Free week of folk/pop music

May 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

I do not write music reviews. But I do like music, and I love free shows, especially if the bands might be good (bonus points if they’re actually good). In honor of NYC Popfest at the end of this week, I’ve compiled a list of free shows that might not suck through the end of the weekend. The list is pretty folk/pop/Brooklyn heavy (if you know what I mean) and I tried (successfully) to leave the DJ sets out of it. Not that I can’t enjoy a good DJ set (although I did only come to appreciate them within the last year when Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello showed up at Bowery Electric). But almost any bar or venue that plays music has at least one free DJ set a week, and I don’t have quite the extensive knowledge of that scene to distinguish them all from each other.

So here we go:

Monday, May 16: Sherlock’s Daughter @ Knitting Factory
Tuesday, May 17: Mathew Snow & The Way It Was @ Spike Hill
Wednesday, May 18: Roots n Ruckus @ Jalopy Theater
Thursday, May 19: Neverest Songs/Kelly McFarling/Otsego @ Googie’s Lounge
Friday, May 20: Daytime acoustic show for NYC Popfest @ Paul Smith Sale Shop
Saturday, May 21: Allison Weiss playing with a bunch of other people @ Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 1)
Sunday, May 22: Mira Cook @ Pianos Upstairs Lounge

Monday: Sherlock’s Daughter @ Knitting Factory (doors at 8pm, show at 9pm)
The great thing that I discovered about Knitting Factory when I went with Omar to see Small Black is that just about any show there can be free if you’re not picky about getting your eardrums popped out by the sound system. The show is sold out/not free enough and all you have to do is stand behind the glass, and the music is pumped through to the bar. But if you are picky about that, the Brooklyn venue has Sherlock’s Daughter for the next three Monday nights as part of Monday Night Lights, and it doesn’t cost a cent. Indie-pop duo ZAZA will also play. Doors at 8pm, show at 9pm. 21+.
361 Metropolitan, Brooklyn 11211

Tuesday: Mathew Snow & The Way It Was @ Spike Hill (8:30pm)
The debut album of  Mathew Snow & The Way It Was was apparently inspired by a break-up, in line with the old musical tradition spanning multiple genres and being horribly sad. But sad can still sound good, and as he’s someone who was also inspired by rock and blues from the 60’s and 70’s, I smell a potentially enjoyable show. 21+. (via.)
184 Bedford, Brooklyn 11211

Also Tuesday: Tuesday Night Stage Fight @ Crash Mansion (7pm)
Most of it sounds a little too much like generic high school punk that I would have listened to when I was 16. Jonathan Cody White seems the most promising, with a fan raving on his website that he’s ‘the new Jason Mraz meets Ben Folds.’ I like the sound of Ben Folds, but does he really need to meet Jason Mraz? I’m pretty sure he was doing just fine on his own. But if it’s not worth going for that, it’s worth going for the open bar from 7pm – 8pm. This one is free with an RSVP (to, with full name and email) by 6pm the day of, which gets you plus two on the list. 21+.
199 Bowery, NYC 10002

Wednesday: Roots n Ruckus @ Jalopy Theater (9pm)
“Roots n Ruckus” is a weekly showing of local folk tunes. I almost made it there once because a friend of mine was playing with his band, The Relatives, and I hadn’t seen them in a while. I made a point of asking him if it was free, to which he replied that it was, and added this endorsement: “the crowd is always super intriguing. and beer is cheap. and there’s cuties everywhere.” All three of which are pretty good things to have at any show, let alone a free one. Free show starts at 9pm (7pm show has a $10 cover). 21+.
315 Columbia, Brooklyn 11231

Thursday: Neverest Songs/Kelly Mcfarling/Otsego @ Googie’s Lounge (7:30pm)
Three folky bands play in the Living Room’s upstairs lounge with the funny name. Neverest Songs came all the way from the UK and is described by The 405 as ‘post shoegaze flashback,’ which fits in somewhat nicely with the Brooklyn theme, despite the lounge’s Manhattan location. Kelly Mcfarling includes Allison Kruass and Union Station, Allman Brothers, Wilco and Neko Case as influences, which sounds like a pretty good deal. Somehow Cee-lo slipped into that list as well and I’m not sure how I feel about that, but there you go. As for Otsego, I can usually get behind any band that contains an acoustic guitar, fiddle and mandolin. 21+. (via.)
154 Ludlow, NYC 10002

Also Thursday: Neighborhood Roots Revue @ Knitting Factory
This is cheating a little bit, which is why it’s listed as secondary, but Neighborhood Roots Revue also looks promising and is still very much free. (Knitting-Factory-free, anyway. Hence it would be cheating.) Similar to Roots n Ruckus, a night of country/folk; dissimilar to Roots n Ruckus in that it features slightly more widely-traveled bands. The show is technically all ages, but hanging around in the bar is 21+. (Technically.)
361 Metropolitan, Brooklyn 11211

Friday: Daytime acoustic show for NYC Popfest @ Paul Smith Sale Shop
The saddest part about this show is the time (3pm – 5pm), which is one of those unfortunate prices to pay other than money when on the hunt for free things. And according to the website, food and refreshments will be provided, making this even more painful to miss due to the unfortunate timing and the fact that many people (read: me) have jobs that prevent them from attending. UK band Pocketbooks will play at 3pm, and Rose Melberg (of Go Sailor/The Softies/Tiger Trap) at 4pm. All ages!
280 Grand, Brooklyn 11211

Saturday: Allison Weiss playing with a bunch of other people @ Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 1, 10pm)
I’m biased on this one (clearly) because I’ve seen Allison Weiss before and think she’s great. The schedule lists bands every hour starting from 3pm until 1am. Bess Rogers (who was featured in a Mott’s commercial!) goes on at 9pm and would also be worth checking out; Allison Weiss follows her at 10pm. There is technically a one drink minimum per set, but I’m convinced it can be avoided by not sitting at a table and moving around periodically. 21+.
196 Allen, NYC 10002

There is another free show as part of NYC Popfest on Saturday, also at Paul Smith Sale Shop. Rejoice! Sadly, no word on refreshments at that one, though. It’s from 1pm – 5pm, with Balun, Geoffrey O’Connor, Smilelove, Tiny Fireflies and The Specific Heats. And this one is 21+. (via.)
280 Grand, Brooklyn 11211

Sunday:  Mira Cook @ Pianos Upstairs Lounge (9pm)
Mira Cook’s residency at the Upstairs Lounge of Pianos is coming to a close by the end of this month, but there are still two more weeks, including this Sunday. She layers harmonies and performs solo, which is pretty impressive in itself. And she’s classically trained in ballet! Not that this has anything to do with this show, but she did tell Amoeblog that she thinks the mentalities are similar. 21+.
158 Ludlow, NYC 10002

Also Sunday: Sonya Kitchell @ Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2, 9pm)
Her voice reminds me of Cat Power, which is usually a good thing.

Lastly: I’m breaking my own rules with this one, but Santos Party House on Lafayette is hosting the Saturday night shows for Popfest. And if a cheapskate were to go to any of Popfest, Saturday would be the day to do it since tickets that day are the cheapest of the weekend, excluding the free shows ($10 in advance, $12 the day of the show). Tickets are available online via Ticketweb, and it also gets you a 6-month subscription for New York Magazine. Free stuff! (Show is 18+, doors at 6pm.)
96 Lafayette, NYC 10013


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