by Steven Pisano
Each June, the Northside Festival brings to Williamsburg and Bushwick a long list of interesting conferences revolving around today's tech and media worlds, but what always interests us most at Feast of Music is of course music--lots and lots (and lots) of music. This year marks the festival's tenth anniversary, and over 300 bands are playing Thursday through Sunday with something for just about everyone.
On Thursday at Brooklyn Bowl, the line-up featured three self-professed "weirdos" and "geeks" who brought a DIY rap sensibility to their musical views of the world. To be honest, we never knew this was a niche, and it almost seems too much of a niche within a niche, but in a way this proves Northside's role in supporting performers across a wide spectrum.
Leading off the 3-hour concert was a singer known as Sammus (born Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo), a PhD candidate in science at Cornell University who is now based in Philadelphia. If you are a fan of the Nintendo game "Metroid," you would recognize her name coming from the game character Samus Aran who protects the universe from Space Pirates.
As you might expect from a singer/songwriter/rapper/teacher working on a doctorate, Sammus writes smart, socially conscious, and sensitive songs that surprise with their literate lyrics. Sammus also surprises by being angry at people (but in a nice way)--at people who made fun of her name when she was a kid, at people who misbehave on social media, at a**holes in general.