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California Invasion, Pop. 1280’s First Gig of the Year, and More Good Shows

Fred Thomas (Image via PopGun)

Fred Thomas, Kyle Forester, What Next? 
Wednesday March 29, 8 pm at Union Pool: $12

Back in 2007 when Saturday Looks Good to Me had found its way into CMJ, the Detroit Metro Times wondered, “Will Success Spoil Fred Thomas?” The short answer has turned out to be, no, not really. The slightly longer one is that Fred Thomas is a nice guy. So nice is Fred Thomas, that even after finding some well-deserved recognition in a fast-shrinking corner of music that is still confoundingly known as “indie rock,” he still does normal cool-dude stuff. He recently even stooped to record the lowliest trash-life punk that Detroit has to offer: the K9 Sniffies, whose members I hesitate to even call “musicians” (but who I am obligated to admit are my friends, or whatever).

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Week in Music: Put Your Goth Pants On, ‘Opti-Mystic’ Beach Rock, and More

(Flyer by Madison Velding-VanDam)

(Flyer by Madison Velding-VanDam)

Sharkmuffin, Def. GRLS, Stringer, The Wants, Taottss
Tuesday January 31, 7:30 pm at The Knitting Factory: $10

Here’s a great way to get an early-week jumpstart on shaking out your iHunch, and you don’t even have to drop lunch-times-three to attend an oversold yoga class where you will probably just get a black eye anyway after getting kicked in the face by some newly enlightened finance bro trying to hold flying crow pose. (You know the type: he invaded your yoga class after joining Pantsuit Nation on Facebook and buying a bunch of expensive safety pins.)  Sharkmuffin is a super magnetic, neu garge, and occasionally surf rock-strumming threesome (or “glam-grunge,” as they prefer) who balance hard partying with “opti-mystic” vibes.

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Four Shows: Baby’s Gets an Influx of Chinese Rock and Lemmy Goes to Church

(Flyer via Shea Stadium)

(Flyer via Shea Stadium)

Oozing Wound, Electric Hawk, PC Worship, Shimmer
Wednesday October 19, 8 pm at Shea Stadium: $10

The Chicago-based band Oozing Wound are joining local shitar player Justine Frye and whoever’s contributing to his weird-folk drone setup PC Worship at the moment– who, by the way, seem due for some new material soonish, no? Their 2015 record, Basement Hysteria has been in the heavy rotation pile for a while, but then again Frye was busy playing in Glenn Branca’s orchestra not un-recently and I still get that buzzy tinnitus feeling in my ears when I think about the experience. Listen up, though– at this show, we wouldn’t be surprised if you heard some new material.

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Week in Music: Wacky Electro Banana Jammers, Miserable Shoe Gaze, and More

(Image via Berlin)

(Image via Berlin)

Holiday Mountain, Coaches
Wednesday September 28, 8 pm at Berlin: $8 in advance, $10 at the door

Even when they’re jamming an oversized banana down your throat, you might find it sorta hard to swallow Holiday Mountain‘s product. It’s almost as if that great, mushy mass they’re thrusting toward you isn’t edible at all, but something meant to linger in your cheek like a big chunk of chewing tobacco– mmm, actually let’s just go with Big League Chew, coz even though I’ve railed snuff a couple of times in my life, I’m really not sure of the mechanics of actual dip.

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Week in Music: Fat White Sounds and a Nostalgia Trip Back to Y2K Alt Rock

(Photo via Fat White Family)

(Photo via Fat White Family)

Fat White Family
Tuesday September 6, 11:59 pm at Saint Vitus: $10

If you left town this weekend, chances are your brain’s feelin’ a little fried right about now. Depending on where you went, your gait might might be a little sluggish  on top of that. Understandably so, there’s always that reverse culture shock when you come back to the Big City after spending time abroad where strangers are always trying to cramp your speedy style by attempting to engage you in something called a “chat,” and where time in general seems to pass at the speed of rock formation. The quickest way to jumpstart your recovery is to get to an IRL event that throttles you back to life and reminds you why you live in this rat-infested city in the first place.

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Ave A Bar Berlin to Celebrate their One-Year by Getting ‘Really Freakin’ Drunk’

(Photo: Courtesy of Jesse Malin)

(Photo: Courtesy of Jesse Malin)

There are three things that are really difficult to do in Manhattan (in ascending order): maintaining a bar, maintaining a music venue, and maintaining your weirdo energy. Impressively, Berlin, the Avenue A booze/music bunker, has been doing all three for a year now.

To celebrate, the literally underground spot— known for its musically inclined clientele— is throwing a two-night-long party complete with performances by Berlin’s owner and glammy garage rocker Jesse Malin and his friends.

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Kembra Pfahler Launches a Voluptuous Weekly Party at Berlin Tonight

Kembra Pfahler’s archive was recently acquired by NYU, but that doesn’t mean the East Village firebrand is gathering dust in the halls of history. Tonight, the performance artist, future feminist, and frontwoman of shock-jock outfit The Vulptuous Horror of Karen Black will launch a weekly party at Jesse Malin’s subterranean hotspot, Berlin.

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Berlin Drag Scene Back in Williamsburg, Party by Ostbahnhof to Rage On

Marcus Likesit and Audrey Ropeburn at the first Party by Ostbahnhof (Photo by Nicole Disser)

(Photo by Nicole Disser)

I had high expectations when the Party by Ostbahnhof, the performance-centric circuit rager inspired by Berlin’s “trash drag” scene, kicked off in December at Verboten. Derek Marshall, ex-pat owner of The Club in Kreuzberg, was infectiously giddy upon his return to the States. And the Party was bound to be a hit if it was any bit as raucous as Olympia Bukkakis, a regular drag performer at Marshall’s underground hot spot for the arty queer scene in the Bushwick of Berlin. Which is why I’m not at all surprised to see the Party’s return to Verboten on January 15.

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Berlin’s ‘Trash Drag’ Scene Invades Brooklyn Tonight

From left, Taylor

From left, Taylor di Pasquale (aka Olympia kkakkkakis) and Derek Marshall (Photo by Nicole Disser)

“It resonated with me, completely,” said Derek Marshall, owner of the underground queer bar The Club. He was recalling the first time he’d seen his friend Taylor di Pasquale perform as his “trash drag” persona, Olympia Bukkakis. “Here is this person who gets up there and is in a position of great power, but decides to empower people with collective weirdness– by telling your own, authentic story it normalizes the experience of everyone else who’s in the audience.” Keep Reading »

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Boulton & Watt Team Opens Drexler’s, Serving Booze in a Trophy Cup

(Photo courtesy of Drexler's)

(Photo courtesy of Drexler’s)

While Jesse Malin expands his portfolio by opening Berlin underneath 2A, another East Village proprietor, Darin Rubell, is making moves a couple of blocks away. This Wednesday, Rubell (owner of Boulton & Watt and, more recently, Forrest Point) will replace his old spot, Ella, with Drexler’s, a cocktail bar serving meats, cheeses and spreads.

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Chessboxing Is Real, And It’s Right Here in NYC

A little over a week ago, The Times reported that the Los Angeles Chessboxing Club was set to make its debut at Gleason’s Gym. Somehow, the paper failed to note that the bizarre hybrid sport — which started in Amsterdam and has gained popularity across Europe — is also being practiced right here in New York City.
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Nightclubbing | After-Hours, 1980

Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong continue sorting through their archives of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library.

Danceteria video lounge (Photo: Emily Armstrong)

When BAD Burger announced last month that it was ditching its plan to stay open 24/7, it seemed like one more market indicator of the neighborhood’s shifting demographic from boho stronghold to, well, we’re not sure what it is anymore, other than upscale. It got us thinking about how much things have changed from those wild years in the late ’70s and early ’80s when rents were low, charm was currency and after hours clubs were everywhere. The fact that these establishments were blatantly illegal barely furrowed a brow back then. They were just part of the city’s recession economy.

For a lot of people, those early Reagan Years were also the Up All Night Years. Typically, an after-hours spot opened around 3 a.m. and gave up the ghost around noon. Somehow, they were always packed and never too hard to find. Given the variety and sheer number of options available, folks tended to flit from place to place, but clubs did have individual identities. AM/PM in Tribeca attracted a mix of Wall Street types, downtown rockers and artists, while Crisco Disco and the Anvil were for the gay boys on the West Side. The Jefferson was shabby chic, a derelict vaudeville theater and a bit of a death trap; there was only a narrow staircase to the second floor where the festivities sometimes spilled out onto a rickety marquee overlooking East 14th Street. It did have romance: a friend of ours met his first wife there. Keep Reading »