As the likes of Governor’s Ball and Northside Festival shed weight and consequence—their focus shifting toward fun, sun, and more sponsor-sponsored coconut water than your bladder can humanly handle—an interesting (and essential) counterpoint has begun to emerge.
First came Basilica Soundscape, an annual gathering of metal, punk, and literature in the Hudson Valley, and now, following in its footsteps, the Grand Ole Opera—a 6-week outlaw country-inspired art installation that will serve as the backdrop for the heaviest run of NYC shows since whenever the final Martyrdoom rasped to a close. For lack of a term not already bastardized by the fidget spinner set, these mixed-medium music marathons are “festivals”. By every other measurable metric, they are so much more.
Just step inside Pioneer Works anytime between Sunday and July 29th, and you’ll see exactly what we mean. Squeezed between bloggable BBQ and where your grandparents board their cruise ship, Willie and Brent Stewart (no relation, other than their dive bar upbringings) have transformed the Red Hook beacon into a post-modern Grand Ole Oprey, featuring everything from a trailer park sculpture garden to an easy ridin’ biker bar plucked straight from the depths of Dennis Hopper’s coked-out pupils. Like the original Nashville icon upon which it’s based, however, the Grand Ole Opera remains first and foremost about the music, so check out the full schedule below and pick your poison wisely.
The whole thing rattles into gear on Sunday with former Dirty Projector and avant-rock Swiss Army knife Angel Deradoorian headlining another stellar Second Sunday offering. As is the case with each of Pioneer Works’ Second Sunday shows, this one is totally free, and free things rule, so yeah, you get the picture.
While these RISDI-bred noise punks are best known for one of the most merciless live shows on this planet (and probably a few others), they augment that blunt force trauma with a conceptual bent and fine-art flair. Remember your ear plugs and, if you don’t want to get in the pit, a pair of binoculars.
The side project of Lightning Bolt’s Brian Chippendale, this one is sure to be just as wild as its parentage, only, you know, with more pus.
Vets of the local metallic noise scene, Wolf Eyes return with a new wall of eardrum bruising insanity and the same old sense of humor. Expect this one to be like a West Side Story-like collision, only with metalheads and art punks instead of the Jets and Sharks.
While the likes of Saint Vitus and Cathedral pre-date them by over a decade, Sleep are the true godfathers of modern doom—laying the template for funeral, stoner, sludge, and more in one fell bong rip. Seeing them live is like listening to a bunch of Orange Amplifiers fuck for two hours, so if that sounds cool to you, don’t, uhh, sleep on this one.
Kings of the most-airline-mileage-points-crown at the Grand Ole Opera are manic Japanese psych rockers Fushitsusha, who jet in for two straight nights of mind-altering madness. Needless to say, catch them while you can, because who knows when (or if) they’ll ever be back in town.
The straight hardcore throwdown of the bunch, this one is gonna be a crusty, no-bullshit affair from one of the most ruthless punk bands in Tri State operation. The only trick is remembering where you put that damn studded vest…
Hailing from the same Danish scene that spawned the likes of Iceage, Lower, and Lust For Youth, Frederikke Hoffmeier–performing under the alias Puce Mary–is the wild card here. A consummate shape shifter, the only guarantee is that whatever Hoffmeier brings to mid-Brooklyn is sure to be gloomy and glorious.
Uniform released arguably the single finest album 2017 thus far and they’re the first band on. That should give you a sense of just how stacked this lineup is. If not, just show up with a ticket and you’ll figure it out pretty quickly.