The Best Shows in NYC This Week: Governors Ball + Kurt Vile + Disclosure + Soundgarden + Janelle Monae (free) + more upcoming musical goodness.
Written by Patrick McNamara
I often fire off these Best Shows This Week things on the fly. Totally hard to believe, I know. Sure. I'll quickly scan our show listings first. But I like to take them one day at a time. I never scroll ahead. ‘Cause tomorrow never comes. And I prefer not to know.
On rare occasions, though, I’ll look at the entire week of upcoming shows in order to look at the bigger picture and reflect upon the different moving parts while considering the lilies of the field. Well I just did that. And now I'm totally overwhelmed. Because there are just a TON of good shows this week. But don’t worry. We’ll get through this difficult time. Together. Forever. Amen.
Let’s wade through these amber waves of goodness. One day at a time.
You can count on me. I won't let you down.
Monday - June 2nd, 2014 A.D.
Two of my new favorite bands play the same show tonight. I love when that happens. Fuzzy bliss punks Tomorrow’s Tulips (click that) + ingenious lo-fi folk popster / college kid Alex G (click that too) play The Studio at Webster Hall tonight (click that last one if you want - but it'll just tell you the same things I just did).
(Tomorrow’s Tulips also play Glasslands tomorrow - and Wednesday at Cake Shop - which may confuse things - since this space is reserved for shows happening today - you see? - this is what I get for skipping ahead and not taking it one day at a time)
Soundgarden play the big Webster Hall tonight. Did you know it’s the 20th anniversary of their 1994 album “Superunknown” featuring the smash hit song “Black Hole Sun?” Did you know this is one of my least favorite songs of all time? Did you know that tickets cost $19.94 to get into this show? Did you know that’s extremely dorky? Do you know why this show is on a feature called The Best Shows This Week? Because “Badmotorfinger” was a good album. Released three years before "Superunknown" - the album that still gives me the howling fantods.
Living Colour play City Winery tonight. Hey. Maybe you’ll go to this. Maybe you won’t. But I used to shred out to this song. and I'm pretty sure it still sorta shreds to this day. But I'm open to considering your #alt opinion on this matter.
Soundgarden. Living Colour. Arsenio Hall.
Whoa My Blobness: breaking the emerging and buzzy alt bands since 2004.
Tuesday - June 3rd, 2014 A.D.
DC riiiot pnnnks Priests play Cake Shop tonight. There will be shrrreds and shrrrieks and snarrrrls. Bettt.
Super solid jingle-janglers Gold-Bears play Shea Stadium tonight (with Rad Dreams + Hippy + Freelings). File Under: Slumberland. Because that’s the record label this band is on. RIYL: things working out. Because they will. Stream this really good Gold-Bears song at your leisure and whenever you want to start the first day of the rest of your life.
L.A. band Failure was a ‘90s “alternative” band that were similar to Nirvana and Soundgarden except in sound and success. Failure recently reunited and play Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight - a couple months after touring with Tool. A Failure reunion. What could possibly go wrong?
Wednesday - June 4th, 2014 A.D.
You know we made a massive guide that lists all the good Free Summer Shows in NYC, yeah? That thing is 100+ strong. And tonight has but 2 of them. But 2 is better than none. And it only takes 1. I hope you remember that, man.
Mark McGuire + Marissa Nadler + Delicate Steve play a FREE SUMMER SHOW in/at Red Hook Park tonight. And you know what that means, the 13 of you who regularly read this thing. That’s right. It’s BUTTERFLY TIME.
Super famous pop songstress Janelle Monae plays a FREE SUMMER SHOW in/at Prospect Park tonight for Celebrate Brooklyn! Seeing a solid concert at the bandshell while also considering the cosmos is just a lovely summertime experience. And remember. YOU. SHALL. NOT. PAY.
Kishi Bashi (a frequent member of Of Montreal) is probably the best rock star violinist. Well, it’s either Kishi or maybe Andrew Bird or perhaps Owen Pallett. And while I don’t like supporting liars (Of Montreal are from Athens and that’s IN GEORGIA) you should consider going to see Kishi at Bowery Ballroom tonight (and tomorrow at Music Hall of Williamsburg). There will be loops. And sorry. This show doesn't fit the previously established pattern. You have to pay for this one.
Other notable shows tonight = Modern Baseball (click that) and The Hotelier (click that) at Asbury Lanes + Futurebirds at Rough Trade + The Austerity Program at Saint Vitus + The Teen Age at Pianos + The Queers at The Grand Victory
Thursday - June 5th, 2014 A.D.
Speaking of considering the cosmos. Which I was just a few short lines ago. Neil Degrasse Tyson (probably my current favorite astrophysicist) talks with Eugene Mirman for StarTalk Live! at Beacon Theater tonight. You might wanna "bake" some "souffles" in Central Park before this one. Because you’ll need some fuel for your trip to MARS. And that’s why I’m starting this section with a show that’s not even about music, man.
Kurt Vile & the Violators play Brooklyn Bowl tonight and this will be the chillest time you have ever spent at a bowling alley in your entire life. It’ll even beat that one time you were in the zone and scored that high score and figured you had this bowling thing finally figured out until the next time when you realized it was not just a fluke but you probably lost all your briefly held bowling skills forever. Sic Transit Gloria. Glory Fades.
Uh-oh. The too too sexy big time beats are back. London’s Disclosure does a DJ set at Output tonight. And if you were to ask me what the real difference was between a Disclosure DJ set and a Disclosure live set I would simply nod and smile and slowly walk away.
(I told you about that time I heard a Disclosure song in Bed, Bath, and Beyond right? I’m pretty sure I did. I was buying that orange duvet, remember?)
The Woodhead brothers return to wreak synth-punk eccentro-pop havoc upon us. Toronto’s Doldrums (Airick Woodhead’s band) and Toronto’s Moon King (Daniel Woodhead’s* band) play Baby’s All Right tonight.
(*not to be confused with pint-sized-tough-as-nails-we-root-for-the-underdogs-like-rocky-and-rudy Danny Woodhead)
Modern Baseball (you don't have to click that again) and The Hotelier (same) play Webster Hall (Florida Marlin Room) tonight (with Tiny Moving Parts and Sorority Noise). Those are two really good alt indie emo punk pop punk bands right there. I even sing 'em in the shower sometimes. While waiting for my conditioner to do its magical thing. With great hair comes great responsibility.
Friday - June 6th, 2014 A.D.
The most popular show on the site for weeks until CHVRCHES strode past them, Governors Ball starts today at/on Randalls Island and continues all day/night Saturday and Sunday too. There are too many big bands playing to tell you about in this space. But I’ll tell you some of them. It's the least I can do. Phoenix + Jack White + Outkast + The Strokes + Vampire Weekend + Interpol. OK. That’s enough. Just click this link to see the full lineup for all three days/nights of the festival.
Alright, everybody! Double Up! Fucked Up and Big Ups play Bowery Ballroom tonight and we’re gonna go and they’re gonna knock this punk rock out of the park, OK? “Let’s go see this” on three. Ready? 1-23 “Let’s go see this!”
Why oh why can’t they be called Washed Up? It would have fit the previous discussion so perfectly. Oh well. Washed Out play Brooklyn Bowl tonight. And they sure as hell ain’t washed up. Still chill. After all these years.
James Blake does a DJ set at Output tonight. Exceptional jams with impressively strong backhands. This should not be confused with James Blake playing live - or the other James Blake - the former dub tennis star.
Canadian eccentro-pop duo Majical Cloudz play The Studio at Webster Hall tonight. Intense front dude Devon Welsh will stare you smack in the face as he delivers the melodic melancholy news. So be ready. The other dude, Matthew Otto, might not even notice you’re there, though. He’s got too many knobs and levers and pulleys to worry about. You think making these big time beats is easy?
Other notable shows = Diarrhea Planet at Asbury Lanes + King Khan & the Shrines at (le) poisson rouge + Dent May at Brooklyn Night Bazaar + R. Stevie Moore at Knockdown Center + and these fly ladies at Highline Ballroom….(fyi: they spend the entire first verse talking about how they're about to talk about sex)
Saturday - June 7th, 2014 A.D.
Governors Ball continues today/tonight. But we already discussed it. What more does this festival want from me?
It’s RadioLoveFest tonight at BAM. Three good shows on two stages. The Soundcheck Live! show is Hamilton Leithauser of The Walkman + San Fermin + Wyatt Cenac. The This American Life Live! shows (one early - one late) is Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields + Mike Birbiglia + Lin-Manuel Miranda. If you love radio and/or good music and/or funny comics you should consider going.
Andrew Bird is probably my favorite rock star violinist. Well, it’s either Andrew or maybe Kishi or perhaps Owen Pallett. And this opening is an A+ five-star slam dunk for any reader who remembers what I wrote on Wednesday. Birdman plays two shows at Rough Trade tonight. Nelly Furtado not scheduled to open. Even though she sang that song that went “I’m like Andrew Bird. I’ll only fly awayyy." Pretty sure that's how it went.
Today at 2pm is the first of Union Pool’s free Summer Thunder shows. Sub Pop Recording Stars Pissed Jeans (Allentown’s finest) + Philly’s Cold Fronts will punk this one up pretty good. So consider not paying to see it.
Speaking of free. There’s a free Angel Haze + The Death Set + Bad Rabbits show at House of Vans tonight. I hope you RSVP’d. Or, if you didn’t, I hope you don’t want to get into this show. Because you’re not going to. Oh well. It's only rock 'n roll.
Did someone say free? Avan Lava + The Shondes play a free show at this hot new club called the Brooklyn Museum. Good luck finding it. (pro tip: those massive marble columns mean you’re close)
Hoodie Allen play Bowery Ballroom tonight. And am I just mentioning this purely because I want to make my “Annie Shawl to open” joke again and I don't even like his songs? You’ll never know.
(Annie Shawl to open) (for Hoodie Allen)
Other notable shows = Classixx at Brooklyn Bowl + TEEN at The Surf Lodge (please note: that’s at a place called Montauk) + Julianna Barwick at Roulette + King Khan & the Shrines at Music Hall of Williamsburg + The Chain Gang of 1974 at Knitting Factory + Cayucas at Glasslands + DIANA at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar
Sunday - June 8th, 2014 A.D.
Governors Ball continues today/tonight. This is the last of the mentions. I mean it now.
Hoodie Allen play Bowery Ballroom again tonight. Annie Shawl to open.
Damon Albarn plays Irving Plaza. This one costs 45 bones. Didn’t he just play here? Or maybe I’m thinking of that puppet monkey opera thing he was doing. I think even that was at least a year ago. I don’t know. It’s all a blur.
I.U.D. with special guest player Kim Gordon rips PS 1 a new one tonight. By the way, did you check out PS 1’s summer Warm Up schedule? You’ll probably want to do that. If you like dancing outside to the beautiful sounds with the beautiful people, that is.
That’s it. The Best Shows This Week. Complete. One day at a time.
Thanks for reading. Now pick some of these shows and go stand around and look at your phone like a champion.