Brooklyn’s Northside Festival started Friday afternoon but here at Remezcla, we started pre-partying Thursday night with the NYC premiere of RemezcLAB. Bringing together brewing artists, entrepreneurs, musicians and supporters of the Latino culture scene, the evening had unlimited drinks provided by Chivas, the premiere of Wyclef Jean’s newly signed artist, the fresh-faced Jarina de Marco, Ecuadorian ambient beauty Helado Negro, Que Bajo, and supertwins Nina Sky. Not only was there a sense of community (check your too-cool-attitudes at the door) but when mi gente come to a Remezcla party, it means one thing: we’re all gonna get loose. By 10PM, with whiskey running through our veins, 200 sweaty bodies danced to Selena remixes and plotted their after-party moves.
Friday afternoon had the editorial team bouncing around Northside like exuberant bunnies. So to nurse our (slight) hangover from the epicness of RemezcLAB, we visited the Heineken tent for some ice-cold beers in the sun. Onto Brooklyn Bowl where the fearless Xenia Rubinos took the stage. Armed with her drummer Marco Bucelli, the duo’s chemistry bounced off the walls. Taking every unique beat, tempo, sound in their stride, Xenia’s approach to music is entirely unique. With a background in Improvisation at Berklee College of Music, once she completed her studies she ‘threw everything out the window’ in order to find her own sound. “I play around with melodies and when something surfaces, I respect it. Even if I don’t understand it, I let it be and I have fun.” Her attitude torwards the creation of her music shined in songs like “Yo Soy La Ultima” and “Pan Y Cafe”, slapping keys with an open hand and having no qualms about confusing and astounding us.
Sinkane took the stage soon after, the coolest millennial jam band i’ve ever encountered. Switching from distorted vocals to falsetto to a guitarist with a talk-box, Sinkane’s hypnotic sounds had the whole audience vibing. Lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Ahmed Gallab proclaimed, “I see some of ya’ll getting loose, but we’re gonna have to try a little harder”. By the end of their half hour set, we were all sold on their psych-funk, abstract-jazz riffs and were definitely gettin’ down.
Stefa and I definitely continued the party, and headed on to Union Pool to catch some local indie rock bands before the haze took over. After spending my Saturday recuperating from the past two frenetic night of music, I was excited to go to the Converse Rubber Tracks free show in McCarren Park on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Not only is McCarren Park just a few blocks from my apartment (at a point when my body was refusing to move any further) but numero uno girlcrush Solange Knowles was playing, along with My Midnight Heart. I remember hearing of My Midnight Heart around CMJ time, and I was really excited to hear the sounds of Puerto Rican/American singer/songwriter, Angélica Allen. Her sound has got some of the soul of artists like Janelle Monae, with a mix of ambient,dream pop vocals ala Sade with rock-n-roll edge. One of my favorite tracks she performed was “Solace,” which quietly builds with a steady drum, and she overtook the stage with a strong confidence. This girl has got the estilo, passion and voice to really make it big, so make sure to check her out.
My Midnight Heart was followed by painfully hip electronic-rock NYC based band Cable, and South Africa’s Petite Noir. The anticipation was building for Solange, and at this point in the press area, I secured my position right on the railing and set up shop. On a quick sidenote, I think all of NYC’s most fashionable, beautiful people were in attendance to this show, proving that anything from the Knowles’ family tree brings in nothing less than the best. Her voice was spot-on, her interaction with the crowd was incredible,and she was honest and open on the stage. After slightly losing my mind and social media-ing to a point where my battery went from 89% to a mere 3%, Solange came back for an encore with a cover of “I Could Fall In Love” by the queen Selena, and the crowd response was seriously impressive. All of McCarren Park was swaying and singing along to the legendary song and it was the perfect, beautiful moment to end our Northside Music weekend.