NYC Pop Fest kept rolling right along yesterday with not one, but two sessions in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The first session started in the early afternoon at Spike Hill, and four more indie groups took the stage in the cozy space on Bedford Ave. The sets really showcased the raw nature of indie pop. It might get a little sloppy here and there, but it's completely genuine. Check out the gallery above of the sets from Lisa Bouvier, Outerhope, Pale Light, and Habibi, as well as a quick recap of each performance below.
The show got started a little later than usual due to some technical snafus, but Sweden's Lisa Bouvier made up for it with a lively, perky set. Helping her out on the bass was her brother, and combined the two looked more like gothic sailors than a pop duo. But the two had remarkable chemistry (as siblings should) and they even brought some Swedish candy for the crowd. Bouvier used backing tracks to fill out the rest of the sound, but they could have played an acoustic set and still gotten the place going. The warm, fuzzy guitar riffs and cute melodies made this a delightful start to the afternoon.
Making their U.S. debut all the way from Manila, Philippines were Outerhope, and they made the most of it. Michael and Micaela Benedicto blew away the crowd with their dreamy, simple sounds. Their harmonies were beautiful. Michael's soft, delicate guitar matched with Micaela's equally soft keys created an amazing atmospheric sound that just whisked us all away to a much nicer place. It's hard to get a crowd completely transfixed, but that's exactly what they were as the duo played their set. Bravo, Outerhope.
Brooklyn group Pale Lights took the stage next to treat the audience with a classic pop sound. British singer P.J. Sutton (of Comet Gain) entertained the crowd with his witty banter and fun music. There were some key troubles here and there with songs, so they had to tune some things out, but, they made the most out of it. Their songs like "Waverely Place" rolled right along for an enjoyable set. Definitely a nice change of pace from the very mellow sounds of Outerhope.
Finishing up the session was the all-girl quartet Habibi, from Brooklyn, NY. These girls had some edge to them, and they packed a strong punch with their driving guitar, slick drums, and pop lyrics. A telling moment from their short set: a drunk man in a cowboy hat stumbled over to me. He asked, "Hey, what's this group called?" I answered, "Habibi." "What?" "Habibi." "...Can I like buy them drinks after the show? This is awesome!" I chose not to respond to the last statement, but the audience certainly responded positively to their cool sound.
Another solid session from NYC Pop Fest, and there were still five more bands to go later on that night!
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