“So how was PhaseFest?” my friends asked me on Sunday, anticipating a casual “Oh, good.”
Instead, though bleary-eyed and exhausted from too much dancing and head-bopping, I mustered up the most emphatic “Fucking rad” I could.
Phase 1 isn’t just one of the oldest lesbian bars in the country — over the past four years it has become a venue in which some of the hottest (we’re talking both looks and popularity here, people) queer bands and performers on the east coast get the rare chance to share a single stage and party together.
Awesome is pretty much the only word to describe PhaseFest. Over the course of three nights, twenty-some bands, poets and singer-songwriters alternately brought the crowd to a hush and to a booty-shaking, head-banging frenzy.
Thursday featured a lineup of mostly local acts including Jenny Grind, Melissa Li & The Barely Theirs and the Wicked Jezabels. Kit Yang, an extraordinarily talented spoken word poet joined in the fun, cutting the indie rock and cover jams with erotic queer poetry that had the crowd hanging on his every sexy word.
On Friday, The Pushovers and Brooklyn-based (which would become a theme of PhaseFest) Jen Urban & the box got the crowd hyped up for the ever-rockin’ Toronto trio Hunter Valentine. Swoon, bois and girls. Swoon.
Saturday night I made sure to book it back from the Virgin Mobile Free Fest to catch two of my favorite acts, soulful klezmer-punks The Shondes and the crazy confetti-and-silly-string-slinging Tayisha Busay (although I sadly missed the pop-electro-dance duo Rad Pony I heard they were excellent). MEN, fronted by JD Samson of Le Tigre fame, and backed up by the talented Michael O’Neill and Ginger Brooks, closed out the festivities with deep beats and dancey riffs that nearly brought down the house.
And now some snaps of the appreciative crowd.