Gigawatts Fest is happening this weekend, which is great and all — I need my pop fix as much as the next guy. But sometimes I want to be surrounded by sounds that whinge, “I’mmmmmmm differentttttt.” If that’s you, too, get thee to these smaller shows where you’ll find acts that don’t exactly qualify as festival material, if you catch my drift.
If you had a chance to swing by Our Wicked Lady in the hours before their grand opening then maybe you found the loopy singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco throwin down dogs whilst a couple of his new tracks bumped on the boom box. Or perhaps you were stuck behind double-paned office windows, miles from anything resembling summer or fun, let alone new music. Stir not in jealousy, though, for the release of 25-year-old Rockaway resident Mac Demarco’s new “mini-LP” is just on the horizon.
It’s getting to that point in the summer where doing much of anything besides moving that lawn chair to the kiddie pool and cracking open your daily 40 seems interminably arduous. For hell’s sake, you’ve been wearing the same sweaty tank top, bucket hat, and cut-offs ensemble for, like, weeks now, dude. Pull yourself together and get to some of these combination music-food-shopping-booze-drink affairs. You’ll realize economy of movement as well as restoration of dignity.
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For the city’s DIY scene, the year 2014 was anything but static– openings, closings, you know the drill. And while one little venue might seem like it’s simply joining the list of short-lived venues and tragic casualties, in all probability, Nola Darling is just getting started.
Welcome back to IRL. Here’s to hoping you had a good one being equal parts proud to live in a country where you don’t have to think too hard about what went into your readily available Apple phone and palm oil snacks, and all “pshhh” about the whole affair. We’re also fingers-crossed that you didn’t go too DIY on fireworks after a failed reconnaissance mission ‘cross the Pennsylvania border (really, you gotta know a guy to get anything close to decent fireworks ’round these parts)– because fingers and toes are maybe more valuable than even the most awe-inducing homemade mortar blast or Roman candle to your unsuspecting friend’s face. In the interest of such things, maybe you didn’t get your kicks, but fear not, there are better, much safer ways to get your thrills via rock n’ roll. Take this week to scoot your butt to some shows and allow yourself to revel. Believe us, it’ll make up at least a little bit for this increasingly less-explosive holiday.
It’s been almost a full year since we first caught up with the three guys behind Our Wicked Lady; needless to say, the East Williamsburg bar-venue-studio hybrid is unrecognizable as the gutted industrial space we first happened upon. Incandescent bulbs shine down on a long wooden bar, behind which glows an illuminated drink menu. “Do you think that font is too small?” Wayne Gordon asked.
While tonight is the soft opening (friends, family, and investors only), it’s clear Wayne and his partners Zachary Glass and Keith Hamilton, all service industry vets, are set on making everything just right for July 8 when they open their doors for real. “It’s going to be crazy,” Wayne said of the grand opening.
It’s official now, right? We’ve entered the season of sweat. We’re all gonna smell like crap from here until depression, and shows are the perfect bacteria-breeding, lust-filled eco-chambers for housing all those fun city smells under one decrepit roof. Unless you’re so lucky as to find yourself a backyard show, or better yet a backyard show series like the one happening at Union Pool, get ready for seriously noxious fumes. But just imagine, with Summer Thunder you’ll be able to get rowdy in the heat of a summer show and be able to breathe. They don’t say Union Pool is the straight man’s cruising heaven for nothing. We’ll keep an eye out for more open-air music happenings, but until then, when heading to your neighborhood DIY dungeon, don’t forget to break out the kerchiefs, patchouli, or even a plague mask if you can swing it, you’re gonna need em.
If we had to pick one emoticon to describe Kid Congo Powers’ attitude about his own three decades-long career, we’d go with the shruggy guy (i.e.¯\_(ツ)_/¯). He’s surprisingly humble and when he speaks about the past, it’s with what we imagine was the same wide-eyed amazement he had way back when The Cramps asked him to come on board. By some estimations, Kid Congo’s been a part of at least 420 bands over his three decades-long career, including legendary acts like The Cramps, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and this writer’s personal favorite, The Gun Club, of which Powers was a founding member.
Trans-Pecos isn’t a new establishment by any definition– the Ridgewood music venue brought to us by DIY veteran Todd P has been hosting shows in the old Silent Barn space for about a year and a half now. During that time they’ve struggled to obtain a liquor license, which, let’s face it, makes all the difference in the world when it comes to running a (legal) show space. But when we stopped by Monday night for the return of Diamond Terrifier‘s experimental and outsider music series, Practice, the place was bubbling anew not just with boozy energy thanks to a spanking new license to serve, but with a combination that might seem lost on most other venues around town: hypnotic attentiveness to mind-bending music and an experimental lineup that was magically paired with a sense of accessibility.
Well, we can’t say we didn’t see this one coming. Having just opened MP Taverna on Driggs and North 10th Streets (pretty much ground zero for Williamsburg’s shiny new condos) chef and restauranteur Michael Psilakis is now getting into the business of venues. What better way to connect to the neighborhood and a now nearly mythologized North Brooklyn cultural movement and indie rock scene? The Hall, a new music venue that boasts a mission to “put the focus back on supporting local arts, musicians, creatives, students and neighborhood residents,” won’t officially open till later this month. But we attended a preview event last night to see what we’re in for.
Due to some scheduling snafus, I was able to keep coming back to Throw Vision‘s music again and again before we finally met in-person this past weekend. And to my surprise, it only became harder to pin down one label for their music, because my reactions kept multiplying. At once it’s dark stuff and, as they themselves admit, a little moody, but also bright, airy, and ambient. That’s because Throw Vision is the average of four people with very different musical tastes and abilities. And the result isn’t any one thing, but rather a complex arrangement of things.