The last week has served as a reminder for the value of live music. I go to a lot of shows, but when you see something really mindblowing it just changes your mood for the better. I’m still riding on a high from seeing Follakzoid on Saturday and topped that up with the reliably brilliant METZ, who played last night at the Music Hall. METZ are never less than a 9.5/10 live band. As with most addictions, it’s always a case of looking for the next fix, and the outlook isn’t disappointing.
5) Hector’s Pets, Metalleg, Slam Section, Roya at Union Pool
As we mentioned recently, Union Pool Summer Thunder starts this weekend and runs every Saturday until the end of August. It’s always a fun time drinking a beer or frozen cocktail out back enjoying the bands, not to mention the El Diablo taco truck (pro-tip: their tortas are the best thing they do). The season kicks off with local favourites Hectors Pets. Saturday 2pm
4) NYC Popfest (various venues 5/28-5/31)
Since 2007, NYC Popfest has continued to grow into an essential few days for anyone who likes anything that sounds vaguely like it could be described as powerpop. The festival attracts band from all over the world, old and new, as well as local bands. There’s really too much to single out, so go ahead and check out the full schedule over on their website. One of the coups for the festival is UK band The Loft.
3) Pixies, John Grant at Kings Theatre
The Pixies may be sans Kim Deal these days but there’s still something to be celebrated about the band being around. I may be saying that because I haven’t seen the band before tonight, but I’m excited. I’m equally excited to be seeing John Grant open for them, whose Pale Green Ghosts record from 2013 was one of my favourites of the year, with some of the best and most bitingly sarcastic lyrics I’ve heard in a long time, with equal heartache and humour to match. Kings Theatre is also one of the most spectacular venues I’ve ever been to and quite often threatens to upstage any band that plays! Thursday 7pm
2) Steven Wilson at Best Buy Theater
I am a huge fan of Porcupine Tree’s run from 1992 until 2002 (Up the Downstair until In Absentia), each record was different and you were never sure what was going to come next. For me at least, there were some diminishing returns after that, mostly down to the fact the band continued to burrow the path into prog-metal at times, not an issue in itself, but the freshness was gone. I suspect that’s one reason why Steven Wilson (who for all intents and purposes, was Porcupine Tree), decided to go exclusively solo since 2010. His latest effort, Hand Cannot Erase is an elaborate concept album, but also has the quality that you don’t have to buy into the storyline to enjoy the music either. This will actually be the first time I’ll have seen Wilson as a solo artist (with a band, at least). Obsessive fans of progressive rock (do they come any other way?) probably already snapped up tickets for this a long time ago, with a bit of luck he’ll break out some old PT classics. Friday and Saturday 8pm
1) The Men, The Gotobeds, Savak, Christines at Cake Shop
Cake Shop wraps up its 10th anniversary celebrations with a stacked bill headlined by The Men, whose live shows rarely fail to be brilliant and often unpredictable. I’m also particularly interested in seeing Savak, which is the new band formed by The Obits’ Sohrab Habibion and Greg Simpson. The Swervedriver-esque Christines open and pop-punks The Gotobeds round off the lineup for what is sure to see downstairs packed. Saturday 8pm