Portraits: New Colossus Festival and 18th Ward Brewing Presents Summer Sundays at 18th Ward Brewing: Spirits of Leo

Co-founded by three New York music industry vets and longtime friends, Lorimer Beacon‘s founder and head Mike Bell, Kanine Records‘ founder and label head Lio Kanine and Kepler Events and Dedstrange Records co-founder Steven Matrick, The New Colossus Festival over the course of the past couple of years have featured a few hundred handpicked, emerging indie bands and artists from across Canada, the UK, the European Union, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the States. 

By design the festival normally takes place about a week or so before SXSW; the festival’s co-founders have long viewed New Colossus as a pre-SXSW stopover that will give its lineups an opportunity to organically gain exposure, while filling a critical void in the city’s festival circuit. 

Obviously, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, New Colossus wasn’t able to happen as scheduled last year, but New Colossus and 18th Ward Brewing hosted a live, outdoor concert series featuring local and regional acts at the brewery’s Bushwick location. 

This year, New Colossus happened — and I saw a lot of great acts. More on that much later. The outdoor concert series has now gone on to its second summer. Unfortunately, I haven’t been to every showcase because of travel, a prior engagement and my beloved New York Rangers making a deep postseason run this past season, but I’ve managed to go to the bulk of them so afar. 

Admittedly, because it’s been so busy, I’ve been extremely behind on my photo editing. Such is the life of a photographer, right? 

This past Sunday, I was at 18th Ward Brewing for yet another Summer Sunday showcase. And in between sets, I was able to get some of yesterday’s band to pose in front of the camera for me. Brooklyn-based post-punk outfit Spirits of Leo were the first ones to post for me.

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