Live Concert Photography: Festival 8 at C’mon Everybody 8/14/16 feat. Blak Emoji with Kahli Abdu, Revel In Dimes, Wolkoff, Ryal, Of Clocks and Clouds, Mishti and Karolina Rose
Carefully curated by NYC music scene vet, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kelsey Warren, known for stints as a sideman with Denise Barbarita and the Morning Papers, the frontman of pILLoW thEoRy and Blak Emoji, Festival 8 was a one day DIY music festival featuring an incredibly diverse lineup of locally-based acts at Clinton Hill, Brooklyn-based venue C’mon Everybody.
Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you’d be familiar with the aforementioned, New York-based singer/songwriter Kelsey Warren. Warren’s latest musical project was started earlier this year and the project has quickly received attention with the release of debut single “Sapiosexual,” a single that’s a change in sonic direction for Warren as the project specializes in a slinky synth and power chord-based, anthemic, arena rock-friendly sound that seems to owe a bit of a sonic debt to the likes of Nine Inch Nails and others. And live, the band which has featured a rotating cast of four or five musicians has featured a set of original material, along with a synth rock-based cover of Donna Summer‘s disco smash hit “I Feel Love.”
(Photo Caption: Blak Emoji performing during Festival 8 last month at C’mon Everybody.) Kahli Abdu is a Jos, Nigeria-born, New York-based artist, who specializes in a slickly produced, post-modern genre-mashing, dance floor-friendly Afrocentric/African Diaspora-focused sound, complete with tweeter and woofer rocking beats, sultry blasts of horn, layers of synths and more.
(Photo Caption: Kahli Abdu performing during Festival 8 at C’mon Everybody earlier this month.)
Washington Duke and Eric Simons are two NYC music scene vets, who have spent a number of years playing in number of bands across town both together and individually but after every gig, the duo found themselves returning toot heir shared North Mississippi-based blues influences of Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside, wondering why the juke joint sound wasn’t properly represented in the contemporary blues-rock revival. As Duke explains on Revel In Dimes‘ Facebook fan page, “The blues doesn’t have to sound perfect,” Duke says. “It’s actually better if it doesn’t sound perfect. So the whole look-at-me-being-a-rock-star thing never worked for us. And I think that’s why the whole DJ culture is working right now: People just want to get lost in enjoying the music and having a good time — they don’t need to be staring at some icon.” Interestingly, their latest project Revel In Dimes can trace their origins to when they met vocalist Kia Warren while they were playing a loud, bluesy gig on a summer Sunday in the Hamptons last year. As the story goes, Warren had her friend approach Duke and Simons, pretending to be Warren’s manager to see if they could use a vocalist on a couple of songs. And when Warren got on the stage with them, the trio found an instant simpatico and began writing sweaty, stomping bluesy rock that owes debts to Howlin’ Wolf, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Lead Belly and Led Zeppelin — but with a hip-hop and punk rock-inspired swagger.
(Photo Caption: Revel In Dimes performing at Festival 8 at C’mon Everybody earlier this month.)
Much like Kelsey Warren, Toronto-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and electro pop artist Joanie Wolkoff is also a NYC scene veteran and JOVM mainstay artist with her involvement in projects such as Her Habits, Gemology and others. Last year, the Toronto-born, Brooklyn-based pop artist struck out on her own with her solo recording project Wolkoff. And with the 2015 release of the Talismans EP and the release of her full-length debut Without Shame, both collaborations with up-and-coming producer Icarus Moth,
Wolkoff has received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that takes a deliberate, almost painterly approach that draws from contemporary electro pop, world dance music, dream pop and R&B as enormous beats, swirling electronics and lush layers of shimmering synths are frequently paired with medieval and Eastern-sounding arrangements and Wolkoff’s sensual cooing and thought-provoking, deeply personal lyrics. Over the last few months Wolkoff has been collaborating with local producer and drummer John Cleary and the result so far has been a gentle yet noticeable expansion of the sound that first caught my attention and that of the rest of the blogosphere.
(Photo Caption: Wolkoff performing during Festival 8 at C’mon Everybody.) Collaborating with long-time songwriting partner and producer Aaron Nevezie, RYAL is a New York-based electro pop artist, whose recording career initially began with her crafting moody, Portishead-like trip hop; however, over the last couple of years, RYAL along with Nevezie have gone through a massive change of sonic direction and songwriting approach as their material has taken on a dance pop-leaning sound that seems to owe a debt to Prince, 80s synth pop and R&B — but paired with deeply personal lyrics based around her own personal experiences.
(Photo Caption: Ryal performing at Festival 8 at C’mon Everybody earlier this month.) Earlier this month, I wrote about Brooklyn-based prog rock/hard rock trio Of Clocks and Clouds and their subtly, proggy psych rock-leaning cover of TV on the Radio‘s “Young Liars.” Interestingly, the trio comprised of co-founding members Joe Salgo and Ross Procaccio and John Santiago, have developed a reputation locally for standing far apart from their contemporaries as their sound is equally influenced by the likes of The Black Keys, Pink Floyd, Beck, Queens of the Stone Age, Rush and TV On The Radio — or in other words, they adeptly mesh classic rock, prog rock and contemporary rock in a way that sounds both familiar and yet alien.
(Photo Caption: Of Clocks and Clouds’ mascot Eve before their Festival 8 set earlier this month.)
(Photo Caption: Of Clocks and Clouds performing during Festival 8 at C’mon Everybody.)
Born in Tokyo, and spending time living in Hong Kong and India before finally settling in Chappaqua, NY, Mishti is a singer;songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who specializes in a sound that owes a sonic debt to the Chicago blues, the pyrotechnics of renowned guitar god Slash and Klezmer. Interestingly, I’ve caught Mishti play a couple of times with frequent collaborator Alex Nolan (vocals, guitar), as well as with her backing band, which also features Anthony Candullo (bass) and Matt Graff (vocals, drums) — but this time she played a fairly stripped down set with Nolan.
(Photo Caption: Mishti with frequent collaborator Alex Norton performing during Festival 8 at C’mon Everybody earlier this month.)
Opening the afternoon was New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Karolina Rose, who specializes in an anthemic and pop that’s largely inspired by Shakira, Florence and the Machine, Françoise Hardy, Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, Czesław Niemen, Dave Matthews and classic tango paired with pop belter vocals.
(Photo Caption: Karolina Rose performing during Festival 8 at C’mon Everybody earlier this month.)