A V-Day Planned Parenthood Bash Tops the Best Concerts in NYC This Weekend

Mac DeMarco headlines Panache Booking's annual Planned Parenthood benefit.
Mac DeMarco headlines Panache Booking's annual Planned Parenthood benefit.
Photo by Laura Lynn Petrick

Yep, it's that weekend we're all dreading. The weekend when we all complain about that free Tidal stream for Kanye's album reveal malfunctioning. When lifelong friendships end among invectives to "feel the Bern" and "give 'em Hill." If only there were something else to distract us, maybe like a commercialized holiday that leaves couples agonizing over whether to celebrate and single people glaring at anyone holding hands. Oh, wait — that's this weekend, too! If you haven't made plans yet, here's a lifesaving list of stuff to do before and during the choco-fest that is the 14th. The best option is one that works for everyone, regardless of romantic status and predilection: An indie-star-studded evening to benefit the nation's largest provider of sexual and women's healthcare. Bring a date, bring a friend, or just bring yourself — there's nothing better than doing good on a bad, bad holiday.

2/12
PUP
Saint Vitus 
8:00 p.m., $10

Ferocious punk foursome PUP have been taking it easy since their 2014 self-titled debut, so fans breathed a collective sigh of relief when the Torontonians posted “DVP” on January 26. The aggression and toothy snarl that charmed on their debut is all over the new cut, although the guitars seem even louder, and vocalist Stefan Babcock goes straight to the core with his hoot 'n' howl over a lover who "says that I drink too much/I’m fucked up and she hates my guts." PUP aren’t winning any genius grants for their songwriting, but the way they transform their twentysomething frustrations into gut-punching glory explains their growing visibility. — Silas Valentino

Modern Baseball
Baby's All Right
7:00 p.m., $17

Perhaps it’s because they got together in college instead of high school, but Philly pop-punkers Modern Baseball are a lot more mature than other bands of their ilk. Switching between crunchy power strumming and thoughtful, melodic guitar work, their songs cover territory that’s familiar, while making it sound new. By employing every member of the four-piece for vocals, choruses that would normally feel worn-out become vital, and typically teenage concerns like crushes and general ennui take on a more serious note. It helps that the singers never fall into the affected sneer common in their genre, opting instead to highlight pop-punk’s best qualities — lust for life, satisfying chords, passionate songwriting — and repurpose them into an uncanny (and superior) version of the same sound. After a long recording break, they returned to the studio last year to make Holy Ghost, slated to arrive sometime this summer, when the band finally graduates from Drexel University. While this show is sold out, tickets are available on the secondary market. — Zoë Leverant

2/13
Amor Prohibido
Don Pedro's
8:30 p.m., $8

If you hate Valentine's Day but love badass punk ladies, then head to Don Pedro's on the 13th to prepare yourself for the horrible holiday: Riot Chica's Anti–Valentine's Day Party should be a blast. Headlining is the Selena-meets-riot-grrl cover band Amor Prohibido, fronted by Shomara Terceros, who started Riot Chica two years ago. Amor Prohibido seems both unlikely and inevitable. Selena's iconic status among queer folks and outsiders has been growing for years, and now that there's a mini-renaissance happening in the world of Latina punk music, this is the perfect moment for a band like this. Alongside Amor Prohibido are punk heroines the Homewreckers and the Sprocket Rockets. Since this is Don Pedro’s, you can eat as many cheap tacos as you want while watching these rad women play. It'll definitely be more fun than a stupid, overpriced date. — Sophie Weiner

Protomartyr
Music Hall of Williamsburg
8:00 p.m., $15

As one of Detroit’s most relentlessly touring bands, postpunks Protomartyr rarely pause for a breath. Their release schedule is relentless, too: Since their debut in 2012, they’ve put out two more albums, including their most emotionally raw work to date, last year’s The Agent Intellect. Several of that album’s tracks see frontman Joe Casey confronting the mental deterioration of his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. The band have always been concerned with decline, whether in the world at large or in their personal lives, telling tales with gallows humor and an assaultive sonic palette. Though they’ve played a few festivals, their Music Hall of Williamsburg show on Saturday will be one of their biggest headlining shows in NYC to date (and will be made extra special by supporting act Priests, whose arresting anarcho-punk anthems throw politics as usual in their D.C. hometown onto the pyre). — Lindsey Rhoades

Screaming Females
WFMU's Monty Hall
8:00 p.m, $12-15

No matter how often you've seen Screaming Females, the sheer power of Marissa Paternoster's vocals and mind-melting guitar shredding never fails to impress. The band will play at WFMU's Monty Hall in Paternoster's home state of New Jersey on February 13, meaning it'll be an intimate show perfect for impressing that cutie you're trying to win over by Valentine's Day. Screaming Females’ latest LP, Rose Mountain, was one of their strongest releases in years, and songs like "Wishing Well" are just as killer live as their older material. They'll be joined by fellow New Brunswickians Long Beard, whose gentle, pretty folk rock will provide a nice contrast to Screaming Females’ pure intensity. Check out Long Beard's gorgeous song "Porch" to get a sense of what you're in for. — Sophie Weiner

2/14
Mitski
Knitting Factory
7:00 p.m., $15

Ever-rising songwriter Mitski is used to going big — as a composer at SUNY Purchase, she recorded pieces written for full orchestras. The singer-songwriter brought this knack for sweeping, massive feelings into the DIY world when she released Bury Me at Makeout Creek, in 2014, to widespread acclaim. The album is full of giant hooks, wall-of-sound choruses, and angst-fueled catharsis, something that carries over fully to her live show. In other words? She's the perfect artist to see if you're nursing a broken heart this Valentine's Day. Joining are the mesmerizing Mal Devisa, whose spare compositions blend mystical sounds and impassioned vocals. — Sophie Weiner

Panache Booking & Jonathan Toubin's Planned Parenthood Benefit
Music Hall of Williamsburg
7:30 p.m., $20–25

With reproductive rights under increasingly vigorous attack, it’s nice to know that indie artists are taking a stand for Planned Parenthood (it’s just sad that benefits like this one are becoming more and more necessary). After an incredible sold-out Silent Barn gig featuring Waxahatchee, Vagabon, and Trophy Wife last month, Planned Parenthood, in conjunction with Panache Booking and New York Night Train, have orchestrated an even bigger bash at the Music Hall of Williamsburg (and on V-day, no less). Performers include Mac DeMarco, Kid Congo, Delicate Steve, Laura Gibson, and more, but our interest is piqued in particular by the possibility of Cassie Ramone and Kevin Morby reuniting to play songs from their late-Aughts garage-pop outfit the Babies (both are listed as solo artists on the bill), because hey, low-cost family planning is just one of the many services this 75-year–old nonprofit offers. — Lindsey Rhoades

The Soft Moon
Saint Vitus
8:00 p.m., $15

Oakland’s the Soft Moon (a/k/a Luis Vasquez) was scheduled to support Killing Joke on a national tour right about now; those dates were canceled, but he's not accepting defeat. By taking matters into his own hands, Vasquez managed to stage his own extensive Soft Moon tour around the US. Appropriately, his cult show stops at St. Vitus on Valentine’s Day, and it's the perfect antidote for black-mascara’d tears and sullen cold hearts. Perfectly situated between the postpunk and techno scenes, his 2015 release, Deeper, found its way on many year-end lists, what with its dramatic and dark synth-driven atmosphere (be sure to watch out for Deeper Remixes VOL. 1, scheduled to drop within the next month or so). The album’s tracks are haunting and melancholic, a Molotov cocktail for the heartbroken and lonely. Forget traditional romance: Put on your blackest black and join Vasquez in his exquisite sorrow. — Andi Harriman

Pollens
Mercury Lounge
7:00 p.m., $8–10

Brooklyn-via-Seattle collective Pollens belong to a particular vein of indie rock, whose best-known practitioners are tUnE-yArDs and Dirty Projectors. Their ambling music finds grooves in disjointed rhythms, employing loops, atonal vocals, and syncopated beats in shifting layers. Their sound is clean and bright, and their singers play with sing-speaking just as often as their voices dance beautifully above the instrumentals. If you listen to their catalog, you'll note Pollens haven't solidified their sound, which is a good thing: An early self-titled EP was overstuffed with electronics, and 2012 three-song sampler, Brighten & Bleak, had clearer ideas. They haven't released new material since, but wherever they settle, it'll be sweet. — Zoë Leverant


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