Brooklyn punks THICK released the video for their newest single “Lyfe” at Brooklyn Bazaar on December 8. I don’t want to overstate how good I think THICK is, so lets just put it this way …. get on that wave right now because THICK is the new religion and it’s not going anywhere but up from here.
THICK is already one of the most exciting bands in the BK and it’s only a matter of time before their infectious sound crosses the East River and spreads through The Big Apple like a plague of ass-kicking destruction. THICK may not be reinventing the wheel with their pop-punk tunes but what they are doing is bringing a whole new energy and attitude to the genre.
Glass Slipper, Fat Heaven, and Whiner acted on support on THICKs big night in Greenpoint.
Leftover Crack put on a command performance for a sold-out crowd in their hometown on December, 3, just a few short days after dropping a new record. Sturg and the gang rocked the hordes of Crack Rock Steady fans at Brooklyn Bazaar into a punk induced sweat laced frenzy touching on all the CRS hits. Stza Crack can be a bit of a prima donna at times but acting as the ringleader of a raucous punk rock circus like the one they put on in the BK, the Crack Daddy had no problem rising to the occasion.
Leftover Crack is being joined on tour by Midwest hardcore legends Negative Approach and New Jersey wildmen Crazy and the Brains, and also had Brooklyn’s Cop/Out and (A)Truth out as local support.
The most likely question asked by Brooklyn four-piece garage rockers Glass Slipper when they finished recording their debut self-titled album was “is it nasty enough?”, and the answer is yes. The current lineup consisting of Dave Harris on guitar and vocals, Kuba Pieczarski on guitar, Myles Peterson on bass, and Greg Hanson on drums have been working together since 2016 but Glass Slipper is their first record.
The heavily distorted and lightly demented quartet recorded at Time Castle Studios in their home borough of Brooklyn and are dropping the record on the BK’s very own King Pizza Records. Follow this link to pre-order the cassette and stream the album below.
In case you’re not well versed on what’s coming out of the Brooklyn Underground all girl 3-piece THICK would be a good place to start. Their tunes are oozing with attitude and three ladies from New York City truly dominate the stage when they play live. They don’t have a huge catalog of songs but there isn’t a single bad one in the bunch thus far.
Their newest recording Would You Rather? Dropped on May, 22nd and it’s an abrasive 10-minutes of music with some really clever songwriting and tremendous musicianship. THICK doesn’t only know how to write a great song, but they really know how to perform it well. Their use of harmony and their bridges are truly top notch.
It is impossible to pick a single from the four songs because honestly, all four of them could easily be a single. They all have relatable lyrics, infectious choruses, and unforgettable riffs. This may not be a masterpiece but it is the best THICK has had to offer so far and a really builds up the excitement for a full-length.
The Royal They may not be tearing up the airwaves nationwide but New York knows it has a homegrown treasure going on in the Brooklyn based 3-piece, and in the immortal words of New York hip-hop legend Cam’Ron “you can fool the rest of the world, long as New York know.” The group has been packing rooms within northern Brooklyn’s DIY garage rock scene and they are primed to blast off into the general lexicon of rock ‘n roll due to their flawless mix of garage, punk, and indie to create a sound that is equal parts aggressive and angelic.
Their January 2018 release Foreign Being is a magnificent listen from start to finish. It comes on extremely abrasive with their tune “C.N.T.” a track that goes from dark and heavy too fast and loud. The group’s frontwoman and guitar player Michelle Hutt puts on quite a vocal performance on the album’s first track going high and loud without ever shrieking. “Sludgefucker” comes on next which keeps going with the fast and loud guitars, but the shift in vocal performance makes this tune come off a lot more in the vein of indie rock than punk. It really highlights the power of their lead singers voice to determine the overall direction of the group’s sound.
Not to take anything away from the other two fabulous musicians in the band Darrell Dumas and Rick Martinez on guitar and drums respectively because they both delivered spectacular performances on Foreign Being, but the voice on Hutt is truly transcendent.
The album’s third track “Flying Naked” is by far the longest, coming in at more than a minute longer than anything else on the record. The Royal They use all of that time to let the suspense and intrigue build before they tear it all down with one of their signature heavy breakdowns. “Pandemic” is another heavy and loud one but they never get so loud that Hutt’s voice isn’t the focus of the track. She really does have an incredible set of pipes to be able to wail over her exceptionally talented albeit heavy-handed band mates.
The record takes a distinctly indie turn following “Pandemic” as it goes into the significantly lighter tunes “Veritas,” “Needler,” and “Waiting Game.” They still bring the hard and heavy guitars and they start using feedback and fuzz almost like an instrument of its own. But the songs really allow the prettiness of Hutt’s voice to shine through in a way that the earlier tracks just did not.
“Say Less” is the album’s eighth song and for my money, it is the undeniable hit. Of every track on the record “Say Less” is the one that really allows all of the different influences that have affected The Royal They’s music to gel together to make for an outrageously raucous punk tune that still allows for Michelle’s gorgeous voice and the indie/pop punk aesthetic that keeps The Royal They from jumping headfirst into punk rock.
“Leech” comes on strong with a driving drum riff which breaks into a power cord laden anthem complete with call and response gang vocals. They follow that up with “Gullethead” and “Weekender” to round out what is a tremendous effort by a band on the rise in the Big Apple.
The World/Inferno Friendship Society have really only been playing New York three or four times a year as of late, which makes every one of their hometown performances a must see. Their music is complex and beautiful, their sound is raw and powerful, and they bring a level of showmanship and theatricality to the stage that no other punk band on the planet does.
For their last hometown performance before their annual Hallowmas, Mr. Terricloth and his cohort invited Philly ska/punks Teenage Halloween up to the Big Apple to open the evening in Brooklyn Bazaar’s ballroom. They played well and announced that they would be dropping a new record soon on Philadelphia-based Fistolo Records.
Next on the bill was Slackers frontman Vic Ruggiero, who may just be the single most New York human being on the planet (under the age of 60 at least). Vic’s solo sets are like watching New York blues history unfold right before your eyes, and it’s really a thing of beauty. He’s an engaging storyteller, a tremendous guitarist, and a genuine guy.
It’s hard to fill up a stage like Brooklyn Bazaar’s as a solo act, but Vic actually made the room feel full with his electric guitar, a kick drum, a tambourine, and his chest-mounted harmonica. He played his solo stuff, took requests, and even workshopped a new song entitled “Garlic is the Sun” for his hometown crowd. Not all the requests were honored, however, as Vic pointed out to one fan that “if you wanna hear dat one, you’ll need to come to a Slackers show” in his droll New York accent.
As great as Vic was, the crowd was there for one reason and one reason only: to fuck shit up with World/Inferno. The room went bonkers with the first notes of “Tattoos Fade,” and Mr. Terricloth raised a full bottle of Coppola wine to toast the WIFS faithful. The crowd roared along to every lyric of World/Inferno’s opening score, and the ever friendly World/Inferno moshpit sprang into existence. There are punks to help you up in every pit, but something about the WIFS pit is just far more inviting than any other band’s.
In a pre-show interview, Mr. Terricloth had said that Saturday night’s show would be “off the hook,” and he delivered on his word with a big-time performance. The group, which sometimes swells to more than thirteen members, was a lean eight-piece in Greenpoint, but they still packed a mighty punch when performing hits off of Red Eyed Soul like “The Velocity of Love,” “Your Younger Man,” and “Let’s Steal Everything,” among a slew of others.
They went through damn near half their catalogue in a performance that ran nearly two hours, and they did it all with panache. When they left the stage for their admittedly planned encore, the giant who was standing next to me in a denim vest (complete with Choking Victim patch on the back left and Grateful Dead patch on the front right pocket) lept onto the stage and led the crowd in a rousing chant of “tonight we’re gonna fuck shit up” until the band came back.
The encore opened with “Politics of Passing Out,” which required Mr. Terricloth to play a little acoustic guitar — in this case, one that he acquired from his old friend Sly Stone back when he was Sly’s driver — and closed with a tune I just don’t know the name of that was selected by WIFS bass player Ms. Malak.
The same thing that makes a memorial show for Erik Petersen in Brooklyn more intimate and beautiful than one for someone like David Bowie or Lemmy also makes it far more heartbreaking. Far be it from me to say that all those who went out to dance for the Star Man or have a Jack and Coke for Lemmy were not experiencing a personal tragedy. But most of those people never shared a moment, a conversation, or a drink with their hero.
When it came to Mischief Brew’s poetic front-man, it seemed like every punk who showed up to pay tribute to him on Sunday night had had a more personal encounter with the folk punk icon.
“I absolutely hate the reason we are all here tonight” said Brook Pridemore, the evening’s third performer just before he began his set. Then after he’d broken just about half the strings on his guitar he told a story about a time he had spent at Erik and Denise Petersen’s home in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania when he saw Erik squeeze the poop out of one of the more seasoned of the Petersen’s beloved pugs. He followed that story with a singalong rendition of “Old Tyme Mem’ry.”
Before Pridemore, Early Riser, Cristy Road, and two members of Teenage Halloween had performed short somewhat somber solo acoustic sets. During this time the crowd was rather small and subdued, and when it shouted words at the stage they were encouraging. An audience member called out “But it’s beautiful!” to Road when she pointed out a slight mistake in her rendition of Mischief Brew classic “Every Town Will Celebrate.”
At no point did the show ever feel like anything but a celebration of an inspiring man’s life, but until Pridemore, things felt a bit more like a remembrance. After he flooded the stage with his energy and anger it started to feel like a party. The crowd started forming, the mosh pit opened up, and the evening’s pent-up frustration and rage rose to the surface.
Then Out of System Transfer took the stage, and while the Brooklynites definitely represented the more folk side of folk punk — which toward the latter part of their run Mischief Brew expressly shied away from — the people in attendance didn’t slam dance any more subtly for it. The trombone-toting four-piece played a few covers, and their lead singer waxed poetic about his and Petersen’s shared affinity for obscure folk tunes in a set that included tracks like “The Preacher and the Slave” by Joe Hill, “Pancho and Lefty” by Townes Van Zandt, and “Mary Ellen Carter” by Stan Rogers, a track Mischief Brew had released as a single. They also hit Mischief Brew’s “Lowly Carpenter” along with some Out of System Transfer originals.
By the time the folk punk collective Comrades took the stage the venue seemed so packed it was about to burst, and it wouldn’t have mattered whether it was the loud, angsty, and abrasive sounds of Comrades or another solo acoustic act getting on stage; the audience was ready to lose their minds. The melee ensued the moment Comrades struck their first note and the pushing and shoving didn’t end until after their last. Though Comrades didn’t play any Mischief Brew covers, their track “Give Me Coffee or Give Me Meth” is a clear homage to Mischief Brew’s “Gimme Coffee Or Death.”
It was during their set that the show really started to feel like the sort of shindig that Mischief Brew would have headlined. It felt as though at any second Erik might just come through the door from the merch booth or back from the bar after a glass of whisky.
But in the absence of ghosts, Israeli composer and musician Yula Beeri was no consolation prize. Her three-piece band was one of the most exciting and musically proficient acts of the evening; Yula spent most of their set on a stool and still managed to keep the crowd in a frenzy. She also split part of the set with World Inferno/Friendship Society frontman Jack Terricloth. They did two tracks together, one with Yula’s full band and the other a haunting rendition of “Friend to the Friendless.”
“It is one of life’s absurd jokes that I am playing a memorial for Mr. Petersen, rather than Mr. Petersen playing a memorial for me,” said Terricloth. “Comedy is part of the grieving process, take it from me,” he added before raising a toast to the fallen.
After the official performances wrapped up, Out of System Transfer led a rousing singalong of Mischief Brew songs — among others, “Roll Me Through the Gates of Hell” and “Thanks, Bastards” — before the stage was opened up to anyone who wished to jump up and sing a song in tribute to Erik Petersen.
While fans of Petersen’s took their turn on the mic and the crowd sang along, the real sadness of the event started to take hold of many in attendance. Terricloth stood stoic in the back of the venue surveying the thinning group, while others sat down on the concrete floor.
As people stumbled over lyrics and pulled out cell phones for quick refreshers on tunes, we all realized that this was it. Denise Petersen watched the clumsy, loving efforts to keep things going for one more song. “It’s a beautiful shit-show,” she said, “like my life.”
When you hear that Mischief Brew will perform in your town, you make sure you get your ass to that show, even if you were riding in the back of an ambulance that same morning. I spent the better part of that Saturday getting my mom to the hospital, who came down with some severe viral infection, and waiting around as doctors and nurses performed tests and ultrasounds. It didn’t stop me from seeing one of my favorite bands, and I decided I was taking up too much space in the emergency room. I knew I had to go and see Mischief Brew, just to simply get me out of those hospital blues.