It’s the weekend before CMJ, so it would seem like a good time for a live music fan to relax and charge their batteries. However, this is one of the strongest weekends for shows I can think of this year, don’t consider this a top 5, they are all deserving of the number one spot.
5) Luna at Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg
Having been wowed by Luna during the Northside Festival this year I was keen to repeat the experience, although unsurprisingly these shows sold out long ago. After a 10 year absence the band seemed in great spirits to be playing again, whether chilling out with some Velvets-esque mid-tempo tunes or blazing out some Crazy Horse type guitar solos, the fans lapped everything up. Luna play at Bowery Ballroom on Thursday with Diane Coffee and Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday with EZTV.
4) Alex G at Baby’s All Right and SkyHigh Murals Future HQ
Alex G is just about to release Beach Music, and celebrates with a couple of New York shows this weekend. I’m a bit surprised he hasn’t hit the stage where he is headlining Bowery Ballroom or somewhere similar, maybe that’s an album cycle away now he’s signed to Domino Records. Baby’s All Right hosts on Thursday, with Ronald Paris and Forth Wanderers and has sold out. Friday was supposed to be at Silent Barn and has now been moved to SkyHigh Murals Future HQ on 1109 Metropolitan Ave, and is now a benefit show for Silent Barn (tickets), other acts on the bill are Palm, Frankie Cosmos and Emily Yacina.
3) A Place to Bury Strangers at Saint Vitus
While A Place to Bury Strangers are by no means a metal band, there’s something that seems like a perfect fit with them and Saint Vitus, whose nuclear-feedback offers a different, but perhaps more brutal experience than downtuned 7-string guitars. Fridays show, which features fellow Death By Audio affiliates Grooms and Scully, is sold out, but at the time of writing there are still some tickets for Saturday, which features Sanhet and Pawns. Don’t sleep on this one.
2) Television, Lower Dens, Viet Cong at House of Vans
We all thought summer was over, and it is, but House of Vans didn’t seem to get the memo and have put together a first-rate lineup. Terms like seminal and legendary often get tossed out to almost offensive regularity without being earned, but that cannot be said for Television and in particular, Marquee Moon, a genuine contender for New York’s finest band and record. The supporting cast are almost as good, and while Viet Cong decide what to call themselves, their name has unjustly taken attention away from what is one of the best records of the year, and contains without doubt the best track of 2015, Death. The band do need a good PA though, with their call and response guitars a big feature in their sound, so let’s hope the venue is up to it. Sandwiched in the middle is Lower Dens, whose 2012 album, Nootropics, still gets rotated heavily on my turntable. Thursday 8pm
1) Sun Kil Moon at Town Hall
Mark Kozelek gets a lot of bad press, and to be fair sometimes that is his own doing (though I do also think a lot of it is people over reacting), but that doesn’t mean he can’t be considered one of the best songwriters of the last 23 years. While his album, Benji, from 2014 caught the critics attention (it made #4 on our top records of last year), the man has never really put out a bad record, and I think with Universal Themes, he has made his most “screw you I’ll make whatever record I like” statement to date. Whether or not this puts him slightly below the radar until the press darlings decide he’s cool again in a few years remains to be seen. Don’t expect much, or anything, from the back catalogue, but it’s refreshing to hear an artist with such confidence in their most recent material, and leave the audience captivated, without the need to pull out fan-favourites. Just don’t take any pictures or be an “ugly dude” in the front row. Friday 7:30pm