The Best Things We Saw at 1.21 Gigawatts Festival

This weekend’s 1.21 Gigawatts Festival lasted four days and brought more than 60 bands to Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. Most of the action was split between Radio Bushwick and a DIY space dubbed “Hot 97.4.” The festival’s expansive lineup ran the gamut from indie-pop to pop-punk and provided a little something for everyone. Hit the jump for our recap of the weekend’s best moments.

Recap: 1.21 Gigawatts Festival 2014

Keeping the DIY spirit alive

The scene outside of Radio Bushwick.

The scene outside of Radio Bushwick.

The venues that hosted this weekend’s festival–specifically Hot 97 and Sunday’s semi-secret house party–were a throwback to my teenage years of pounding 40s at punk-rock basement shows. The sense of community throughout the weekend was refreshing in an era where the internet has essentially replaced the need for a local scene. Bushwick and its surrounding areas are chocked full of super talented bands, and that has never been more apparent than it was this weekend.

Girl Power



One of our favorite trends at the festival was the strong presence of female musicians. The whole indie/DIY scene can turn into a bit of a boys’ club at times, but bands like Slothrust, Frankie Cosmos, Chumped and many more were a welcome reminder that there is much more to “Brooklyn Girls” than Catey Shaw would lead you to believe.

Friday: Dead Stars and Frankie Cosmos

Though Thursday featured some solid sets from good bands, the festival seemed to pick up a lot of steam Friday evening. Fresh off an appearance at 4Knots Festival, Dead Stars turned in yet another impressive set at 1.21 Gigawatts Festival. Later that night, Frankie Cosmos delivered one of the weekend’s more endearing sets. Greta Kline’s appeal lies in her inexperience and presumed innocence, but her talent as a songwriter is undeniable.

Loser Cruiser’s one-man band

So what happens when the rest of your band gets arrested/flakes the week of your live debut? If you’re Loser Cruiser’s Kieren Smith, you get on stage and play with yourself. With a little prerecorded green-screen magic, Smith played along with a projection of himself on drums and bass. It was a brilliant ‘lemons to lemonade’ kind of moment, and his jangly surf rock tunes were perfect for an early afternoon time slot.

Honduras slays Saturday night


Honduras played a particularly memorable set.

This band has become known for putting on a sick live show, but Saturday night at Hot 97.4 was on whole different level. We got a preview of what they are capable of during a recent Gigawatts showcase at Union Pool, but this set somehow managed to take it up a notch. Maybe it was the atmosphere of the venue, but the band’s set this weekend felt like one of those “I was there when…” moments.

Saturday night at Hot 97.4

In addition to a standout performance from Honduras, Saturday night’s lineup at Hot 97.4 included killer sets from Heeney, Mannequin Pussy and more. The evening hit a little bit of snag toward the end when the P.A. systems went up in smoke (literally), forcing Slothrust to play an instrumental set. It was a bit of bummer, but the band still managed to melt some faces without vocals.

Team Spirit close out the weekend at ‘Haybaby Cat Farm’

Yes, that is the name of the residence that hosted the festival’s exclusive house party on Sunday. Most of the people who came out for this show had soldiered through a long weekend, and by the time Team Spirit started their set, everyone was ready to let off some steam. The informal, energetic set was a perfect send-off for a successful festival weekend.

Article by Jason Schellhardt

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