Skip to Content
Morning Spew

New Colossus, Old Music Festival Feel

Hear so much live music this weekend, and other links to start your day.

The Canadian band NOBRO performs on Wednesday night at Baker Falls. (Hell Gate)

When the CMJ music festival abruptly stopped in 2016, New York City lost a pretty fun week for people who wanted to see many good and young bands without having to go far. With an entry badge ($149 for the whole week), you could hop around from venue to venue, dispersed through mostly Lower Manhattan, and hear up-and-coming bands thirsting for exposure. 

It was a fun way to run around the city and feel like you might stumble onto your new favorite band—CMJ was certainly a bit too music industry-adjacent and over time, increasingly corporate, but its end was still a loss for the city's music scene and smaller venues. Besides the now-defunct Northside Festival in Brooklyn, there really haven't been many attempts to recreate what was, from the outside, a pretty great idea for a festival—get a few local venues on board and basically keep the music going all day as bands roll through town. 

That is, until the New Colossus Festival, now in its fifth year, came along. The festival, which focuses on mostly international groups (with a few U.S. bands thrown in) and takes its name from the Emma Lazarus poem etched on the Statue of Liberty, kicked off last night in the East Village and Lower East Side. The festival will continue through the weekend at venues across lower Manhattan—some newer spots, like Baker Falls, some older like Pianos and Arlene's Grocery. 

Last night at Baker Falls, you could find a showcase of bands from Montréal, fresh out of touring vans or off flights and trying as hard as possible to stick to the half-hour time limit imposed by the New Colossus organizers, alternating songs in English and Québécois.

Éliane Viens-Synnott is the lead-singer of the extremely fun punk outfit La Sécurité, whose first New York City show ever was Wednesday night's performance. Viens-Synnott told Hell Gate that it's tough for foreign bands to play in the U.S right now—New Colossus helps with that, and like others appearing at the festival, the band's next stop was SXSW in Texas. 

"It's kind of the only way for Canadian bands to come and play in the States for now, if you don't have a visa. It's really complicated to get a visa and it's really expensive," Viens-Synnott told Hell Gate. 

You can catch La Sécurité at Baker Falls again tonight, or at Pianos on Friday. 

New Colossus runs through Sunday—badges are $150 (like CMJ!), individual shows cost less, and if you don't have weekend plans and want to commit yourself to hearing new music, we can't recommend it enough. 

Some less cool links to start your day: 

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Give us your email address to keep reading two more articles for free

See all subscription options

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Hell Gate

Bodega Has Seen Every Scene

The band's new release "Our Brand Could Be Yr Life" embodies the last several eras of Brooklyn rock.

April 17, 2024

There’s No Palestinian Food at This Year’s Queens Night Market. Here’s Where You Should Go Instead

The founder of Baba's Olives, whose "Free Palestine" signs were torn down last year, has three suggestions for a stellar meal in Astoria.

April 17, 2024

Ugh, ‘Civil War’ Actually Got Me

And more links to ponder this Wednesday morning.

April 17, 2024
See all posts