The Best Shows in NYC This Week: Arcade Fire + The Unicorns + DFA + AFROPUNK + The Clean + Sky Ferriera + Greys + Robyn + Royksopp + Porches + Small Black + goodness + and goodness + more goodness
Written by Patrick McNamara
Be excellent to each other.
Party on, dudes.
Dust in the wind.
Life is but a dream.
Might as well go see a show.
Let’s get into the goodness.
Monday - August 18th, 2014 A.D.
I just want to start on a personal note. Today is the birthday of one Ms. Claire Rockness. And this dynamic music blob simply wouldn’t exist without her. That we’ve managed to somehow hang around for 10 years is a testament to her positive perseverance. Happy birthday, Claire. Thanks for the blob!
OK. Let’s get even more serious. Greys headline Baby’s All Right tonight and that band seriously shreds. And I’m not talking about paper, either. But I bet they could tear sheets up with the best of them. I’m talking shreds of the serious slay-age type. No, man. Not the Knight kind. But I bet they could down a dragon if they wanted too. Hey. Guess what? The Dirty Nil + Hector’s Pets + Washer are playing this show and they’re all good too. You’ll have a good time at this one. I guarantee* it.
(*guarantee not a guarantee if you have an extremely comfortable couch in a friendly and spacious apartment with relaxing feng shui and you just want to take it easy to start the week and settle in and watch your life drift away)
Chris Gethard does a set at Silent Barn. He’s a funny man. You should go see him. And I should mind my own business. I would also like to direct you to this touching article he recently wrote about Robin Williams’ passing. It’s got a lot of heart. And heart gets me every single time.
Or, if you feel like dancing (on a Monday night? you b KRAY, bb bae bae boo boo) London’s electronic alt heroes Crystal Fighters spins and whirls a DJ set at Cameo Gallery tonight. Remember those days when all those bands were using “Crystal” in their names? I tell ya, man, we’ve seen alllll the name trends these past ten years doing this dynamic blob. Ghost. Horse. Bear. Wolf. Black. And on and on it goes as we all spin along on this round rock that's floating in outer space.
Tuesday - August 19th, 2014 A.D.
Basement + Pity Sex + Ovlov + Superheaven (formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known as The Symbol Formerly Known as the Band Daylight) play a pretty punky poppy emo-ish one at Emmanuel Lewis* Hall. I think when it’s all said and done you’ll remember the guitars the most at this one. Assuming you go. If you don’t, why are we even having this convo? I wish I knew, dear Rockness reader….I wish I knew...
(*still trying with that one - still trying - it takes #heart)
Vibing alt dance popsters ASTR play a free show (with RSVP - which stands for Remember Some Vibing Pants) at this place Space Ninety 8 in The Williams Burgh tonight. If the following song isn’t a big time vibing alt dance jam it’s time to call it quits and pack it in. No more Whoa My Blobness. We no longer know the jams. This blob is all washed up.
Speaking of vibing alt dance (which only we have spoken of ever) Norway’s Royksopp presses some buttons, twiddles some knobs, and spins some levers at Output tonight. These guys like it a little more low key. So you don’t necessarily need to remember your vibing pants. Loose, breathable, and comfortable slacks will do just fine.
Smooth grooves singer/producer/bajillion record sales breadwinner Jeremih + hip to the hop duo Run the Jewels (El-P + Killer Mike) do it up at SIR Stage 37 for The FADER and VitaminWater’s #Uncapped series. And I don’t know about you, but any chance to hang out on 37th street and 10th avenue in Manhattan is a chance I’m taking 1000% of the time.
Wednesday - August 20th, 2014 A.D.
There’s this brand new emerging buzzy hot alt recording artist from Sweden named Robyn. And all the leading music blobs assure me she’s going to hit it big. Robyn plays Pier 97 in Hudson River Park. I know I mentioned a couple weeks ago that Pier 84 was my favorite pier (of course you remember what you read on the internet two weeks ago of course you do!) but I’ve changed my mind. My favorite is now Pier 97. Or, maybe Pier 29. Pier 162 is pretty good too, though. And that I don’t back down from.
Comedian Dave Hill does Littlefield tonight. The sex should be incredible.
Sweet singing soul songstress Frances Cone and The Novel Ideas (I have no recollection writing that band profile I just linked to - seriously - that’s what ten years will do to a blob) play Knitting Factory. Here’s a canned quote for the press release. “Don’t get PWND. Go see Frances Cone.”
Thursday - August 21st, 2014 A.D.
New Zealand’s The Clean have been playing pretty close to perfect jingle jangle pop since 1978. That means I’ve had 36 years to see this fine band and I still haven’t done it. Good news. That all changes tonight. Because I’m going to Rough Trade to see them play. I don’t have any say in the matter. Fate texted me and said it has already been decided. Oh well. Guess I’ll just roll with it like I roll with writing this dynamic digital web copy. There are no road maps on this thing. Only run-on sentences and incomplete jokes. But the recommendations are 10000% terrific.
Such Hounds play Death by Audio (with Fletcher C. Johnson). This is so coincidental and crazy and weird but I JUST wrote about this fine Brooklyn band. It’s almost like I planned that shit. But it doesn’t matter what I say, it matters what they say. And Such Hounds say they sound like “Tom Petty snorkeling in bong water.” BANG.
I also recently wrote about Rivergazer. I don’t know why. I guess I just like writing about sad, strange, wonderful, ennui-soaked bands. Main man Kevin Farrant (a Porches pal) and his live crew (I don’t know who) play Shea Stadium with Flagland and friends. It’ll be a good one. Bet.
Independent popsters Bishop Allen (here's to you, 7-year-old band profile) has been around seemingly forever. I certainly remember seeing them circa 2002. That was before Whoa My Blobness even existed! How did I find out they were even playing that night I saw them in 2002?!?! Anyway, they play Glasslands tonight... if their members aren’t too busy making alt movies or starting trillion dollar alt dating websites.
Other notable shows = X performing “Los Angeles” at City Winery + The Hood Internet + DJ Body Language at (le) poisson rouge + Hieroglyphics at Brooklyn Bowl + JD Samson at Friends and Lovers (free) + George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic at Watermark
Friday - August 22nd, 2014 A.D.
Emerging buzzy alt tipping hot indie band Arcade Fire play Barclay’s Center with The Unicorns and Dan Deacon tonight (and again Saturday and Sunday). Did I ever tell you about the time I saw Arcade Fire play Arlene’s Grocery during the day at CMJ 2004 with Saturday Looks Good To Me + Sparta + Prosaics + Q and Not U? I’ll snore you later with that story. But I guarantee none of those other bands grew up to have a damn DRESS CODE at one of their shows. I wonder if Arcade Fire were on water skis jumping over a shark when they thought that one up. The alts are never going to let them forget it.
Do you like getting Baked? Yeahhhhhh, man. I do too. This lo-fi “blissed the psych out” #good #band celebrates the release of their #good #new record “Debt” tonight at Shea Stadium (with Porches - but I’m done talking about Porches on this thing this week).
Guided by Voices play The Paramount. These DIY alt indie rock heart heroes have 22 records since forming in 1983. And that’s just the full-length full band stuff. I could count how many other releases Bob Pollard and crew have released as solo stuff and side projects and all the comps and b-sides and shit. But I’m not going to do that. Because I’m not a psychopath. And I have a blob to run.
LA’s OFF! play Europa. The punks in this band were also in some other bands called Circle Jerks (who?) and Black Flag (huh?) and Redd Kross (wha?) and Burning Brides (not familiar) and Rocket From the Crypt (not sure) and Hot Snakes (never heard).
The lovely swirling synth-tastic melodious popster rock of TEEN lead the free (no) charge at Brooklyn Night Bazaar. You can go to this. But you can’t pay anybody any money to get in, man. Sorry if that is disappointing to some of you who like to pay for things. :(
Speaking of free, Dead Gaze play a free show at South Street Seaport. It’s one of the last shows there this year. SAD FACE (i don’t know how to make that emoticon). So it might be a good idea to go listen to some chill pop like this and reflect on all we’ve accomplished this summer and all that we’ve lost.
Saturday - August 23rd, 2014 A.D.
The FREE two-day AFROPUNK FEST starts today at Commodore Barry Park in Ft. Greene with such notable stars as Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings + Bad Brains + Body Count + Trash Talk + Shabazz Palaces playing (and more AND that’s just Day #1 - don't even get me started on Day #2). I recently learned that Oh My Rockness and AFROPUNK are the very same age. You wanna party together, AFROPUNK? Cool! And even though Facebook is our same age too let’s not invite them, OK, because it would be just a bunch of old aunts and random cousins from our past showing up and who needs that, I sure don’t, do you?
Again speaking of free, Small Black (good band - let's hear it for that 4 year old band profile, tho) + Kevin Morby (good man) play at The Lot in Long Island City today. Music. Film. Art. Food. All Ages. Free. Rain. Shine. Guaranteed. Good Time.
There’s also a DFA (a local record label - I think I’ve heard of it) PARTY happening at The Wick with Museum of Love + DJ Sinkane + Holy Ghost! + Nancy Wang. So bring your cowbells, y’all, (that’s a ten year old joke right there) and get ready to dance your ass off. Don’t worry about how you’ll sit on anything tomorrow. For tomorrow will worry about itself.
(Special Guest also scheduled to appear - I hope it’s Michael Jordan - but it might just be James Murphy - one never knows)
The synth heroic Hooray for Earth + eccentro-popsters* Porches (I said I was DONE talking about Porches on this THING this WEEK and WHY won’t ANYONE ever LISTEN to ME) play Bowery Ballroom tonight. Good show. You should go. And I should (time to chime in now, all 13 of you regular readers of this thing) “MIND MY OWN BUSINESS.”
(*still trying with the eccentro-pop thing - still trying)
Donald Cumming (of The Virgins) + Rush Midnight + The Teen Age + Born Cages play Brooklyn Night Bazaar. Did you know you never have to pay to go to a show at that place? The 13 regular readers of this dynamic thing certainly know because I’ve told them approximately 52 times on this thing. But for the rest of you…. this good show is free. You heard it here FOURTH.
Other notable shows = Arcade Fire at Barclays (already told you, tho) + Pile at Cake Shop + Guided by Voices at Stone Pony + Frog Eyes at Rough Trade + Liturgy at Pioneer Works + John Talabot at Output for FIXED + Ski Lodge at Glasslands
Sunday - August 24th, 2014 A.D.
Sky Ferreira plays The Surf Lodge. This one is also free. But there’s no such thing as free in Montauk. Which is where this show is. Everything is embarrassing but do you know what’s REALLY embarrassing? I’ve never been to Montauk. And I feel kind of alright about it. Somebody’s gotta keep it real and hold Brooklyn down while the rest of you go splashy splashy in the sandy wandy.
(jk - i’m dying to go to Montauk someday but nobody has ever asked me - SAD FACE)
Seattle/Chicago/Tulsa’s Unwed Sailor (main singer-songwriter traveling troubadour man Johnathon Ford likes to see America) has been making the indie goodness since 1989. The band play Union Hall tonight. For fans of Pedro the Lion and Couch Slut.
(jk about Couch Slut - file that band under: #terrifying)
You may have noticed I’ve been peppering this thing with X performances this week. But I wasn’t really ready to talk about this legendary punk band other than to throw their name in the old “Other Notable Shows” section a few times. But now I am finally ready to give them some real space. And here’s what I have to say. X perform their album “More Fun in the New World” at City Winery tonight. That’s it. That's all I got. I can’t go on. I have nothing left to give.
Sincere thanks for reading this thing and sticking around all the way to the end. Let’s do it again sometime. How’s next week work with your schedule? Mine's pretty free and easy.
Be excellent to each other.
Party on, dudes.
Dust in the wind.
Life is but a dream.