Chris Quartly is headed down to Austin Psych Fest this weekend for three days of peyote-fueled vibing to the likes of The 13th Floor Elevators, Jesus and Mary Chain and Lightning Bolt, so I’ll be filling in for this week’s edition of “Top 5 Shows of the Weekend.” I promise 84% more emo/pop-punk and two good reasons to start your weekend a little early.
5) Tigers Jaw, Somos, Lemuira at Bowery Ballroom
True to my word, in at number 5: an emo/pop-punk show on a Thursday night. This one doubles as a bit of a curiosity, at least for me. If you weren’t keeping up with Absolute Punk headlines last year, you probably missed the saga of Tigers Jaw. Three of the band’s five members abruptly left the band. It looked like the end of the road. Before the mass exodus, they recorded what was presumably their last hurrah, Charmer; a more than fitting swan song in that it’s probably their best record. It turns out that Charmer won’t be a bookend, but a new chapter, because instead of pulling the plug on the band, guitarist and vocalist Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins have decided to trudge onward at 40% capacity. This week’s shows will be the first time I’ve seen the new-look Tigers Jaw, so I’m interested to hear what they’re bringing to the table. They did play here last year with their new lineup, and Brooklyn Vegan said they sounded pretty good even without former member Adam McIlwee contributing his share of the vocals. Somos (who remind me of Moros Eros… remember those guys?) and Lemuira round off the bill for what should be a nice early kickoff to the first truly picturesque weekend of 2015.
4) The Julie Ruin, Bleached, Youth Code (DJ set) at House of Vans
Speaking of “picturesque,” a sure fire sign that those times are upon us are free shows at The House of Vans. These things are typically a complete shitshow packed with people who only have a vague interest in the acts and you have to show up about half a day early to even sniff a shot at getting in at the door. But the space is great, the booking is always incredible and uhhh, there’s free beer. A decision to go to a show at House of Vans always involves a rigorous self-assessment where you must weigh how much you like the bands and how much you like free beer against how patient you’re feeling and how much you value your sanity. I’m not the biggest fan of Bleached, but they’re fun and inoffensive, but Julie Ruin? We’re talking Kathleen Hanna, guys. She’s worth it enough to cop the #4 spot here. Plus, it does look like organizers are trying to do something to prevent lines from stretching from Greenpoint all the way down to Bed-Stuy this year; no one can line up before 5:30. The show starts at 8, so I’d guess the doors are at 7 so MAYBE this will help a bit. I’d still recommend showing up as early as possible, perhaps with a flask and a couple of sandwiches from Urban Rustic.
3) Antwon, Wiki and Show Me The Body at Elvis Guesthouse
Antwon and Ratking’s Wiki recently teamed up on the trappy track “Squad Deep” off of Antwon’s sleek new EP, Double Ecstasy. The blog rap dream pairing generated all kinds of hype, so they’re riding the buzzwaves all the way down to Avenue A for a dope show on Saturday Night at Elvis Guesthouse, the new venue from the folks behind Baby’s All Right. With no disrespect to Ms. Hanna, this show is where it’s at Saturday night. Wiki is one of the fastest and most technically sound emcees in the game today. Antwon’s an old punk kid who spent years in the Bay Area hardcore scene before picking up a mic, so he brings a passion and energy to the stage few rappers can match. And true to his roots, he’s bringing sludgy local punks Show Me The Body along for the ride.
2) NYU Strawberry Fest with Cloud Nothings, LVL Up, Celestial Shore and Field Trip at LaGuardia Place
The second reason to start your weekend early? Cloud Nothings, LVL Up, Celestial Shore and Field Trip for free at an afternoon block party on LaGuardia Place. Don’t worry about getting too wasted at the Tigers Jaw show on Thursday night, because you’re calling out on Friday anyway. This thing gets kicked off at 12:30 PM. There will be games, a really long strawberry shortcake and probably a whole lot of other crazy stuff because this is the 30th installment of the Strawberry Festival and people have the tendency to get pretty wild on their 30th birthdays via depression fueled by a perceived loss of youth/self-introspection related to what they consider their life’s failures/over-compensation in the way of proving they “still got it” and can still “throw down” and “drink a lot of alcohol” and “party” and “I’m turning 30 myself next year” and “I’m totally not going to do ANY of that.” THIRTY, man. FUCK. Cloud Nothings are great but I totally won’t “mosh” because I’m going to be 30. Or maybe I will?
1) Pissed Jeans, VEXX and Honeysuck at Baby’s All Right
Existential crisis aside, I am totally going to kick the shit out of somebody at this show. I love Pissed Jeans and will see them any time they come to town, even if they haven’t dropped a new record since Honeys. Along with Metz, they’re the band that that keep Sub Pop on their toes and relevant in heavier circles. Sure, Sub Pop puts out Doldrums and Fleet Foxes records these days, but they also used to put out Amphetamine Reptile compilations. That’s the spectrum Pissed Jeans operate in.
I am a gigantic fan of Big Ups, so I really want to award the prestigious “Top 5 Shows of the Weekend” gold medal to the early show, but I’m not for two reasons: 1) The early show is sold out and 2) Because I’m not old, I am totally going to get absolutely crazy drunk at Bowery on Thursday night, wake up, go to the Strawberry Fest and “wile out,” then maybe get some pizza and walk to Avenue A for the Antwon show and then hop on the J for Baby’s All Right to catch the late show, just in time for half of VEXX’s set and the entirety of Pissed Jeans viciously loud noisepunk assault. It’s going to be great.