DISCLAIMER: The real number one show of the weekend is the Bernie Sanders rally at Prospect Park on Sunday. I just couldn’t rank a Grizzly Bear set ahead of any of the other shows on the list. Please be advised that the FREEwilliamsburg staff wholeheartedly feels the Bern. But we also feel doom, post-punk, thrash and hardcore. We suspect Mr. Sanders does as well. All those memes told us so. You know the ones. GO BERNIE!
5) Ajax, Impalers, S.H.I.T., Mirrors and Triage at The Acheron
Ajax might play The Acheron at least a few times a year, but a set from the modern day NYHC flag-bearers, especially at their Waterbury Street homebase, is something any Brooklyn-dwelling punk should experience at least once. It’s a late show, so everyone should be heavily liquored up from drinking at the Anchored Inn out front by the time Triage hit the stage. This is a strong bill, top to bottom. Triage are touring the east coast with fellow Toronto punks S.H.I.T., who have a new cassette, out. It’ll be available at the show, according to bandcamp. There will probably be other stuff for sale too. Oh, and you may know Impalers’ frontman Chris Ulsh as the drummer from Power Trip. Dude has a busy weekend in New York planned.
Friday, 11:30 p.m.
4) Power Trip, Vanity, Aggression Pact, Razorheads and Outskirts at The Acheron
Speaking of late, liquored up shows at The Acheron featuring Chris Ulsh, his main band Power Trip are in town for a killer set the following night. Even though they haven’t given us any new music since 2013’s incredible Manifest Decimation, the thrash-revivalists’ long-standing reputation as a raucous live band sort of precedes anything they’ve done in the studio. No shade meant there; these guys are just fucking crazy in person. The undercard skews heavily towards the punk side of the thrash spectrum, kind of like Power Trip themselves. I particularly dig Vanity. Their free-flowing punk anthems should be a welcome reprieve from some the unrelenting audio assault the other bands will lay on the crowd.
Saturday, 11:00 p.m.
3) The Church at Music Hall of Williamsburg
Hey, it’s the guys who made that song in that scene from Donnie Darko! Man, that movie got me obsessed with so many great bands. Joy Division, Echo & The Bunnymen, uhhhh… Oingo Boingo? Actually, this scene definitely gets credit for my brief Oingo Boingo obsession. Who knew so few degrees separated Ian Curtis from Rodney Dangerfield?
Anyway, I digress. The Church might be the best Australian band ever, and deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as such luminaries as Joy Division, The Cure and Echo & The Bunnymen. They also might be the hardest-working band ever, having released their TWENTY-FIFTH FULL LENGTH RECORD last year. That’s like, Mark E. Smith territory. They’re back up in New York to play it for everyone (along with “Under The Milky Way,” “Reptile,” “The Unguarded Moment” and some of my other favorites, I hope) on Friday night. There’s no opener listed, and it’s being billed as “an evening with…” so get there early.
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
2) Pallbearer, Sannhet and Primitive Weapons at Saint Vitus
Nobody knows how to throw a fifth birthday party quite like Saint Vitus. The Greenpoint metal mecca are celebrating their fifth year as arguably the best music venue in the city on Friday with an absolutely insane bill: Pallbearer, Sannhet and Primitive Weapons. When I turned five, the only live music I got was from animatronic mice. I hid under a table. It was terrifying. Probably more terrifying than a set from a band called Pallbearer would have been to me at the time. Here’s to five amazing years, Saint Vitus. I know I speak for us all when I say we’re looking forward to another five more, and then five more after that, and even five more still.
Friday, 8 p.m.
1) Napalm Death, Melvins and Melt Banana at Webster Hall
I was kind of tempted to just put a bunch of exclamation points here and call it a day. This is the live musical equivalent of I LITERALLY CAN’T EVEN. What else is there really to say? Our top 5 lists usually don’t skew so extreme, but this is an anomalously incredible weekend for extreme music shows. And this one blows them all away. The Babe Ruth of grindcore, the Michael Jordan of sludge and the Wayne Gretzky of Japanese noise bands, all ne one bill. That’s what this is.
Friday, 6:30 p.m.