NOBRO, Prewn, Meagre Martin & more played the BrooklynVegan New Colossus party (pics, recap)

We are old hands at showcases, having put together many for CMJ and SXSW over the years. This was our first time as an official part of NYC’s New Colossus Festival and our showcase at Knitting Factory @ Baker Falls on Thursday featured eight bands from four countries, including a couple from Brooklyn. It was a fantastic night of music and photos by Amanda Hatfield are in this post.

Cornwall, UK’s Holiday Ghosts got the night off to a great start with their brand of strummy indie rock that feels descended from Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers. Interplay is central to the group’s dynamic, from co-lead singers Samuel Stacpoole and Katja Rackin, to the dueling guitars of Sam and Ben Nightingale. They get a little choogle-y but being power-pop fans, they keep their songs tight. The band previewed their upcoming album Coat of Arms alongside a few older songs.

Brooklyn’s Mx Lonely kicked things up a notch next with their energetic set. Synth player Rae Haas sings on most of the songs off the band’s new EP Spit (guitarist Jake Harms had previously handled most lead vocals), and while they had a technical issue with their synth on this night, without it they were free to prowl the stage (and into the crowd a few times) with confrontational glee.

La Sécurité kept the energy levels high. The Montreal group mix English and French with a variety of danceable styles (post-punk, electroclash, prog-disco) powered by a fantastic rhythm section of drummer Kenneth David Smith (who wore shop safety goggles the whole show) and bassist Félix Bélisle. Singer Éliane Viens-Synnott sang, shouted, hyped the crowd, got in the crowd, and played synth while flanked by cool-as-cucumbers guitarists Melissa Di Menna and Laurence Anne Charest-Gagné. By the end of the set, any language barriers had been broken by the electro-punk disco grooves and the crowd was dancing. No mean feat before 9PM on a Thursday.

We stayed in Montreal for the next band, NOBRO, who not only kept the energy going but tripled it. Amongst the big party punk riffs and shout-along choruses, there were also many moments of audience participation, including “I SAY NO! YOU SAY BRO!” call-and-response chants, getting the whole crowd to flip the bird, and singer/bassist Kathryn McCaughey jumping into the audience to mix it up with folks. NOBRO also have a bongo player who is invaluable to their energy. Every band should have one. Most fun set of the night.

After three high octane sets, Meagre Martin brought the energy down in the sweetest way possible. The Berlin-based group, led by American singer-songwriter Sarah Martin, brought exquisite songcraft and gorgeous harmonies to their set. The band’s debut album, released last year, has been a real grower and songs like “Please Clap” and “Mountain” that straddle country and dreampop sounded wonderful.

Speaking of exquisite songcraft, Prewn, up next, delivered that in spades. Northampton musician Izzy Hagerup’s unearthly warbling delivery of songs from her debut album, Through the Window (one of our 2023 favorites) was transportive, and she and her backing band had the room swaying along, under her spell.

Vermont quartet Robber Robber were up next and one of many bands at our show to sport an exceptional drummer. Zack James has a lithe but powerful touch behind the kit and kept Baker Falls energetic as the night entered its fifth hour. The rest of the band were no slouches either and they played a few brand new songs off what we’re guessing is their debut album. Stay tuned.

The final band of the night was Brooklyn’s Silent Mass who are equal parts goth and shoegaze, and whose sound would’ve fit right in on 4AD Records in 1987 alongside The Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil. The band’s cascading guitars and ethereal vocals made for a nice way to end the night and send us to dreamland.

Thanks again to all the bands that played and all the people who came out to see them. We’re already looking forward to New Colossus 2025. Check out photos from the whole night below.