It’s finally here! Today marks the kick off of Northside Festival’s music portion, and thanks to the hard work of everyone involved with the festival, there are so many excellent shows to attend that I’ve separated previews out by genre to help Brooklynites parse the extensive schedules. For those who associate Northside Fest mostly with indie rock, yes, that is the bread and butter here. Luckily, an emphasis on local bands and other people from underrepresented factions reveals to us one thing: rock and roll is alive and kicking. So return to your roots tonight with the ever-excellent Wolf Parade, or venture out to see newcomers like Aye Nako. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. Here’s a rundown of more rock shows that could be in your very near future, if you’d only let them.
Date and Time: Thursday, 6/9 @ Shea Stadium, 10:45 PM
Aye Nako are a Brooklyn band composed of Mars Dixon, Angie Boylan, Jade Payne, and Joe McCann, who use pop punk to fearlessly tackle race, queerness, trauma and privilege over the course of buzzy, quick-hitting melodies. They’ve labeled themselves as “queercore” before, which is honestly one of the best sub/muddled genre names I’ve heard anyone come up with lately. Go see them if you like your songs to have hooks–and also teeth that snap back at the heteronormative white patriarchy. Even if you think you don’t care about that kind of political agenda, their fierce energy and chemistry will change your mind.
Date And Time: Thursday, 6/9 @ Rough Trade, 9 PM
I’ve written about Long Beard so many times I’m beginning to feel like a broken record (ha! fun fact for the real heads: my last post ever for ‘Gum was on Long Beard). If you’re still sleeping on Leslie Bear and her fearsome trio of dream-pop purveyors, please go see them unspool the night sky in song form tonight over at Rough Trade. She’ll begin playing at 9 PM; I’ll begin weeping at 9:05 PM. If you believe sadness is the highest form of catharsis, come cry too.
Date and Time: Thursday, 6/9 @ Aviv, 10:40 PM
If you’d like to read a longer bit I wrote last year about how much I love Grooms’ Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair go here. Otherwise, I will just say this is one of my very favorite New York bands and they are unmissable as a live act. Your hair will be in completely different shape by the time this show is over. Plus, a little bird told me their new record is almost done, so you might hear something entirely new at the concert.
$10 at the door, free with badge
Date And Time: Thursday, 6/9 @ Aviv, 8:50 PM
Patio is one of my favorite emerging bands in New York right now–scathing lyrics matched to honey-sweet melodies has always been a winning formula, but they do it incredibly well. This Brooklyn trio is unafraid to get down into the grit of things, digging through the pain until things begin to slowly heal, crystallizing wisdom in brief melodic bursts.
$10 at the door, free with badge
Date and Time: Saturday, 6/11 @ Palisades, 5:15 PM // Sunday, 6/12 @ Aviv, 9:15 PM
You may have read my raving about Haybaby earlier this week in a piece about Bushwick’s own mini festival, Color Me Bushwick, that took place last weekend. The punky trio were that festival’s headliner of sorts, closing out a three-day set of 30+ bands with a ferocious, spiky set of songs. They’re play a little bit earlier in the schedule on Saturday night, but have a similar close-out show at 9:15 on Sunday. So even if you miss everything else, get your ass out to that closing set. Just trust me on this one–you’re about to see this band everywhere you go, don’t you want to say you knew their music back when?
Date And Time: Sunday, 6/12 @ McCarren Park, 6:30 PM
You should make an effort to check out Hinds while their stateside, because this incredible all-girl grungey rock group hails from Madrid. They are making Spanish garage rock that rivals anything put out by the lackluster slack rockers in the states. If you’d like to read an interview with the extremely charming quartet, I did one earlier this year that can be found here. My guess is they’ll sound even better on an outdoor stage, so come see them on Sunday evening in the park before Brian Wilson!
Date And Time: Saturday, 6/11 @ Bedford Ave. & N 5th Street, 4 PM
In case you missed it–everyone’s favorite queer-as-fuck power pop duo PWR BTTM are playing a free show in the middle of Williamsburg on Saturday evening! Perhaps you were dead last year, or in a coma, so you missed the release of Ugly Cherries that smashed a big gaping hole through the brick wall of cishet bullshit that’s been built up around all of us! Or even if you were listening and totally unwoke, then you probably still noticed they do synth-and-ooohs better than anyone since our old favorites like Motion City Soundtrack were still relevant. What I’m saying is Ugly Cherries is just the beginning for Liv Bruce and Ben Hopkins, and the chance to see what else they’ve been up to almost a year after it was released is one you should by all means follow up on.
The show is free, so as long as you can find it, girl you’re good.
Date and Time: Saturday, 6/11 @ National Sawdust 8 PM & 11:30 PM
Liz Harris. Remember that name and repeat after me: Liz Harris. She creates music that sounds otherworldly, like it came from an aquatic world beneath ours and accidentally slipped out into the air to grace us. She makes me want to fall in love with the sea and leave soil behind altogether. Perhaps you don’t call music that whispers and shimmers in the way hers does “rock” in which case my response is simple: fuck you. Harris and Grouper are reimagining the bounds of the rock and roll world, hell maybe even the physical world, to let something viscous and wet and overwhelming in. Twist the faucet further.
Jeff The Brotherhood
Date And Time: Friday, 6/10 @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg, 11 PM
Nashville scuzz-rock masterminds Jeff The Brotherhood left behind the major label scene, founded their own enterprise (Infinity Cat), and put out one of the best rock albums of 2015, Wasted On The Dream. Well, the dream is still very much alive and will be taking the stage tomorrow at the illustrious Music Hall of Williamsburg. Go there to thrash out all your disillusionment and return to the world ready to face down the bullshit. What’s a brotherhood for, am I right? (Yes, I believe the spirit of brotherhood is a gender neutral term that encompasses all forms and expressions of human grace and dignity. You should choose that interpretation too).