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festival review: the boroughs nyc culture festival

The New York inspired culture festival known as ‘The Boroughs’, toured the major cities in October, promising bands, DJs, art installations, galleries, pop-up cinema, market stalls and fashion displays. While the Sydney event  (which took place at the University Manning Bar) was lacking some of the aforementioned exhibitions, the gig did make up for these losses in its impressive musical line up.

Local Sydney band The Salvages kicked off the night with their indie rock tunes and eclectic set of tracks, before the Bloody Lovely Audery’s took the stage with their noticeably dirtier rock sound. Their driving guitar riffs pleased the emerging crowds which included young hipsters, wannabe punks and some older New York Dolls fans, who were enjoying the sense of nostalgia.

With influences that include Nirvana, Queens of the Stoneage and Sonic Youth, triple j unearthed winners Fait Accompli were the next band in line whose up-beat tracks were welcomed, before the catchy quartet Straight Arrows successfully warmed up the audience for the much anticipated headlining act– the influential glamour punk group, New York Dolls.

Renowned for pre-empting punk music in the early 1970s and influencing The Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads, front man David Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, recently re-formed to release the album Dancing Backwards in High Heels. Thankfully though, the band played a selection of hits, along with some new tracks. Age has certainly not affected Johansen, who was dressed in his usual glam attire – a tight sequined hot pink top that showed off his midriff, while Sylvain sported a red leather hat and matching zip-up T-shirt. Both danced on stage and performed a tight, entertaining and memorable show.

It will be interesting to see how the boutique Boroughs Festival evolves in the future after bringing the Dolls to our shores this year. You can also read my interview with David Johansen here:

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