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OUCH! THAT FEELS GOOD! The Toothaches stirred the froth that eventually led to bloody noses during the Eskalators’ set. 

On the first morning of Hillstock — a three-day Brooklyn-based DIY music fest split among a backyard, a warehouse, and a block party — I awoke wearing face paint and covered in confetti and bruises. The paint and confetti came courtesy of the glitter guns of Brooklyn-via-Boston power-pop band the Toothaches, the bruises courtesy of the inspired hundreds in attendance.

Friday night (June 3) began in a concrete bunker of a warehouse along the waterfront in Williamsburg. Inside were two stages set against adjacent sides of the square space, which allowed for a disjointed round-robin and guaranteed an absence of silence. The room was straight out of the "Smells like Teen Spirit" video and the crowd's antics devolved in a fantastically similar '90s-grunge kind of way.

The Toothaches fucked the audience with day-glo spiked garage-pop synth-rock and stirred the froth that eventually led to bloody noses and bruises galore for the ska-punk anthems of the Eskalators (the band of Hillstock co-founder and fellow ex-Bostonian Eric Williams). From the back of the space at the end of the night, the So So Glo's set played like a slideshow of silhouettes, as bodies bounced at the mercy of hundreds of hands. "It's really exciting to see this scene mature," said Rose Blakelock of the Toothaches. "[Hillstock] created a really positive experience in a city that can often be pretty cruel."

Saturday presented the more subdued side of the festival in an all-day Bushwick block party, but the hook was provided by the disenchanted hymns of the all-girl trio the Honey Dos. Their bizarro take on the reverb-filled, sun-soaked sound championed by bands like Vivian Girls and Best Coast was refreshing in its perverted candor: tales of God's pubic hair, bad sex, and good drugs related via fuck-it-all attitude and sweet, sing-songy harmonies.

Delivering three days of genre-bending, state-hopping frivolity among countless bands (Sunday's "backyard picnic" included Easter Vomit and a closing set by Laura Stevenson), Hillstock for the third year proved itself as essential an institution as any of the larger festivals in the country.

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  Topics: Music Features , New York, Music, live reviews,  More more >
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