The Creators Project last weekend offered their second annual music and art festival in New York. The Intel and Vice collaboration brought big names like Florence and the Machine and Justice to a few venues across Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood for many New Yorkers who were lucky enough to secure tickets to the free event.
Before the bands, I got to check out some of the art installations. The realization of Spiritualized’s “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space” gave listeners a chance to bask in light and listen to each of the four chords that made up the song. It was pleasantly isolating, as if you were the only one there despite the crowd.
Famous rock photographer Mick Rock’s reimagining of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” projected the already larger-than-life Bowie onto four walls. Close-up imagery, disconnected visuals played up the tension and uncertainty in the song. The end was a punctuated by a sense of claustrophobia as the noise built up and tore at the images of Bowie.
Queen Sea Big Shark, an import from China was the first band of the day. They kicked the day off under the Archway (under the Manhattan Bridge) with some bouncing pop rock that was eased the crowd in to The Creators Project.
Chairlift subbed for The Field, who unfortunately had to cancel. Chairlift had slinky pop down, chill electronic aspects that was easy to find a groove. The band has grown, adding the lead singer of Violens. Songs glided around, much like the lead singer on stage.
John Maus was my favorite performance of the day. The Lo-fi madman had plugged in his sampler and unleashed his neo-goth stylings on to an unsuspecting crowd. Pulling at his hair, screaming, thrashing around and hitting himself, it was a captivating performance that had fans nervously laughing and dancing along.
Rapper A$AP Rocky (and his large A$AP crew) offered a raucous set that saw members of the group surprise the crowd with rapid stage dives, including Rocky who rapped while crowdsurfing. It was a fun spectacle that almost overshadowed the music. Just a day prior, we learned that he was signed to Polo Grounds Music/RCA (Sony).
Yuksek was French electro bliss. The band started a dance party next to the giant Origin cube. The full band was delivering the jams and fans were eating it up. Yuksek had charm for days and for one set everything about The Creators Project collided for a performance that you could feel as well as see.
Just after Yuksek, we spotted MGMT‘s Andrew VanWyngarden and James Richardson in the crowd.
Atlas Sound was Bradford Cox solo and he eased the night in with his lush waves of sound. Everything eluded touch, achingly immediate but just out of reach. It was a subdued performance that was expansive and at times meditative.
Nosaj Thing took over the St. Anne’s Warehouse venue, halfway between the two main outdoor venues, with a set of glitchy, soulful electronic tracks that filled the room with a warm vibe.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the room, guests enjoyed playing Super Pong, a table-based video game that’s a combination of foosball and Pong, created by a Brazilian group called SuperUber.
Florence and the Machine hit it big under the Archway. Florence Welch’s voice reached all the way to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge. Florence and the Machine debuted three new songs during the set, making it a special occasion. Fans packed in tight and would have been satisfied with a standard set, but that wasn’t enough for Florence. It was epic in scope, and her voice was as operatic and expressive as ever.
Preceding Florence, The Golden Filter were in position alongside the stage to play their second DJ set of the day. But instead, we watched as the frustrated duo shut their laptop and walked off. “We got overridden by the Florence team,” singer Penelope Trappes told us. “They fuckin shut our shit off!” Meanwhile, it became clear that the Florence team opted to play multiple tracks off Radiohead’s The King Of Limbs to precede their set, instead.
Back at the open-air Tobacco Warehouse venue, Company Flow performed as die-hard fans intermingled with Justice fans who wanted to secure a good spot for their upcoming set. The duo won the whole crowd over, though, and dedicated a song to Occupy Wall Street protestors.
Justice - Ohio
Next up, Justice. About a week before their much-anticipated sophomore album release, The Creators Project hosted the duo’s first New York stop in two years. As the final act of the day at the Tobacco Warehouse, they offered a triumphant DJ set that had the crowd jumping in a way that few DJs can accomplish. Early in their set, they played a medley that harked back to their 2007-era boom, with original tracks including Phantom and their famous remix of “NY Excuse” by Soulwax. Watch it in the clip below:
Unfortunately, about 25 minutes into their set, the duo received word that the party was being shut down early by police. You can watch their receiving word, and their disappointment, in the clip below. (An oranizer from Vice told Billboard that there were a few “community complaints” so they shut down early because “we want to come back.” Justice decided to end things early with the title track off their forthcoming album, Audio, Video, Disco.
Throughout Justice, many fans lied under the massive color-changing cube — an installation called “Origin” by United Visual Artists that changed to the beat.
After an incredible day of music and art that organizers say brought more than 30,000 people, it opened up again Sunday, sans-musicians. “Origin,” which we got used to calling “The Cube,” is still up and running for a few more days.
Story and photo galleries by Charles Poladian; additional reporting and photos outside the slideshows by Mike Lewis