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Seen live at Northside: The FLuids, Fort Lean, Camvean

Seen live at Northside: The FLuids, Fort Lean, Camvean

On Thursday night at Cameo Gallery, one of the few small Williamsburg venue still standing, three different-sounding bands played their own kinetic sets.

Brooklyn quintet The Fluids took the stage first (who also played our Northside show the following night - pictured), swiftly surging into a loud pop-punk track that was almost manic in its blistering guitars and strong vocals. Frontman Michael O’Donnell was a gripping performer, his hunched-over guitar-thrashing and sudden shouts into the microphone recalling Joe Strummer’s powerful presence as The Clash’s leader. The sheer passion of that iconic British group did find kinship with the members of The Fluids, even as they exuded an assured cool in a next song that channeled The Strokes’ early work with its rattling guitar lines. Continuing onto a playfully-menacing cover of “Pablo Picasso” by The Modern Lovers and ending with what sounded like their single “Just Like Me” (streaming below), which placed reflective spoken-word in upbeat punk, The Fluids made an undeniably gripping introduction into the next band,.

Walking onto the stage with a forest-green sleeveless tee and a snapback hat, Fort Lean's frontman Keenan Mitchell immediately displayed charm, smiling at and amiably talking to the audience. But then came his band’s delightfully-blaring songs and Smith got down to his first guitar solo, the hat flying off his head. It was a buoyant yet tight intro that soon led to a potentially hypnotic third song (seemingly “Cut To The Chase,” streaming below) that set Smith’s acrobatic voice to swirling synths. Fort Lean weren’t just merry dancers, though, as their last song had a subtle melancholy that reminded us of their eclecticism.

After a short break, the small space filling with people, headlining act Caveman (who graced the cover of The Deli NYC's issue #27 back in 2011) took the stage. A few members wearing ties and enveloped in a purple light, the Brooklyn band segued into an almost seductive set of mostly new, as-yet-unreleased material. Synths soared and drums tumbled but the group’s poise remained, even as thunderous guitars washed over lead singer Matthew Iwanusa and his bandmates. Unlike the two singers before him, Iwanusa held a relatively calm presence. Not much bending, a little swaying. This very serenity, though, was rapturous, his stilled eyes closing the night with quiet power. – Zach Weg

Published: June 15, 2015 |

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