2018-09-12 / Features

Bandfest IV At The Bohemian Hall Beer Garden


At Bandfest IV are (l. to r.): Favio Barrionuevo, Phil Difranco (front), Bandfest creator and host Erick Benitez, Carlos Silva, and Christian Lopez. 
Photo Justin Benitez At Bandfest IV are (l. to r.): Favio Barrionuevo, Phil Difranco (front), Bandfest creator and host Erick Benitez, Carlos Silva, and Christian Lopez. Photo Justin Benitez It was a beautiful day for music. The fourth annual Bandfest, hosted and created by Astoria native Erick Benitez, was gifted with outstanding weather in the outdoor beer garden at Bohemian Hall (29-19 24th Avenue in Astoria) on Saturday, August 25. The scent of grilled bratwurst and kielbasa sausages wafted through the air accompanied by ever-flowing Czech beer and a wine tasting sponsored by Alan Green.

The day-long festival began at 2 pm and lasted well into the evening hours. Nine bands performed, many of which have roots in Astoria, including DJ RicNYC who blasted crowd-pleasing dance music in between the live acts. Toy Animals kicked off the festival and played a strong set of avant-garde indie rock songs, featuring a sax player that doubled on keyboards. K-La followed, and played a solid set of acoustic rock. Papa Jack was up next, and they were fronted by a duo of charismatic women who sang a memorable version of Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man.” Babe Patrol was on the bill again from last year, but with a different lineup, and they delivered another round of foot-stomping punk. Whiskey River, also on the bill from last year, played a solid set of guitar heavy rock that was highlighted by an energetic version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Travelin’ Band.” The Unknowns delivered faultless classic rock covers that contained exquisite slide guitar work in an Allman Brothers’ version of the blues classic “One Way Out.” Zoe over Zero followed, and presented a cerebral set of electric tinged rock. The 10-45’s, led by energetic front man Eddie Nimrod, played an eclectic mix of cover songs ranging from the 1960s to 1990s, and culminated in an enjoyable singalong version of Cheech & Chong’s “Up In Smoke.” Tangerine, led by the gifted vocalist Cathy Lynn, furnished worthy renditions of Led Zeppelin covers and was a perfect headliner to close out the festival. Phil DiFranco lived up to his nickname, The Hardest Working Musician in Astoria. He played bass on four sets with four different bands; Toy Animals, K-La, Zoe Over Zero, and the 10- 45’s.


DJRicNYC. DJRicNYC. 
The Bohemian Hall Beer Garden, setting for Bandfest IV. 
Photos by Christian Lopez The Bohemian Hall Beer Garden, setting for Bandfest IV. Photos by Christian Lopez Erick Benitez is motivated by the Bandfest’s continuing success. He is beginning to plan next year’s festival, which will most likely return to its original venue of Astoria Park.

—Wally Stylus



Nelly and the Toy Animals. Nelly and the Toy Animals.

The Unknowns. The Unknowns.

Whiskey River. Whiskey River.

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