Season 8: Year in Review

Part 3 of 4. For a short review of our whole season, please click here.

Our 2018 music program focused on presenting a genre-spanning, international array of artists pushing the boundaries of what is possible when collaboration and interaction are placed at the forefront.

Our two annual music festivals, Basilica SoundScape and 24-HOUR DRONE invited artists – from contemporary Indonesian gamelan to politically motivated post-punk – who eschew conventional aesthetics in favor of true innovation.

We recreated Montreal here in Hudson for a one-off show with old friends Godspeed You! Black Emperor. We were proud to host a wide range of free live music events, from Matana Roberts’ sunset homage to jazz icon Jeanne Lee, to La Force’s album release show, to Nick Zinner, Zachary Lipez and Stacy Wakefield’s live music-photography-reading hybrid performance.

Our biennial Pioneering People Basilica Benefit this year honored artist, feminist and pioneer Courtney Love, with musicians from Justin Vivian Bond & Kenny Mellman to the teenage girls of Woodstock’s Rock Academy honoring Courtney Love’s music with innovative reworkings and reimaginings.

DRONERS joined us from Russia to Hong Kong and from Hudson to Saratoga for our fourth annual 24-HOUR DRONE: EXPERIMENTS IN SOUND AND MUSIC, with most making the commitment to the full 24-hour long-form experience. Aided and sustained by healing food, the restorative reiki and meditative art and craft, DRONERS experienced a spectrum of sound from traditional Indonesian classical to inclusive and participatory acapella choral. With exchange and communion at its core, 2018’s 24-HOUR DRONE was everything we could have hoped for, a buoyant, transformative homage to sound, enjoyed and honored without the tight hands of time.

“Soundscape is certainly unlike most festivals, emphasizing strong live sound, broad genre representation, and a legitimately diverse lineup; there just aren’t many other settings where an unusual post-punk/electronic band like Boy Harsher can capture a sizable audience at a headlining time. By asking audiences to pay close attention to heady, drawn-out, sometimes abrasive performances, Soundscape challenges the notion that festivals exist more for partying or networking than serious artistic experiences.”
Brooklyn Vegan
From the ambitious visual art take-over of Basilica’s Main Hall by Catskill-based artist Laleh Khorramian, to the US premiere of Stephen O Malley’s Un Vide Dans Le Ciel, SoundScape 2018 also marked the first-time collaboration between Basilica Hudson and Bard College-based The Orchestra Now. Drones merged with glassy ambient guitar in Nick Zinner x The Haxan Cloak’s late-night wrap up, composed specifically for Basilica SoundScape. Contemporary dance duo FlucT harnessed the power of the body, hitting the concrete floor with vision and power, before turning over to the underworldly noise of Prurient. Lightning Bolt’s visceral drumstick-to-skin power created the weekend’s moshpit, while intimate North Hall performances by Boy Harsher, Usnea, Hanif Abdurraqib and the unveiling of Wax Idols’ Hether Fortune’s new solo project wove the weekend together. Much more followed, closed out with healing and ceremonial Sunday morning conversations, brunch, WGXC record fair and TRIPTYCH – an event hinged on QPOC and Hudson’s own powerful voices.

“Courtney’s a Pioneer. Her legacy is vital to the voice of women in our culture. The passion she brings to her life and art fuels the long-fought battle for the empowerment of alternative voices as they take center stage at last! There’s no one as punk and fearless as Courtney, and she deserves a creative bouquet of honoring. Her power onstage is a massive force to be reckoned with. She broke new ground, combining raw and powerful rock music and lyrics of a singular feminist perspective, with her escapades as a Hollywood actress. Her legacy cannot be erased or confused by sexist or fearful critics. To have her at Basilica, and to rally around that legacy, is very healing for me personally, as her former bass player and old friend. It feels like our journeys as women are coming full-circle in tandem with this nation’s conflicted and shocking trajectory of women’s rights and women’s rage.”
Melissa Auf der Maur, Basilica Co-Founder and Director
Our biennial Pioneering People Basilica Benefit was an unforgettable night, filled with powerful performances, generosity, adventurous spirit and unique takes on Courtney Love’s art. We were honored to have so many incredible artists gracing the stage, and so many friends with us to share the magic and the power.

Legendary Montreal musical collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor returned to Basilica Hudson in August. The band, who last performed at Basilica in 2015, joined us for their third performance at Basilica in support of their seventh full-length album Luciferian Towers. It was an honor to have the Montreal clan and opener Jessica Moss return to our industrial church for another evening of upstate sonic immersion. The band’s mesmerizing live music; sense-rattling, wall-of-sound performance; and clunky-beautiful film loops made for a perfect evening in our industrial art factory.

We hosted a fully improvised sunset homage to jazz icon Jeanne Lee by alt-composer Matana Roberts. Our friends at Art Omi returned, inviting their 2018 music residents to perform for a free afternoon of avant-garde improvisations. La Force (Ariel Engle of Broken Social Scene) celebrated the release of her debut record with a full band show. Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Zachary Lipez and Stacy Wakefield showcased a live music-photography-reading hybrid performance of their new book 131 Different Things.


Over the next two years, Basilica will redouble our efforts to provide free community space, and to expand our free programs and regional partnerships by taking on the immediate climate and energy crisis our planet faces. Help us expand our programming into 2019 and beyond by contributing to our programs, or by becoming a Basilica Member.

COLLABORATORS: Le Guess Who?, Sarah Van Buren, The Creative Independent, Sacred Bones, Jenn Pelly, Shanekia McIntosh & Joey DeJesus

IMAGE CREDITS: Slideshow images by Tomm Roeschlein, Richard Lovrich, Julia Drummond, Samantha Marble and Jennifer Lynn Morse; Hudson Boys Club at 24-HOUR DRONE 2018 by Julia Drummond; FlucT at Basilica SoundScape 2018 by Samantha Marble for The Creative Independent; Melissa Auf der Maur at Pioneering People Courtney Love by Samantha Marble; 131 Different Things by Tomm Roeschlein

SUPPORTERS: Red Bull, Kickstarter Music, Second Ward Foundation, Lumberyard, Savi, Poets & Writers, WGXC, Half Moon, The Collaborative