What: Sounds Like Brooklyn Music Festival
Where: BAM, BAMcafé, and 12 other Brooklyn venues
When: Feb 6-7, 12-14
Cost: Varies, Free for some locations.
Why: If you tried to bottle the cultural diversity of Brooklyn… well, it’s just not possible. That said, BAM—Brooklyn’s cultural brother to Manhattan’s Lincoln Center—used its influences to gather the most prominent indie bands of the borough into one kick ass music festival.
For the next two weekends there is no limit to the extraordinary talent coming out of venues. This festival “speaks to Brooklyn in the here-and-now moment,” said Darrell McNeill, associate producer for music programming at BAM. “The Brooklyn indie music scene dictates what it is on its own terms.”
Audiences will be energized by the line-up of local talent, musicians and vocalists who have sustained themselves with a solid following despite the harsh economics of their industry. Kicking off the festival this Friday at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House is guitarist, singer and composer Kaki King. First, watch her quick paced, finger picking on her baby blue guitar as she brilliantly manipulates the notes, then close your eyes: at times, you’ll forget that’s just one instrument she’s playing. Next up is Beirut’s front man Zach Condon and his ensemble who will carry a large load of instruments—accordions, euphoniums, glockenspiels, and mandolins—to the stage to create a magical realm of experimental pop. “The best music is coming from artists who cross the cultural barriers to inform their sound,” said McNeill.
The bands currently dictating the zeitgeist of contemporary music are indebted to the venues that give them a stage to sound off. As you plan to support bands, neither mainstream nor predictable, yet on the brink of reaching fame on another level, you’ll gather at converted discount store SouthPaw, BedStuy’s Sputnik (make sure to try the fries), antique decorated Goodbye Blue Monday, and one of our previously reviewed venues, The Bell House, to name a few. Each partner venue has chosen their lineup independent of any BAM imposition. So, expect sounds that are as varied and distinct as its host’s scene.
BAMcafé is presenting its entire program for free. Stop in and hear Taylor McFerrin & Friends‘ melodic improvisation that is known by only the McFerrin family. For a sampling of electric sound there is Analogue Transit and Brooklyn-based Bear in Heaven, whose rhythms and melodies are intentionally at the epicenter of strange. The Injoy DJ’s—DJ Winter Santos, DJ Moni, and DJ Kamela—are women spinsters with mixing skills that make them a staple across musical genres.
Brace yourself for an unparalleled global musical experience, with over 100 shows premiering the new and best music coming out of Brooklyn. “This doesn’t happen anywhere else; it couldn’t happen anywhere else,” said McNeill. For a complete lineup of artists and venues visit Sounds Like Brooklyn.
How to get there: Be sure to visit the event website for the venue locations. But for the performances taking place at BAM, take the $7 BAMbus from Park Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets. It departs one hour before every BAM performance in the Howard Gilman Opera House and the Harvey Theater, unless otherwise noted.
Alternatively, take the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, Q to Atlantic Avenue, the G to Fulton St, or the C to Lafayette Ave. Click on HopStop below for step-by-step directions. (BAM, 30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn, NY, 718.636.4100, bam.org)
Photos: Courtesy of BAM