The Weekender

5) Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic, DJ Big Wiz, Busdriver at Irving Plaza

I have always disliked the term “thinking man’s band” as it consequently implies everything else in the genre was created by a quartet of orangutans banging on mom’s assorted kitchenware (funny then that early 90s, eastern-bloc industrial, largely performed with actual power tools, is some of headiest music ever released). Aesop Rock has long been labeled as such—which given his caucasian-ness raises some issues in a genre as historically and racially sticky as hip hop—but that shouldn’t stop you from checking out his Saturday night set at Brooklyn Bowl, where the “thinking man’s” MC is sure to read from excerpts from some of your favorite theses or whatever.

Saturday, doors at 8pm

4)Raekwon, Rakim at Studio 48

Comprising the second half of this weekend(er)’s double OG kickoff, former Wu Tang Clan kung fu kid-turned-middle-aged-man will be at midtown’s newest venue for a Friday night set that surely has a lot of right-coast rap heads dusting off their shadow boxing skills. Though Studio 48 is no 36th chamber, this one is still a must see for any fans of the original (sorry, Wiz) black and yellow.

Friday, doors at 6pm

3) Don Giovnanni Record Showcase w/ Laura Stevenson & The Cans, Jeffrey Lewis, Waxahatchee, Lemuria, Hilly Eye at Music Hall of Williamsburg 

Record label showcases are like the Costco of New York City show-going, offering bulk bills, variety, and a welcoming family atmosphere, all for one low price. Headlined by Long Island’s Laura Stevenson & The Cans, this one makes the list partly because it doubles as a fun game six degrees of separation, in which my girlfriend has eaten at the Buffalo diner where Lemuria front woman Sheena Ozzella works when not opening for Titus Andronicus, whose former band guitarist Amy Klein is now ripping solos for Hilly Eye. Long live punk polygamy, I guess.

Friday, doors at 7pm

2) Don Giovanni Records Showcase w/ Screaming Females, Black Wine, Stormshadow, Home Blitz, Shellshag

The second of Don Giovanni Records’ two-night, North 6th stand is headlined by their true leading ladies, Screaming Females, who return to Brooklyn after an extended rock n’ roll sabbatical. No word yet on what new Fender-degrading tricks Marissa Paternoster picked up while medically-mandated leave but if her recent comic strip is any indication, then she is still destroying men like she destroys guitars. So, fellas, if you’re going, go for the solos; good enough for second step on The Weekender podium might just be too good for all of us.

Saturday, 7pm

1) YOB, HULL, Bezoar at Saint Vitus

I have made my personal doom proclivities fairly transparent in this space over the past several months, latching onto one glacial-paced, resin-crusted Sabbath-séance after the next in a subconscious attempt, I guess, to alienate myself from the people I depend on the most (you). It doesn’t take Carl Jung, however, to tell you that Oregon trio YOB are arguably the best doom band in anti-Candy Land at the moment (Pallbearer or Bell Witch also have a hand or two on the Ouija board); which, when combined with the help of Brooklyn’s own HULL, make this one heavy in both the literal and figurative, 1981-adjective sense. If you’re looking for sunshine, raspberry Smirnoffs, and smiling, try Passion Pit/Matt and Kim instead. But if you’re looking to exorcise some work-week demons, then you came to the right place.

Sunday, doors at 7:30pm


Honorable Mentions

Going Up The Country

Brooklyn County Fair at The Bell House

Mad Man

RJD2 at Brooklyn Bowl

Honey, I’m Home!

The Wives, The Normal Living at Fontana’s