Northside on the cheap 2k17: All the best free and cheap shows to see without a badge this year

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The music is good AND this map is fun. Photo via Northside

It’s that time of the year again: Northside Festival, the Coachella of going to the bars and venues you’d probably go to anyway, is upon us. Every June, the festival takes over North Brooklyn and this year there’s a stacked lineup at 36 venues starting Thursday, June 8.

If you want to drop 80 bucks, you can still get a music badge here, but if that sounds like a full month’s worth of macaroni and cheese, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. And so, we present our picks for the free and cheap shows not to miss at Northside 2k17. 


Dancing and music and bowling and fun. Photo via Brooklyn Bowl
Dancing and music and bowling and fun. Photo via Brooklyn Bowl



Thursday is a little light on the freebies, which means it’s prime time to check out the lineup at Pete’s Candy Store, which is free (but encourages donation) all weekend. That day Pete’s will have the likes of Elizabeth Devlin, Medium Mystic, Mappa Mundi and Soul Worm.

Or, depending on how you define “free“, Jay Som, Kamasai Washington and Dirty Projectors are all playing in McCarren Park starting at 6:30 and, while you have to pay to get in, I’m sure you’ll be able to hear how sad Dave Longstreth is lately from the other part of the park.


Thursday should be prime time to catch some affordable showcases and discover some local bands around our fair borough. There’s an Already Dead Tapes and Records/GIMME TINNITUS showcase at the Gutter with the Flag, Anybody but the Cops, Video Daughters, Canter, Fat Heaven and Cop Funeral. Meanwhile, Terra Firma has HoneyChrome, Jackie Paladino, the Tall Pines, the Icebergms Janani Shankar, Amanda Fama and Indica Moonbeing starting at 7 for $5 (if you buy them ahead of time). Lonely Atom Records also has a showcase at the Well for $8 ($10 at the door) with Color Tongue, the Pandemics, Love is a Fist, Witch Slap and the New Resistants, also at 7.

Late night, you can catch Pelada with CL, Cierra Black and Horoscope for $10 over at Sunnyvale, starting at midnight. Or if you’re looking to get down, stop by Brooklyn Bowl for a very special Northside edition of Bowl Train with Jonathan Toubin, also $10.


Bee our guest (like a bee, the bug). Photo via Wild Honey Pie
Bee our guest (like a bee, the bug). Photo via Wild Honey Pie

FRIDAY, June 9


The show to beat Friday is “The Beehive” at the Well, a showcase featuring the Dig, Pavo Pavo, Uni Ika Ai, Frances Cone, Salt Cathedral, Wilsen,  Monogold, Blaire Alise and the Bombshells, Pearla and Landlady’s Adam Schatz. It starts at 6 and is technically $15 at the door but it’s free with RSVP and best of all, it features a “snack buffet,” which is all anybody really needs in this old world anyway.


Meanwhile, across the paywall, there are some more killer showcases. Our Wicked Lady has one ON A ROOF if you’re trying to knock an item off your New York summer vision board. It’s presented by Indie Shuffle and Papercup Music and has Dead Leaf Echo, Obliques, Wet Leather, Raccoon Fighter and Native Sun for $10 starting at 8.

If you’re still standing after that, Pine Box Rock Shop and Lantern Hall have the day’s big event, the Unit J Block Party. $5 gets you into both venues for a full day of music starting at 5 and featuring Belle-Skinner, Niall Connolly, All Types of Kinds, Mizuna, B.R.Mackie, Hayes Peebles, Maria Colores, Megg Farrell and Friends, MAMA JUKE, a Unit J family jam, Dirty Bird, the Laurel Canyon, Gold Stars For Everyone, Inalukt, Dru Cutler Music, Echo Moth and Tongues Unknown.

Meanwhile, at Cape House, you can catch Reheated Spaghetti Records’ retinue for $10 at 7. They’ve got Dead Leaf Echo, Dead Stars, Sharkmuffin, Slang King and Grim Streaker. Back at the Gutter, the King Pizza showcase at 8 is $7 and features Sun Voyager, the Rizzos, Secret Nudist Friends, Glass Slipper and Plaid Dracula. Or keep it simple and see the excellent power pop trio Wild Pink at Goldsounds with Peaer for the Tiny Engines showcase at 7, also for $10.


French metal goodness
French synth metal goodness. Photo via Saint Vitus



On both Saturday and Sunday, there’s a block party on Bedford Avenue from Metropolitan to North 12th St. starting at 2 with music, art and probably confused tourists looking for the Wythe Hotel.

Once again, if you’re willing to hang out near a less-free outdoor show and listen in, it’ll be worth it. Miguel, BJ the Chicago Kid and Saro are playing McCarren Park at 6:30, and surely you won’t be the only one.

After that, head over to Saint Vitus for Night Wave, free from 11 to midnight with RSVP. The event is enigmatically described as “New York’s first Synth Wave Party” and “where Heavy Metal meets French House,” and we were all very worried about when Heavy Metal would meet French House.


If you want to skip your coffee for the day, you can get some 11:30am metal for $5 at Aqualamb Records’ showcase at Saint Vitus with Lo-Pan, Godmaker, Black Black Black, The Space Merchants, Descender, HIRAM-MAXIM, Skryptor and Nathaniel Shannon and the Vanishing Twin. Or, spend the day at Baby’s All Right for the Terrorbird Media Northside Party with Slaughter Beach, Dog Active Bird Community, Casper Skulls, Partner and PONY for $10, starting at noon.

Or, if that sounds daunting, Our Wicked Lady has another rooftop event with PopGun headed by Psychic Twin that goes all day starting at 2 with tickets starting at $5. Muchmore’s has a full evening planned too, teaming up with Invertebrate music. Starting at 9 you can catch the Misers, Saint Marx, Goodman, Your Dog and Lady Pills for $8. Or, also for $8, you can see FingerFingerrr, Debbie Downer, Caged Animals, Spirit Plate and Grim Streaker starting at 7:30 at Tender Trap in Greenpoint.


They're having fun, why aren't you having fun? Photo via Northside
They’re having fun, why aren’t you having fun? Photo via Northside

SUNDAY, June 11


If you make it to Sunday, you’ll be rewarded with a bevy of free shows. Heading things up, the McCarren show is actually free on Sunday (with RSVP) starting at 3:30, with Thursday, Pup, Hotelier, Jeff Rosenstock and Tony Molina so you can feel all the feelings. Over at the Sine Metu stage (the block party area on Bedford Avenue), you can see Cha Wa, Kristin Diable, Eve and the Exiles and a special TBA guest starting at 2.

Or, if you want to branch out, Terra Firma has an unofficial Northside Party that is totally free and ought to be a fun time. They’ve got TKR TKR, Huh, Dumb Wolves, Lost Kingdoms, Fruit and Flowers starting at 7.

Did we miss anything? Shout it out in the comments below.

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  1. Another FREE show option for SUNDAY, JUNE 11 – unofficial all-day Rock N’ Shop showcase at The Paper Box!

    Rock n’ Shop at The Paper Box is a pop-up artist and maker market, food festival, and live music showcase! With the goal of presenting Brooklyn culture under one roof, rock band and art collective, The Bushwick Hotel, transforms The Paper Box, one of Bushwick’s largest music venues, into a truly unique shopping, culinary, and entertainment experience.

    Presented by Behind The Curtains Media, Rocker Stalker and TJO Presents join us for this huge, FREE, all-ages showcase — over 30 bands will be performing, across 3 stages. Between sets, browse our vendors, enjoying delicious food and drinks, shopping for art, crafts, apparel, jewelry, accessories, records, musical instruments, or get a piercing after your new haircut!

    Please come out, support, and bring your friends! This is a family friendly event.

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