If you’ve never lived in New York City, or if you are just looking to experience a new side of the city, then checking out the embarrassment of do-it-yourself venues is a must. Do-it-yourself venues are the tiny, cheap (traditionally just $5 to $7 per show), off-the-radar spots where some of the best up-and-coming independent music acts get their start. If you’re looking for something fun to do on a Friday night, then consider making the trek to one of these five excellent venues.
Death By Audio
49 S. Second St., Brooklyn
This venue, tucked away in Williamsburg, was founded by noise-rock band A Place to Bury Strangers and serves as the spiritual home to garage rock heavyweights Thee Oh Sees, JEFF the Brotherhood and countless others. Death By Audio is cramped, chaotic and probably the most fun venue on the list. Stock up on earplugs and check it out.
ABC No Rio
156 Rivington St.
This Lower East Side venue started as a combination squat, arts collective and zine library in the ’80s and has since become famous for its weekly punk matinee, which features some of the best noise, hardcore and grindcore bands in the world. Be forewarned, if you’re not dressed up in punk attire you’re probably going to feel a little out of place — but definitely not unwelcome.
603 Bushwick Ave., Brooklyn
The Silent Barn is an ultra cool venue in Bushwick that showcases the softer side of indie rock. This is the kind of place that you’re likely to see great indie-pop, lo-fi, garage rock and even the occasional electronic set. If you’re into Frankie Cosmos, Porches., Radiator Hospital or any other bedroom projects, you’ll find great new bands playing here.
289 Kent Ave., Brooklyn
Housed in the same building complex as Death By Audio and the now-defunct venue 285 Kent, Glasslands is probably the largest venue of the bunch. Shows are usually a little pricier than the other venues on this list, but the lineups boast more established acts. If you want to see your favorite touring band in as intimate a space as possible, this is where you can.
A version of this article appeared in the 2014 Food and Fun Guide. John Ambrosio is a news editor. Email him at [email protected]