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Listening to extremely loud, abrasive noise music is an exhilarating experience because while you’re in it, there’s nothing you can do but give in, and endure–just ask the more than 50 people crowded into Issue Project Room last night for the first of a two-set night with Merzbow, Japan’s preeminent sonic terrorist. When it’s over, you’re just a little bit stronger. (Though our eardrums may beg to disagree. The music was so loud even the most die-hard fans were sporting earplugs, which the venue was handing out like candy.)

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TONIGHT

Laurel Halo, Mark McGuire (Emeralds SOLO), Outer Space, Driphouse at Glasslands, 9ish

Thee Oh Sees, Sex Beat, Happy Birthday, Fergus & Geronimo at Santos Party House, 8ish

Pavement at Central Park Rumsey Playfield, 8ish (also Wed., Thur., & Fri.)

Wavves, Christmas Island, The Babies at Music Hall of Williamsburg, 730ish

Candy Claws, Normandy, Pursesnatchers at The Rock Shop, 8

WEDNESDAY

Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Talk Normal at Secret Project Robot, 8ish

Crocodiles, Girls At Dawn, Reading Rainbow, Candy Claws at Mercury Lounge, 8

Caribou, Emeralds at Webster Hall, 8

THURSDAY

Christmas Island, Alex Bleeker & The Freaks, Big Troubles, The Babies, Family Trees at Glasslands, 830

Merzbow, MV Carbon, Philip White at Issue Project Room, 7 and 10

FRIDAY

Avey Tare (of Animal Collective – DJ Set), Crocodiles, Kria Brekkan, Headless Horseman at Glasslands, 8ish

Bettie Serveert, The Art of Shooting at Maxwell’s, 7ish (& Saturday at Southpaw)

Japanther, This Runs On Blood, Math the Band at Shea Stadium, 8ish

Stars, Wild Nothing at Terminal 5, 8ish

Hot Shit Fuck Yeah Fall’s Promises: An Autunmatically Fun Party (DJ’s) at Rose Live Music, 10

SATURDAY

PC Worship, Expo 70, MV & EE, Ancient Ocean at Death by Audio, 8ish

Titus Andronicus, Free Energy at Webster Hall, 6

SUNDAY

Merzbow, Xiu Xiu, Ecstatic Sunshine, Gentle at (le) Poisson Rouge, 8

Samara Lubelski, Ryan Sawyer (Stars Like Fleas) at Union Pool, 9

MONDAY

Beach Fossils, Grass Widow, Oberhofer, Ovens at Old Firehouse aka DCTV, 7ish

Teenage Fanclub, Radar Brothers at Bowery Ballroom, 8

M.I.A. and Rye Rye at Terminal 5, 7

logo & poster by Maya Miller

logo & poster by Maya Miller

I’ve only been going to the No Fun Fest for 2 years now, but even from one year to the next I noticed the change. All of a sudden there were frat boys in the crowd- no joke. It didn’t necessarily bother me but it was a sign that something that was once on the fringe: noise music and harsh sound, was moving a little more to the center.

A friend of mine who’s been going to No Fun since it began in 2004 told me last year at the Knitting Factory, where the Fest was held, that it was his last No Fun. Not sure if he’ll be there this year. Paging Steve Kobak…..

While the lineup this year looks siiiiiick, (Merzbow what, what. He was scary amazing in ’07 at the Hook, which is now closed), I can’t help but wonder about having the show in Williamsburg. I know it was first held there, but the neighborhood couldn’t be more different today than it was in ’04. Ironically, it was first held at North Six. This year it’s at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. SAME BUILDING. Different name, different owners. Bowery Presents controls the shizzz now.

So, will it be as scary and dark as years past? Or has the corporatization of the underground extended itself so deep that even harsh noise is considered hip?

I don’t see Sickness (Chris Goudreau) on the bill either. And he’s the scariest mo-fo noise maker around. He spits and throws beer at the crowd.

Even if i’m not going to get spit on, I still want to go and see Black Pus and Emeralds.

Sonic Youth is playing, also an interesting sign of change because in previous years the members have performed, but in their less pop and mainstream-sounding side projects. Either way, Thurston says it’s going to be “fucking insane.…”

Here’s Carlos Giffoni, mastermind and curator, at last year’s No Fun Fest.

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