The letter “S” appropriately took over Spike Hill Thursday night for the Northside Fest’s Ear Farm showcase. Five bands, the Sundelles, Schooner, Steel Phantoms, Sean Bones and Shark? took to the stage, and while they all share that common letter, each group brought something different to the indie rock table. First up was the Sundelles, a Brooklyn-based three-piece, who took on the distorted, experimental punk side of the spectrum. North Carolina natives Schooner were up next with their southern charm and folk infused rock. Rotating between fast paced tunes and melodic duets, the troupe showed their variety and even invited a former, now Brooklyn-based member to hop on stage and play a few songs with them.
You may have seen this next band’s name a lot over at the Northside Fest’s schedule, and with good reason. Steel Phantoms, a refreshing foursome that combines punky anthems with an indie rock twist, is playing two more sets this weekend (tonight at Union Pool, Sunday at the Music Hall of Williamsburg) before jumping on the road to tour with Islands. A favorite from the night, Steel Phantoms played a killer set of tracks off their self-released debut (track them down at a show to get one!), as well as a new song that got the room moving.
Although they couldn’t fit a second bass player onto the tiny stage (or so frontman Sean proclaimed to the crowd—consequently professing his love for bass heavy tunes), the four members of Sean Bones still managed to cover the dance music side of things. With guitar riffs channeling the reggae gods, a toe-stomping percussion and just enough bass, the group put on a show that was nothing short of great.
Shark?, another favorite from the showcase and a group that’s also playing multiple (six!) shows during the Fest, closed out the night with a unique sound that channeled The Beach Boys and The Ramones. Following the current trend of beach-esque bands, but with a much-welcomed edge, Shark? combined their sometimes ocean-infused lyrics (listen to their song “Shark?”) and melodic harmonies with thrashing percussions and passionately sung repetitive hooks. With this eclectic yet complimentary lineup, Ear Farm kicked off the Fest right.