Part two of the Bushwick Walkabout Festival went down on Saturday, entertaining Brooklyn’s hippest with a 10-band, all-day-spanning lineup of music crammed between two old factories in the ‘Shwick’s west end, all fueled by free beer and vodka handouts. The bands that took the ground-level, concrete stage throughout the day were Cold Fronts, Back Words, Little Gold, Fort Lean, Courtesy Tier, Wowser Bowser, Yes Way, Slam Donahue, Headless Horsemen, Magic Man.
A lot of the small aspects of the festival were exactly as one would expect from a musical event located in Bushwick: Almost all of the concertgoers were in their mid-twenties, most were rocking some version of thick-rimmed glasses, a lot of already short shorts were being worn even shorter with the help of cuffs, and of course, anyone wearing a T-shirt with actual sleeves was in the minority in the sea of tank tops and cut-offs. But the fest didn’t stoop to superficiality. I had very little knowledge of any of the bands playing, so I used Walkabout as a tool for music discovery. This wasn’t the case for many of the criminally hip members of the audience. At any given moment, you could locate at least five people singing along with each band. There were never any moments when the audience seemed to be not enjoying or at least not paying any of the bands respect. When it comes down to it, the point of a music event, no matter how big or small, is for the people in attendance to enjoy what’s going on at the front.
One immediate standout was the Brooklyn-based Fort Lean. Though the group took the stage early in the day, its shimmering, chilled-out beach rock was received with all smiles by the audience. This could be attributed to the high energy of the group, its catchy songs and the charisma of the lead singer. Yes Way was also awesome, switching back and forth between a poppy, folk-rock kind of feel and driving hard-rock and blues. Atlanta’s Wowser Bowser definitely killed it as well with its over-the-top electronic rock, epic and joyful enough to miss being cheesy.
The day was long, and that was apparent in the audience members’ faces toward the end. It might have been the length or maybe it was the free alcohol that burned a lot of people out. Many were sitting, some were passed out, and some wasted guy tried to stop one of the bands’ sets because he thought a fire was coming out from underneath the stage. It was a synthetic smoke machine.
Kudos for shooting all ten bands that played on the day goes to Maverick Inman
Next Page: Cold Fronts and Backwords