Best Venue Renovation
Breaking the Bank or Closing for Construction
We're not sure how they did it, but during the course of a few days in April, Glasslands re-positioned their stage to face the door, at once making more space and increasing the capacity by 50. Magic! (Photo: Ra Ra Rasputin by Maria Piessis)
Best New Venue, Despite Being the Hottest Place Ever
That was nice when Todd P tried to implement an air conditioning system at the windowless 285 Kent for the Pictureplane/Teengirl Fantasy show during the 100-degree heat wave last month. It ended up not running properly and people had sweat pouring out of body parts they didn't know could sweat, but still, Pictureplane and Teengirl Fantasy played—joining the ranks of Fucked Up, Iceage, Monotonix, Lightning Bolt, Wild Nothing, Titus Andronicus, Twin Sister, Real Estate and every other local band worth mentioning to have graced 285's stage this year.
Big Ticket Venue
There's an awful lot to like about as-yet-unopened Bushwick venue The Wick: It's housed in the 19th-century Hittleman Brewery building located just two blocks from the Meserole L train stop; is headed by three former Knitting Factory executives; serves as a breath of fresh air from the city's Live Nation/Bowery Presents dominance; and, with a projected capacity of 400-700 people, could very well draw some hefty headliners. Here's an idea: Arcade Fire should play opening night.
Best Rumor Involving the Closing of Monster Island Basement
That it's being turned into a Whole Foods
While a recently launched Kickstarter campaign to fund Monster Island's farewell party confirms speculation that the beloved DIY haven will be closing this fall, at least it's not being bulldozed to make room for a Whole Foods like some Twitter rumormongers suggest. As a reliable sources points out, "Whole Foods would want parking if they built a freestanding store. Secondly, there is ample, modern, brand-new retail space available on the ground floors of the adjacent condos." Please say it's not because of another luxury apartment building, then.
Trend We'd Like to See More of
Shows at churches
We may be a bit biased after having worked harder than you may ever know rallying the masses into allowing St. Cecilia's to host three shows during Northside this year (Father Jim, thank you again for all your help), but, boy, was it worth it. A dramatic, majestic structure is quite the setting to witness the likes of Atlas Sound, and the eerie green light of Greenpoint's Lutheran Church of the Messiah was perfect for the How to Dress Well show that PopGun booked in winter. More please.
Neighborhood Most in Need of a Music Venue or at Least a Record Store or Something
With its coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques and proximity to Pratt, Fort Greene has everything going for it... except it's an island when it comes to the local music scene. Sure, there's the rare booking at Brooklyn Masonic Temple or Fort Greene Park, but now there's talk that Conor Oberst has moved into the area. We need to do better, you guys. Can't have him move back to Omaha.
Best Appearance of a Local Band on Late Night Television
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart on Letterman
"Our next guests are a talented band from Brooklyn," said Dave, while introducing the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, who made their late-night television debut back in March, with a performance of single-of-the-year candidate "Heart in Your Heartbreak." As ever, they seemed humble and excited, kind of half-trying to look cool, and then adorably squandering it all with a big, goofy wave and a thumbs-up at the end. If you don't have it saved on your DVR like we do, you'll want to visit YouTube pronto.
Best (Also Worst) Twitter Fight Involving a Local Music Writer
Chris Weingarten vs. Gorilla vs. Bear
"Last Rock Critic Standing" Chris Weingarten is a proudly self-promoting loud-mouth whose online schtick—"Indie rock is stupid! Fleet Foxes are terrible! No one tries hard enough! Gaaahhh, the Melvins!!!"—is generally nowhere near as smart or entertaining as his real-world writing. But there was this one time when he got into a war of Tweets with the blog Gorilla Vs. Bear about... oh, who knows, Toro Y Moi and bandwagon-jumping or something. Normally, we'd say no one wins with shit like this, but when Weingarten said, "Why would you even enter a battle of words with me? That would be like me trying to battle you in copying and pasting emails," well, he did.
Best Local Music Twitter
Bill Pearis/Jenn Pelly
This one is pretty much a toss-up, between Brooklyn Vegan columnist and SoundbitesNYC blogger Bill Pearis, and recent NYU grad, blogger and freelance writer Jenn Pelly. Both are out constantly, filling you in on all the important details about the shows you were too lazy to go to.
Best Brooklyn-Based Poster
Two Arms Inc.
For whatever reason, the music-oriented graphic design scene has always been dominated by Portland and Austin, but Michael Tabie and Karen Goheen of the Greenpoint-based illustration team Two Arms are doing what they can to change that by way of silkscreened posters for Ra Ra Riot, Smoking Popes, Kid Sister and—bias warning—a four-set Northside series. Their work is clever without being cutesy, colorful without being obnoxious, and is a cheap way to decorate your apartment.
Our Favorite Non-L Mag Music Writer in the City
Nitsuh Abebe at NY Mag
After a long stint at Pitchfork, Abebe joined the New York magazine staff last year, and he's quietly been one of the most reasonable, eloquent and insightful music critics working anywhere. He's diligent about understanding his own prejudices and trying to overcome them, and in the process, we all benefit. Check out his essay on Amy Winehouse—it's the best one you'll find.
Best BrooklynVegan Comment about This Year's Northside Festival
We're partial to the one-two punch of "So basically like any other day in Brooklyn?" and "Yeah, GBV, Beirut and Iceage all play Brooklyn every day. Idiot," because, you know... seriously. But fine, we'll go ahead and give top honors to "Anonymous 2:15am" (of course), who had this to say: "suck the filthiest one you can find northside." We want desperately to add the necessary comma in there, but we won't. It's just better that way.