The Best NYC Shows This Week: Julie Byrne, The Mountain Goats, The Bunker


It’s finally time for Pride, and there are options this weekend for every kind of partier. For those who are tired of the subdued ultra-coolness of much of the gay electronic scene, check out Cheryl at Secret Project Robot, where cat masks and glitter will be in abundance. For the opposite vibe, head to Output for the Bunker, where world-class techno DJs will take the decks. To avoid electronic music’s internal conflicts altogether and just chill, folk singer-songwriter Julie Byrne will play her transporting tunes at the Park Church Co-Op.

Battles, Protomartyr
House of Vans
8 p.m., free with RSVP

As fun as the New York math rock band Battles are to listen to, their bizarre time signatures and precise, almost mechanical instrumentation are even more impressive live. Since the departure of former bandmate Tyondai Braxton in 2010, the group has soldiered on as a trio, producing great albums like 2015’s La Di Da Di, a hyperactive, expertly produced return to form. At this free summer show, which features complimentary beer and graffitied half-pipes, they’ll perform with Detroit’s Protomartyr, a great, gloomy garage rock band that has little in common with Battles’ regulated chaos. But don’t worry — both bands are totally worth catching.

Digable Planets, Natasha Diggs
Coffey Park SummerStage
6 p.m., free

The SummerStage event series, which brings excellent artists to fans across New York City every summer, is best known for its Central Park events. But the lineup of artists who will perform for the series this year in Red Hook’s Coffey Park is worth paying attention to, even if it’s a little out of the way. This show will feature performances by the reunited Afrofuturist hip-hop group Digable Planets, who formed in Brooklyn in 1987 and are known for their laid-back hit “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat).” Earlier in the evening, aspiring turntablists will be treated to a free class by the DJ school Scratch Academy. If you can’t make this night, check out the schedules for future Coffey Park SummerStage shows — the legendary Bronx rapper KRS-One performs later in the week.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, the Mountain Goats
Beacon Theatre
8 p.m., $40–$60

Fans of the Mountain Goats were hardly surprised when bandleader John Darnielle announced that the band’s next release would be a concept album about goths. Though Darnielle’s music as the Mountain Goats ranges from quiet, baroque pop to angry acoustic guitar strumming — all alongside some of the best lyrics ever written — his interests outside of the band have always been darker. His obsession with the occult has surfaced in the past, like on his iconic 2002 track “The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton,” a tribute to two struggling teens who try to save themselves through music. Like that tune, Darnielle’s latest album, Goths, is interested in those who seek refuge in darkness. And as in all of his work, he’s able to squeeze emotion and profundity out of the most mundane details and ordinary lives.

Ian Chang, Millionyoung, Visuals
Knockdown Center
8:30 p.m., $12–$15

Watching drummer Ian Chang, who plays in bands including Son Lux and Body Language and leads his own solo project, is close to unbelievable. Chang’s talent feels almost supernatural. His fascinating, unconventional drumming is something that he’s slowly crafted over decades. In his own work, his elliptical beats sound like some of electronic music’s most out-there, deconstructed producers. But Chang isn’t just messing with samples — he’s creating these mutated rhythms with regular acoustic instruments. He’ll play the third week of the artist Visuals’ residency at Knockdown Center along with nostalgic electro-pop producer Millionyoung.

Grand Ole Opera
Lightning Bolt, Kill Alters, Twig Harper
Pioneer Works
7 p.m., $15

Grand Ole Opera is a new installation at the spacious Red Hook venue Pioneer Works. Created by the Tennessee artists Willie Stewart and Brent Stewart (incredibly, they’re not related), the piece is a twisted revival of Southern musical and spiritual aesthetics. “Within the exhibition, cinematic tableaus reveal a truck tuned to AM radio; bizarre trailer-homes containing surreal sculptural landscapes; a perpetually-burning sun projected under a revival tent,” Pioneer Works writes. While the installation is up, a variety of experimental performers will come through to make use of the space. This week, the frantic Rhode Island weirdos Lightning Bolt will perform their adapted hardcore rock.

Anthesteria II
Chicklette, Ciarra Black, the Creatrix, Enrique, M Ax Noi Mach, Motiv-A, Slow Tongued Beauty, Via App, Wetware, Ariadne, Bobby Flan, Bookworms, Just the Right Height, Olivia Neutron-John, ppG, Profligate, Umfang, Unsay
7 p.m., $25 for one day, $40 for two-day pass

This Saturday and Sunday, some of the city’s darkest and weirdest musicians, performers, DJs, and artists will descend on Ridgewood’s DIY space Trans-Pecos for a two-day festival. Techno DJs make a strong showing, from Discwoman’s Via App and Umfang to L.I.E.S.’ Bookworms. Branching out into the fringier realms of electronic music, Ciarra Black of the label No-Tech will bring her industrial new wave to the space, while Profligate will play circuit-bending harsh noise beats. On Saturday, the daytime show will feature performance artists, readers, and other oddities, including a workshop “exploring energetic remedies for keeping negative forces at bay.” If you’re looking to experience some of the most esoteric electronic music and performance art the city has to offer, this is the festival for you.  

DJ Whitney Weiss, Nick Schiarizzi, Grandma Internet, SST
Secret Project Robot
11 p.m., $10

With the explosion of serious electronic music in New York over the last few years, a new stereotype has emerged. These fans wear all black or white, buy brands like Hood by Air, Nike, and Adidas, and focus on athletic wear, eschewing anything bright, sparkly, or, well, interesting. The Brooklyn party collective Cheryl is sick of this trend, along with the corporatization of Pride, which has had a major impact within the LGBT community. For their Pride party, Cheryl asks that attendees wear anything that says both “punk” and “fun.” Cheryl parties are pretty much always a blast, and are less focused on the music than they are on the wild outfits and dancing. If you’re sick of the hyper-intellectualism of New York techno, stick to Cheryl this weekend.

The Bunker Pride
Rrose (live), Kassem Mosse (live), Jason Kendig, Mike Servito, Justin Cudmore, Carlos Souffront, Eris Drew, Lauren Flax
10 p.m., $20

The Bunker is one of the institutions of serious techno that the aforementioned Cheryl is rebelling against. But it’s an institution for a reason: its consistently high quality. The Bunker’s roster of resident DJs — including Mike Servito, who plays its Pride party at Output — are renowned around the world for inventive and technical techno performances. This is where the cool tech-heads uniformed in their all-black athleisure outfits will be headed when the parade is over. For this event, the regular Bunker crew will be joined by Germany’s Kassem Mosse and mysterious California DJ Rrose.  

DJ Paypal, DJ Orange Julius, DJ Mastercard
Midnight, $12

Over the last decade and a half, a phenomenon known as footwork slowly clawed its way out of the basements and warehouses of Chicago and onto the international stage. Footwork is both an electronic music style — known for its frenetic, high-BPM beats, wild samples, and jungle and hip-hop influences — and a form of dance that, as the name suggests, is focused on hyper-speed foot movements. Watching a footwork dancer live, you’ll notice that their feet are often moving so fast that they become a blur. The genre is known best for the Chicago label Teklife and its founder, producer DJ Rashad, a leader of the footwork movement who sadly passed away in 2014. This night at Sunnyvale will present some of the genre’s other guiding lights who make up the elusive label Mall Music Inc. — a great introduction into the footwork universe for anyone who’s curious.

Julie Byrne, Your Friend.
The Park Church Co-Op
7 p.m., $15

Listen to one Julie Byrne song and you’ll instantly get it. The singer-songwriter’s spare, affecting songs take advantage of her resonant voice and simple acoustic guitar fingerpicking to cut straight to the heart. There are quite a few songwriters in this vein, from Laura Marling to Mount Erie, but Byrne’s music feels immediately classic. Her songs transport you from whatever hectic and stressful situation you might find yourself in to a green field, a forest clearing, a pine-scented mountainside. The warmth and directness of her voice and melodies is perfectly clear. This is music to sink into.