Given my affection for Savannah sludge outfit Black Tusk, as well as this weekend’s relative live-music calm before the SXSW storm, this show cracks the top-five with one of the most diverse heavy-bills to hit NYC in quite some time. KEN Mode (which almost unsurprisingly stands for “Kill Everyone Now”) play icy Manitoban noise-core, Fight Amp are from Jersey and sound like what east Newark looks like, and Today is the Day, despite their emo-appropriate name, whip up a southern-fried slaw of grindcore, noise, and prog. Together they comprise this bludgeoning Friday night set, which is going to absolutely shred ear drums down in Webster Hall’s quaint studio cloister. Black leather pants are a no, ear plugs a maybe, and tickets a full-bore fuck yes.
Friday, doors at 7pm
It defies some odds that in a city full of weekend ravers, part-time club rats, and full-time avant-artistes-turned-mixing-board-maestros, the proving ground for all forms of electronic music is, in fact, a non-descript yuppie-neighborhood warehouse space that up until a few months didn’t even have a sign out front. Of course, sign or no fucking sign, the Gallery’s recent glut of burgeoning and big-tier blip, bleep, and drop heads provides more than enough proof of existence. Riding the release wave of their sophomore full-length Hi Beams, local duo Javelin are on Kent Ave. with Hard Nips on Friday and I am personally imploring you not to let a mothballed and curmudgeonly Pitchfork review sour your attendance plans. This one is going to be crazy regardless.
Friday, doors at 11:30pm
The second Canadian band on this list, Halifax indie export Kestrels bring their North Atlantic gazing brand of ultra-melodic drone to our favorite LES bakery this weekend with the help of the best-named band in town, Soccer Moms. I’m guessing there won’t be any actual soccer moms in the crowd come Sunday (come on, guys, it’s a school night) but good music and a few beers to mourn the death of your weekend should more than make up for cougar-less climate. And if not, well, don’t stress; you’re young and there’s still plenty of time for both
Sunday, doors at 8pm
If you, like me, didn’t catch The Thermals at 285 Kent last night (because of prior music obligations), won’t make it to their Ace Hotel “5 at 5” set on Monday (because, well, you have a job), and aren’t making the SXSW pilgrimage (see above) then this could be your last chance to catch the west coast garage trio for quite awhile. I’m not saying a Jersey trek isn’t an adventure/pain in the ass, because it most definitely is, but if legitimate pay off for your efforts is something you’ve been starving for of late (cue gentle, unrequited weeping) then The Thermals, unlike everything else on this wretched spinning ball of dirt, are sure to oblige.
Friday, doors at 9pm
Pigeonhole them however you want—twee, indie-pop, Morrissey-wave—but the fact is this UK quartet produce bubonically catchy tunes of consistent quality that even the staunchest experimental John Cage acolyte might have trouble not tapping their foot to. The third act of a three-night hat trick for Bowery Ballroom (Youth Lagoon on Wednesday, The Men’s album release show last night), Veronica Falls claim this weekend’s top-spot on the back their February full length, Waiting For Something to Happen, a morosely fun collection of jangle gems that don’t require a doctoral thesis in the liner notes to enjoy. Love it or hate it, I don’t care, just be there all the same.
Friday, doors at 8pm
Please God, Hearing First!