Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival Bleeps/Bloops For This Weekend's Best NYC Concerts
Floating Points plays MHoW Saturday as part of Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival.
photo by Louise Haywood Shiefer
For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.
Though the term is vague enough to represent all sorts of genres under its umbrella, electronic music seems to have a bad reputation. That’s why the mission of Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival is to celebrate the diversity of sounds and artists working within the milieus of techno, house, and EDM, whether they’re last generation’s pioneers of the scene or the next big thing. Going strong now since 2008, this year’s line-up is one of the best yet, featuring Matrixxman, Mike Simonetti, Armand Van Helden, Gina Turner, Afrika Bambaataa, and Floating Points (who will play with an eleven-piece orchestra at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday), among others. But perhaps no act is more legendary than Masters At Work, who revolutionized the art of remixing by pairing their own unique grooves with live instrumentation and inspired hooks. They’re taking over Verboten, alongside longtime fans Soul Clap, for a very special performance on Friday – it will be the first time MAW’s members, Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez and “Little” Louie Vega, have ever played together on a Brooklyn stage. Each #BEMF show is ticketed individually, with day passes available for $50; a $95 festival pass gets you in to every event all weekend long. Those in search of a more aggressive festival might want to check out Martyrdoom, a heavy-metal extravaganza centered at Greenpoint's Saint Vitus (naturally) but encompassing a handful of additional venues.
Various times, $30 per day
Imagine a satanic SXSW descending upon Brooklyn November 6–10, bringing with it plenty of spikes, blood, and blast beats. Martyrdoom — a sprawling, multi-venue heavy-metal bacchanal that will darken the borough’s doorsteps for a third year running — spans an unholy five consecutive nights this time around. It's become a yearly ritual for diehard fans of extreme metal to trek out to Brooklyn for headliners like Necrophobic, Revenge, Mgla, Mortuary Drape, and Bombers, who join more obscure talent such as Bell Witch, Malthusian, the Howling Wind, and Phobocosm, plus local slayers Black Anvil and Vorde. Martyrdoom is flying in almost a dozen bands, from Poland, Ireland, Sweden, Canada, Italy, and Norway, some of whom — like Ireland's buzzy death metal upstarts Malthusian, for example — will be making their North American debuts. Thanks to Martyrdoom, New York City is known as a place where the faithful may congregate and worship the darkest, most evil strains of bastardized heavy metal imaginable — and yeah, grab a decent slice of 'za while they do it. – Kim Kelly
6:30 p.m., $35
Bespectacled and bearded, Alan Wilkis looks like a slightly nerdy version of the hipster archetype known to inhabit his hometown of Brooklyn, like the paranoid tech guy that rambles on with warnings about NSA surveillance and net neutrality when he's supposed to be fixing a glitchy program. And in a way, Wilkis is that guy, except he's not in IT — he's the main brain behind Big Data, a synthpop project that uses technology itself to put a very danceable beat behind ideas about technological fatigue and disillusionment. Written with a clever perspective and a tongue-in-cheek tone, Big Data's debut album, 2.0, was released earlier this year, featuring a slew of big-name contributors from Brooklyn's music scene and beyond. Propelled by Joywave collaboration "Dangerous," Big Data’s been selling out larger and larger venues. On Friday they’ll return to Webster Hall as a supporting act for RAC, a remix “collective” helmed by producer André Anjos that’s expanded to include original indie-electro jams. – Lindsey Rhoades
7:00 p.m., $22.50
The musical impact of MisterWives is far-reaching, but playing huge shows in their New York hometown is itself a personal triumph for the band, which grew up going to the Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge, and Music Hall of Williamsburg regularly. Their debut full-length Our Own House was released in February 2015, and the immediate popularity of their genre-bending power-pop anthems quickly shot them from playing Canal Room to the stages of Lollapalooza and Terminal 5, where the group will play a sold-out homecoming show on November 6. Singalong anthems like “Reflections” and the folk-leaning melodies of “Vagabond” sit alongside Eighties dance tunes and the bouncy breeze of “Oceans,” while the positive-sunny vibe of “Not Your Way” in particular resonates with fans because of its message of acceptance. Not a bad trajectory for some locals who started out wanting to form an Eighties cover band. – Jill Menze
Music Hall of Williamsburg
9:00 p.m., $23-$26
There's a symphonic swoop and an improvised electric-keyboard swing to the electronically oriented sound of DJ-producer-composer Sam Shepard, a/k/a Floating Points. The centerpiece of the young Londoner's new Elaenia on Luaka Bop is “Silhouettes (I, II & III)," which will be augmented with an 11-piece string section at his U.S. debut at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on November 7. During his off-hours, this DJ's DJ is also working on a PhD in neuroscience and epigenetics, whatever that is. – Richard Gehr
8:00 p.m., $13-$15
There’s no such thing as a mild-mannered Wolf Eyes show. The long-running noise-rock project of Nate Young (currently featuring John Olson and Jim Baijo as well) is about as abrasive as it gets, and they show no signs of mellowing; they’ve already released over a hundred recordings, but on Saturday they’ll celebrate another at Trans-Pecos. It’s the release party for I Am A Problem: Mind In Pieces, which is inexplicably being put out via Jack White’s mostly blues-rock repping Third Man Records. Third Man made the grave mistake of letting Wolf Eyes take over their Instagram a few weekends ago, and the account swiftly lost some 1000 followers due to the band’s irreverent, haphazard spamming and “Trip Metal” hype. – Lindsey Rhoades
8:30 p.m., $10
There’s no real reason to mourn the Ramones when Portland punks Mean Jeans are rolling back through town. They just signed to Fat Wreck Chords, who plan to release a follow-up to Mean Jeans’ 2012 LP On Mars sometime next year. They haven’t played NYC since then, so to make it up to us, they’ll do two shows – one at Cake Shop on November 7, which totally fits their scummy rock ‘n’ roller aesthetic, and one at Good Room on November 8, which is kind of an odd fit, considering the Greenpoint nightclub’s bread and butter consists of DJed dance parties and electronic acts (like those playing the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival there throughout the weekend). Paul Collins’ Beat and Nancy open the Cake Shop show, and the Jeanies and Nuclear Santa Claust will warm up the crowd at Good Room. – Lindsey Rhoades
8 p.m., $20
There’s a simplicity and ease to Jonathan Richman — Modern Lovers founder and frontman and overall pop-rock purveyor — that borders on enigmatic. This applies not only to his quirky, whimsical musical worldview, but also to the man himself. Even at 64, Richman exudes an air of boyish wonderment that cannot be fatigued. He long ago closed the book on the Modern Lovers, leaving psychedelic proto-punk at the door in favor of a pared down, guitar-and drum approach that arguably better fits his wistful flare for storytelling. The purity that has long been his hallmark is still perfectly intact, and he and his longtime drummer, Tommy Larkins, are scheduled to bring their quirky pop sensibilities to the Bowery Ballroom on November 8. The duo is touring behind a pair of 7" releases that were put out earlier this year through the Cleveland-based record store/label Blue Arrow. – Ryan Bray
Nick Didkovsky & Friends perform Alice Cooper’s Pretties For You
8:00 p.m., $15
A veritable historical happening is about to go down at the Stone — guitarist and composer Nick Didkovsky has assembled a group of dedicated musicians (Paul Bertolino, Adam Minkoff, Nick Oddy, Max Johnson, and Glenn Johnson) for a live performance, set for November 8, of the first Alice Cooper record, Pretties for You. The album was released in 1969 on Frank Zappa’s label and was met with much ambivalence, largely due to its avant-garde aesthetic. The same could be said of Didkovsky’s choice to cover it. Bassist Dennis Dunaway and drummer Neal Smith worked closely with Didkovsky to help him prepare the most accurate lyrics possible for the show, and there are rumored to be special guests in attendance. It’s the final date of Didkovsky’s residence at The Stone, which offers twelve unique performances with a bill of over three dozen musicians. – Linda Leseman
Robert Menzer for Village Voice
Music Hall of Williamsburg
8:00 p.m., $15
Punk pioneers Screaming Females are one of the hardest-working bands on the D.I.Y. scene. Over the years the New Brunswick, New Jersey, trio of Marissa Paternoster, Jarrett Dougherty, and King Mike has graduated from the basement-show circuit to playing with the likes of Garbage and Dinosaur Jr, and this year saw the release of Screaming Females' sixth album, Rose Mountain, on Don Giovanni Records. The effort marks the band's first using an outside producer (Matt Bayles, who has worked with Pearl Jam and Mastodon) and signals a bigger-sounding direction for the rockers. Potty Mouth and Aye Nako open Screaming Females' November 8 show at Music Hall of Williamsburg. – Jill Menze
8:00 p.m., $18
Controversy has plagued Zachary Cole Smith and his band DIIV ever since its inception, but it seems as though the band is finally getting their act together, now that their sophomore record Is The Is Are finally has a street date (February 5, via Brooklyn-based label Captured Tracks). The first two songss the band has released from that record deal heavily with Smith’s addiction recovery and sobriety, and the other fifteen (!) songs are likely to be just as emotionally raw while still awash in DIIV’s dreamy reverb. They’ve been playing a good mix of old and new tracks as their tour with Sunflower Bean and No Joy winds its way through the U.S., eventually making its final stop at Webster Hall on November 8 for a homecoming show. – Lindsey Rhoades
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.