Both touring bands and local music fans (aka members of an aloof subculture that you wouldn’t understand) have probably felt a shifting tide. Over the summer, a huge wave of closings washed into Bushwick, sweeping away DIY spots like Palisades then Aviv while making its way through Greenpoint. When it finally crashed into downtown, it showed no mercy to even longtime establishments like The Stone (which plans to close in February of next year), and Cake Shop, with its perfectly legal bar and ten-year lease. Meanwhile, Market Hotel is treading water after cops conducted a “gotcha” raid in October. It might seem like from here on out the only alternatives (start going to Terminal 5? move to New Jersey?) are pretty grim, but at least one still-standing Brooklyn establishment is taking advantage of the vacuum to reimagine themselves as a venue.
Another venue spent New Year’s Eve saying their last goodbyes to regulars and anyone else with a drink in their hand. For the last few years, Cake Shop was running on borrowed time. Back in 2012, when the gritty bitty Lower East Side venue’s Ludlow Street neighbor, The Living Room, closed up shop after more than 15 years in business, it seemed like it was only a matter of time.
Synthicide: Three-Year Anniversary
Thursday January 4, 10 pm to 4 am at Bossa Nova Civic Club: FREE
Even if right now the weather’s making you feel like your bones will never dry, your shoes will always be soggy, and that possibly your muscles will continue spazzing forever and ever, hold on for two more days. And in the mean time, repeat over and over “Free, free at last!” Slowly, your hands will start to defrost, color will return to your face, and a your eyes will even start to twinkle. By the time Thursday rolls around you can let it all out, by placing your booty on the Bossa Nova dance floor as soon as you’re able for the venue’s third annual Synthicide party.
Whenever someone compares Brooklyn to Oakland, an angel loses its wings, and is sent plunging straight down to hell where the sexless being is reborn as an enormous phallus– imagine, like, a hedge fund manager or, in some cases, a real-estate developer.
That’s because the observation usually has to do with the proximity of a relatively much more prosperous place like Manhattan or San Fransisco (actually those are mostly just super fancy places no matter how you slice it) and based on dumb facts like that you can take a train between the two (the BART, the MTA respectively). Oh, and there’s also that whole gentrification thing– like parts of Brooklyn, Oakland has been declared fabulously “up-and-coming” (barf).
The truth is that, aside from stupid comparisons like these–usually found in real-estate ads, or grunted between high-five’ing bros–Oakland and our beloved borough actually do have some real stuff in common.
Guilty Giraffe, Disco Cream, Sooner, Yairms
Wednesday December 28, 8 pm at Sunnyvale: $10
Welcome back friends, orphans, Santa assassins, and gainfully employed. This is our time to shine. Join us in grabbing life by the tender parts while everyone else is still blubber-stuffed and belly-up on their parents’ couch, where life has little meaning, and existence sits somewhere between sleep apnea and dreams invaded by Wilford Brimley, who himself is napping, bloated and spread-eagle on a powder blue La-Z-Boy while diabetic sugar-plum fairies shimmy across his spittle-soaked mustache.
White Rope, Fruit and Flowers, Sweet Baby Jesus, Grim River
Tuesday December 20, 8 pm at Sunnyvale: $10
You’d be crazy to leave your apartment tonight, but if you’ve found a way to wear lipstick and keep your nose warm at the same time, then go for it. If you do so, you’ll be rewarded with some solid rock n’ roll vibes, possibly your last chance to get your fix before the holiday lockdown on all things happy and fun ensues.
Just a few months after the closure of Black Bear Bar, its neighbor on North 6th Street, Cubana Social, is leaving Williamsburg after six years. No, it’s not the changes in Cuba that are to blame. According to the closing announcement by owner Christina Bouza, it’s changes in the neighborhood.
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The Range, Glass Gang, Sarah Kinlaw, IMAGIST, Kathleen Dycaico
Tuesday November 29, 8 pm at Elvis Guest House: $10 minimum donation
Prepare for some straightforward, vaguely uplifting dance music from the The Range aka James Hinton, a Brooklyn-based producer/ electronic musician with a penchant for sped-up, Chipmunks-style vocal samples and dreamy soundscapes. Glass Gang sounds like TV on the Radio shed any remaining remnants of rock n’ roll music and fully embraced their electronic pop music side.
Video Daughters, Quin Galavis, 2;Frail, Drome
Wednesday November 16, 8 pm at Alphaville: $8
The good people at Alphaville haven’t been mincing words about their views on the election, that’s for sure. Actions, of course, scream louder than words, but music, also, is technically much louder than chatter. Thankfully, there’s the grinding, cathartic freakout music of Video Daughters to help bridge the gap. See them in person and it might just be the energy jolt that so many of us so badly need to pull ourselves out of this Trump Slump before we’re sucked down further than our current near-hopeless position of in-chin-deep.
Mutual Crush VII: Mzungu, Drunken Sufis, Amar
Wednesday November 11, 8 pm at Elvis Guesthouse: free
Ongoing live music series Mutual Crush returns with a show that “focuses heavily on noise/ambient music,” and a reminder that such sounds tend to “evoke a meditative reaction in the listener”– lord knows that’s just the ticket to sliding back into some semblance of normalcy after all this election garbage crap.
Trash Talk, Antwon, Black Noise
Tuesday November 1, 8 pm to 11:30 pm at Brooklyn Bazaar: $15
Here’s to hoping you made it to Aviv Monday night for the grand finale. Super sad face. Actually, the last show was more of a bittersweet bye-bye for the DIY venue since the owners have promised a triumphant return ASAP, just as soon as they find a new space. RIP for now BBs, see you on the other side and all that.
Until then, we’re facing seriously slim pickins when it comes to decent venues that don’t require you to check your soul at the door in exchange to watch your favorite bands transform into blands right before your very eyes.
Hinds, Cold Fronts, Navy Gangs
Friday October 30, 7 pm at Baby’s All Right: $20
I’m just as averse to the term “girl band” as the next girl, but for some reason I can’t resist calling Hinds, an indie rock outfit rolling into town this week from Madrid, a babe band. Before anyone gets all riled up and loses their breakfast sandwich over the label, remember that “babe” is a gender-neutral term and, secondly, a person can qualify as a babe for a number of reasons.