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Crossing Brooklyn Ferry: Thursday

by James Pellegrino JACK Quartet_PC_Stephanie Berger
Photo: Stephanie Berger
On Thursday, BAM kicked off the first of a three-night festival titled Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, featuring three stages of music and film. The event is co-sponsored by Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, Brooklyn Brewery, and the L Magazine, which might lead you into thinking that this is going to be a rich yuppie event for people who like to drink local micro-brews. And, with tickets being 45 dollars, the event is out of reach to many of those that reside in the surrounding neighborhoods of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. Worst of all, the money seems to pay for for BAM's heavy-handed security.  You couldn’t even go to the bathroom without showing someone you had purchased a ticket and gotten your red wristband, which they wrapped too tightly around your left wrist. 

As for the music - you know, the reason you’re reading this article - I was bowled over, and I have to give credit to curators Bryce and Aaron Dessner. They had me literally running from stage to stage in order to listen to bands I’d never heard because each band I saw failed to disappoint. 

Sharon Van Etten _PC_Stephanie Berger Photo: Stephanie Berger
Sharon Van Etten, a New York City regular, put on a breathtaking performance that left the audience mesmerized by her poetic lyrics concerning love and life. After ending her set with only 15 minutes before The Walkmen were due to perform, I figured the show was going to be at least a half hour late, but the crew had them set up with time to spare.

People Get Ready (2)_PC_Stephanie Berger Photo: Stephanie Berger

People Get Ready are a Brooklyn-based band that funded their first full-length album on Kickstarter.  Organized by Steven Reker and featuring the vocal and key styles of Jen Goma, People Get Ready is a must-see live band. The amount of energy coming out of Reker as he jerks, dances, and sings simultaneously is astounding. (They'll be playing next at the Mercury Lounge on May 17.)

Twin Shadow (2)_PC_Stephanie Berger Photo: Stephanie Berger
Hold on a sec, is that Joy Division? Depeche Mode? No, it’s the UK's Twin Shadow, and as much as they borrow from both of these bands, they are their own new kind of music, which is more about empowerment than teenage suicide. While performing, they were joined by a local high school drumming team, giving the whole show a feeling of community empowerment and youthful exuberance. 

The bottom line is that the Dessners put together a terrific show, but BAM needs to lower their ticket prices and fire at least half of their security.