It’s unbelievable that Brooklyn’s Northside Festival is just four years old. Since its DIY inception in 2009, the festival now showcases in 50-plus venue spaces for four straight days of interactive events, lectures from digital enterprises, film screenings and music showcases scattered across Brooklyn’s finest venues. It’s the less-overwhelming but equally hip answer to Austin’s South by Southwest, and less scattered than fall’s sprawling CMJ. You can either spring a badge for $80 or pay at the door for each show. But it’s worth it given the chance to check out full label rosters, veterans (Kim Gordon and Michael Gira!) and rising (Chance the Rapper, Weekend). There’s already ample unprecedented surprise headliners, too — Black Flag AND Kathleen Hanna’s revamped band The Julie Ruin, anyone?! Whether you fancy is twee pop, malicious punk or sludge metal, the sprawling festival is sure to satisfy any of your sonic needs. We’ve hand-picked the weekend’s highlights for you that would be a true shame to miss. Music nerds, rejoice!
It doesn’t get much better than Swans and Chelsea Wolfe annihilating your eardrums on Thursday night. Wolfe’s blackened folk arrangements will precede her forthcoming Pain Is Beauty, directly followed by Swans’ depravity-singed songcraft. Be warned: Michael Gira himself will call you out if he sees you donning earplugs for the Swans set. But also, please take care of your ears. Doors open at 7 at Warsaw. $32-35, all ages.
See also: Swans’ Most Terrifying Songs
The GODMODE Records Showcase at Muchmore’s is a lowkey alternative that still will satisfy a noise-rock fix, especially if you’re not looking to drop $35. The showcase is just $5 to get in, and features performances from seven of the labels’ floor-sweeping acts, including warped wonders Alan Watts (the band, not the poet) and the heady shoegaze stylings of Courtship Ritual. It’s happening from 8 p.m. until 12:30. 21+.
Head to Saint Vitus for the performance art-rock stylings of Kim Gordon and her latest project, Body/Head, if you’ve got a hankering for something more immersive. Gordon and collaborator Bill Nace craft alluring projections and ambient soundscapes into more of a lucid out-of-body experience than a set. Rising synth-soothers Majical Cloudz are opening, and the very special guest is none other than Kathleen Hanna’s band The Julie Ruin. Get there early. Doors open at 8:30. $15, 21+.
It is Thursday night. And after a rough work week, sometimes the best relief is to thrash around with bleeding strangers in a mosh pit. Luckily Denmark’s careening punk stars Iceage take the stage at Music Hall of Williamsburg for a late show. Post-punk reelers A Place To Bury Strangers and fellow Danish countrymen Lower are also performing. There will be blood. Wear boots. $15, 18+.
Hip-shaking night dwellers can trek on over to 285 Kent after midnight to catch the DJ stylings of Braids off-shoot Blue Hawaii, hypnotic hip-hop by Mykki Blanco producer Gobby, electronic virtuosos Ian Isiah, Kuhrye-oo and Aquarian. $10-12, all ages.
Once the touring drummer for Caribou and Of Montreal, Brooklyn’s own Sinkane swirls free jazz-laden rhythms over ambient pop. He’s performing early at the Brooklyn Bowl for what should be a hypnotic set. Infatuating synth-stompers Leverage Models and jagged beatmaker Xenia Rubinos will kick off the early show. Doors at 6. $20, 21+.
Sludge metal saviors Kylesa just released their eighth studio album, Ultraviolet, a mere two weeks ago. If you’re keen on throbbing space-rock rhythms and headbanging, make your way to their show at Music Hall of Williamsburg. The performance also features psych-sprawlers White Hills and the doom-singed Blood Ceremony. Doors open at 7:30. $18, 18+.
There’s no place like Europa, where avant-garde composer Rhys Chatham and hometown heroes Oneida will be joining forces for a special collaborative performance. Expect cinematic sweeps that burst into sensory-altering drones. Doors at 8:30 p.m. $20, all ages.
Summer means sun naps, soft-serve ice cream cones and the sepia-toned fuzz pop characteristic of LA’s White Fence. The guitar-wielding Tim Presley will return to Knitting Factory for a late show, accompanied by the shimmering HONEY and garage-dwellers Las Rosas. Doors at 11 p.m. $10, all ages.
Grab a coffee or energy drink–whatever it’ll take for you to stay awake for the Sacred Bones and Ascetic House Showcase at Public Assembly Backroom. The showcase features live sets from various house bands at the Brooklyn label. Performances include the grime-caked headliner Pharmakon, the bleak electronica of Lust For Youth, Body of Light‘s slick industrial swells and the writhing drones of Marshstepper. Price TBA. Doors at midnight. 21+.
Thankfully, the tropical storm that waged quite a war over the city, and especially Governors’ Ball, is gone. That said, no mudpits should stop you from spending the afternoon outside catching indie rock mainstays The Walkmen and ramshackle folk crooner Phosphorescent. It’s going down at 3 p.m. in McCarren Park. It’s free with an online RSVP.
Chicago’s Chance the Rapper recently dropped his newest mixtape, the stunning Acid Rap. If you haven’t heard it, you should probably get on that immediately and catch him at Europa this Saturday. He plays early, doors are at 7 p.m. $15, all ages.
Yes, you heard it right: Black Flag will be performing this weekend at Warsaw. So they haven’t released an album since 1986, but the hardcore group is returning for a chance live stint, joined by the ferocious Greg Ginn on guitar again and “Jealous Again”-era vocalist Ron Reyes. With Cinema Cinema and Good For You. $32, all ages.
So maybe you can’t get into the Black Flag show. A wonderful consolation that still bleeds hardcore punk, SST and ample thrashing is happening at 285 Kent with punk-wavers Merchandise, Olympia, Washington’s volatile Milk Music and the skittering Destruction Unit. Doors open at 8 pm. $13, all ages
Hang with us, now. It’s only four days. Once you’ve finished sleeping in and had a hefty brunch, meander down to the Brooklyn Bowl on Sunday evening. There you’ll find a sonic treat–pop from Delaware’s The Spinto Band and the charming whimsy of Born Ruffians. $12-15, 21+
The industrial clashes Light Asylum will be in full, icy swing at Cameo Gallery. Catch them with tribal-thumpers Young Magic, Psychic Twin‘s gauzy pop and electronic explorers Adventure. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. $15, 21+
Vancouver punks Nu Sensae‘s live sets have been described somewhere in between a cage fight and a scene out of a horror film. If you’re down, make the pilgrimage to Shea Stadium and mosh along with gutter punks Big Ups. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Doors at 8 p.m. $10, all ages.
Is there a better way to close out a weekend of wonders with the tongue-in-cheek rhymes of WHY?. We don’t think so. Sway and swoon to Yoni Wolf‘s emotive rap, along with singer-songwriter Sarah Jaffe. Doors at 9 pm. $18, all ages.