.


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A.G.A.S.T. Open Studios

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Ska, October 9

I went back to Bushwick Music Studios last Friday, where four ska bands played. Rather than do a formal writeup for this show, I was focusing on learning/experimenting with various video and sound equipment. All four bands were comprised of talented musicians, and there were DJs and singers between sets.  The enthusiastic crowd danced wildly throughout the night.

The Hard TimesThe Equilibrians played first to a large crowd of about 100. A Brooklyn-based band, they seemed to have endless energy.  Second was The Hard Times, based out of midtown, driven by solid keys and strong bass lines.

The Duppies – Suzie Q from Vivian Doskow on Vimeo.

The Duppies, currently on tour from Gainesville, Florida, were third.  The band consists of Brian Hiebel singing, Lisa Ricci on tenor sax, Cory Klein playing bass, Roger Cohen on drums, Matt Creswell – trumpet, Tony Farah playing guitar, Micah Shalom on trumpet, trombone, and flugal horn.  With frequent flashy yet melodic solos, especially on sax and trumpet, fast danceable ska beats, powerful vocals and a tight band chemistry, their music had the audience captivated.

Royal City Riot from Vivian Doskow on Vimeo.

Royal City Riot was the final band of the evening.  Sax and trumpet solos, strong songwriting and relentless energy made for catchy melodies, and of course, an excited, wildly-dancing crowd.

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