Entries in Nor'easter Festival (7)


Nor'easter Fest 2011 recap

More photos from Nor'easter 2011

Words // Scott Pingeton

Over the past two years the Nor'easter Festival presented by Eastern Mountain Sports has become one of my must-see annual events, and the end-cap to summer music festival season in New England.  The festival, which was held at Burlington VT's Waterfront Park this year, caters to outdoor sports and music fanatics alike.  A mashup of rock climbing, cycling and music from Okkervil River, G. Love and Special Sauce, Rivery City Extension, Aunt Martha, Kingsley Flood and more, all set along the picturesque banks of Lake Champlaign - well, there really isn't a better way to spend a fall weekend.  I could only make it for the first half of the festival this year and as painful as it was to forego Okkervil River, Aunt Martha, Tan Vampires and The Toughcats - day 1 provided more than enough highlights to make it worth the drive.

I arrived early Saturday morning after a nearly 4-hour drive from Boston to hear Kingsley Flood soundchecking in the misty rain.  The band went on to play a trademark energetic set to a handful of early-birds - clearly un-phased by either the sparse crowd or grey drizzle.  The set featured favorites from Dust Windows as well as tracks off their upcoming EP set for December release.  River City Extension were up next, blending punk-spirit, mariachi horns and folk earnestness into folk-rock anthems.  On paper it may seem incongruous that the band played both the Warped Tour and Newport Folk in the past year - but after seeing them live it somehow all makes sense.  As I saw the lead singer of each band head-bobbing to the other I thought what a great double-bill Kingsley Flood and River City Extension would make...

As the sun finally broke through the clouds, Providence's Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons took the stage.  White Lighter was one of my favorite albums of last year, and it was great to hear the songs echoing across the Burlington waterfront.  Songs of gritty desperation, pain and loss aren't normally what you think of as lighthearted festival fare - but Fletcher & co. sounded great as mandolin and fiddle echoed down the Burlington waterfront.  It was somewhat surreal to see Kingsley Flood and Joe Fletcher - two of the local bands I would put my chips behind to break out of the New England scene - on a big festival stage.  Nevermind the fact that they were playing to a mostly-empty field, it seemed like just a preview of things to come.

Truth be told, those were the three bands I made the drive for.  Mariachi El Bronx surprised me though.  As the G. Love crowd slowly filled in, the punk-cum-Mariachi band was starting to heat things up.  I couldn't help but scratch my head as the very much non-Mexican lead singer (think younger Frank Black or Herc from The Wire) led the band through what sounded to these un-trained ears like note-perfect traditional Mariachi.  Kids were dancing, heads were bobbing - this was my surprise of the weekend.  Closing out the night was G. Love and Special Sauce.  I have to admit that I've never been a huge fan, but the band's most recent Avett-produced effort Fixin' To Die has piqued my interest.  Seeing him live I found a new appreciation for the R&B / funk-influenced sound.  Set opener "Milk & Sugar", an ode to the magical powers of coffee, is the kind of mantra I can get behind.

And while music was the draw for me, the main attraction is without question The North Face Open - a United Bouldering Championship event that draws hundreds of climbing enthusiasts.  For those that have no idea what "bouldering" is, it basically turns rock climbing into a competitive sport - as climbers must complete problems (as in, get to the top of a big-ass wall) as a five-minute clock ticks down.  Some of the nuances of the sport may be lost on me, but after two years at Nor'easter I have to call myself a fan - it's really a jawdropping, holy-shit-did-you-see-that?! display of athleticism and skill. 

But that brings me to my only complaint about Nor'easter: it has the potential to be a great music festival, if the music aspect of the festival was better-marketed.  The pieces are all in place, but last year and again this year, no one is there for the music.  If Kingsley Flood and River City Extension are playing to food vendors, and G. Love is playing a few hundred people - an opportunity is being missed.  Until then, this festival will remain a sort-of secret hidden gem, but either way I know I'll be returning year-after-year.


Preview: Nor'easter Festival 2011

Last year we made a last minute decision and headed up to Loon Mountain in Lincoln NH to check out the Nor'easter Festival.  With a lineup that included The Walkmen, Dr. Dog, Gaslight Anthem, Alberta Cross, Eli Reed & The True Loves and more, I knew there would be great music - but the festival exceeded all of my expectations.  I'm sure festival organizers were hoping for a better turnout, but the small-ish crowds made for an intimate and relaxed experience.  World-class bouldering and cycle-cross events provided a great break from the music, and the gorgeous setting in the early-autumn White Mountains was perfect.  Our most popular post of 2010, a live recording of The Gaslight Anthem was recorded at the festival, along with another popular recording of The Walkmen.

This year the festival moves north to downtown Burlington VT, on September 23-25.  The location may be different, but the great music lineup and outdoor sporting events are back again.  The 1-2-3 punch of Kingsley Flood, River City Extension and Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons to open Saturday's festival is worth the price of the weekend pass on its own - not to mention headliners Okkervil River, G. Love & Special Sauce and rjd2, more solid undercards including Aunt Martha and Toughcats and a full lineup of bouldering/cycle-cross competitions.  Tickets are still available here.  Don't miss out one last chance to get out of town and experience live music outdoors this year.  Full lineup and mp3s below, along with photos + video from last year's festival:

Nor'easter Festival 2011 Waterfront Stage Lineup

Japhy Ryder
DJ Disco Phantom

G. Love & Special Sauce
Mariachi El Bronx
Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons - Say What You Will
River City Extension - South For The Winter
Kingsley Flood - I Don't Wanna Go Home

Tan Vampires
Apollo Run
Aunt Martha - Bloodshot
Okkervil River - Rider


Videos from Nor'easter 2010...

The Walkmen



The Gaslight Anthem


Photos from Nor'easter 2010...


Video: Gaslight Anthem live at Nor'easter Festival 2010

A couple weeks ago we posted a live recording of Gaslight Anthem from the Nor'easter Festival in Lincoln NH.  Now I'm happy to share some excellent HD videos of two tracks from the band's set at Nor'easter - The '59 Sound and Bring It On.  Thanks to Steve from Kitchen Sessions for putting these together.  Now, without further ado...

Bring It On

The '59 Sound




The Gaslight Anthem: Nor'easter Festival 2010


The Gaslight Anthem brought their breed of Jersey-bred, gutter-punk anthems to the Nor'easter Festival in Lincoln NH, drawing the largest crowd of the weekend for their headlining set.  While the records are great - capturing an authentic, youthful romanticsm that I've forgotten - this is a band that needs to be experienced live to really "get it".  The Springsteen comparisons are undeniable - Brian Fallon's ragged voice recalls the Jersey legend as he hoarsely barks lyrics and engages the crowd with stories and banter between songs.  However, after seeing the band live I'm convinced there's as much Joe Strummer and The Clash in their sound as Springsteen.  When it comes down to it, they write heartfelt songs filled with gritty imagery, fist-pumping choruses and relatable stories -- what's not to like?

Their entire set is available below for stream / download.  Like the Walkmen set from earlier that night, the sound is very good (though maybe not quite as clear as The Walkmen).  In the coming days we will also have some fantastic HD live video from their set, and an exclusive interview with the band -- including some fascinating comments about their experience playing onstage with Bruce Springsteen at Glastonbury.  Enjoy!

The Gaslight Anthem
Nor'easter Festival - Lincoln, NH
September 25, 2010

High Lonesome
We Came To Dance
The Diamond Church Street Choir
Old White Lincoln
Even Cowgirls Get The Blues
American Slang
The '59 Sound
Bring It On
Miles Davis And The Cool
Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis?
The Queen Of Lower Chelsea
Film Noir
I'da Called You Woody, Joe
Great Expectations
Say I Won't (Recognize)
Here's Looking At You, Kid
The Backseat

Lossless zip available upon request

UPDATE:  Check out some live video from The Gaslight Anthem's set at Nor'easter...

The '59 Sound

Bring It On



The Walkmen: Interview + Live Video from Nor'easter

I had a chance to catch up with The Walkmen at the first annual Nor'easter Festival at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire to talk about the process of making Lisbon, their fantastic new record.  Watch an excerpt from the interview below, along with some incredible HD video from their set:

All Hands And The Cook

Angela Surf City

Interview + Juveniles

Huge thanks to Steve Legare of kitchensessions.net for filming + editing! 


The Walkmen: Nor'easter Festival 2010

The Walkmen's recently-released fifth album, Lisbon, is high on my list of favorite albums of the year.  It's a nuanced record that reveals more with each listen, yet seems like it would be perfect listening for almost any situation.  The Walkmen have taken a strange path to becoming one of my favorite bands - there wasn't that single song or album that bowled me over or defined a time in my life.  I remember being vaguely aware of them back in 2003, shortly after their debut Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone made them one of the NYC buzz bands (remember the Yes New York comp?).  I saw them live for the first time circa 2004 or so in a tiny room at Wellesley College.  Still, for some reason nothing really stuck.  I got A Hundred Miles Off as soon as it came out, and loved it -- All Hands And The Cook, Louisiana and Lost In Boston are great, highly-underrated songs.  Still, it wasn't until 2008's You & Me that The Walkmen finally burrowed deep into my consciousness.  That masterpiece of an album finally made something click, or maybe it was the result of a growing body of work that finally I couldn't ignore any more. 

In any case, sometime in the last two years it finally dawned on me that this was probably my favorite band.  The sound (spastic drums, the live-wire electric guitar tone and organ), the lyrics, the attitude, the place (in my opinion, the Walkmen's sound is as inseparably tied to New York City as the Velvet Underground, The Ramones and very few others).  With all of that buildup, Lisbon was the first Walkmen album that I listened to with high expectations - and it has exceeded all of them.  Angela Surf City, Woe Is Me, Victory are the trademark anthems, but Blue As Your Blood, Stranded, Juveniles and All My Great Designs showcase the restraint and subtlety that the band has developed over time - showcasing the songcraft and the mellower side of Hamilton Leithauser's voice.  It is another jewel in the crown of one of the most consistently great bands of the last 10 years - and certainly the most enduring of the buzz bands to emerge from NYC circa 2000.

Complete live recording of The Walkmen's set at Nor'easter is available below for stream/download -- sound quality is fantastic.  Kudos to the excellent crew for the excellent sound, and of course huge thanks to The Walkmen for their taper-friendly policies - enjoy!

The Walkmen
Nor'easter Festival - Lincoln, NH
September 25, 2010

Blue As Your Blood
In The New Year
Woe Is Me
Postcards From Tiny Islands
Angela Surf City
All My Great Designs
On The Water
The Rat
Canadian Girl
All Hands And The Cook

All Hands And The Cook



Preview: Nor'easter Festival - Loon Mountain 9.24-26

Well, the days are getting shorter and nights are getting colder - it can only mean one thing:  summer is over.  However, before we all resign ourselves to the fact that another cold, dark New England winter is fast approaching, there's one last chance to load up the car, pop in a mixtape and head out in search of music, sun and good times. 

The EMS-sponsored Nor'easter Festival (Sept 24-26) has all the right ingredients - a beautiful setting at Loon Mountain in Lincoln, NH (just 2 hours from Boston), a fantastic lineup of artists and free on-site camping.  The 3 day festival is anchored by indie heavyweights The Gaslight Anthem, The Walkmen, Dr. Dog and !!! - along with a killer mix of lesser-known acts; Eli "Paperboy" Reed, Alberta Cross, Javelin, Sean Bones, Rubblebucket and more.  Besides the music there will be pro rock climbing and cyclocross events, sunrise yoga and a costume "fun run" (whatever that means).  To top it off, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Conservation Alliance

Tickets are only $75 for the entire weekend, which includes onsite camping - a great deal if you ask me.  Camping space is limited, so it's recommended that you get tickets ASAP.  For those that can't make it up to NH for the festivities, be sure to check out visible voice for complete festival coverage.  In the meantime, here are a few free downloads from Nor'easter artists:

The Walkmen - Woe Is Me
The Gaslight Anthem - Bring It On
Dr. Dog - Take Me Into Town
Eli "Paperboy" Reed - Just Like Me
Alberta Cross - Low Man
Sean Bones - Let's Do Something Else
Javelin - Moscow 1980