Thursday, July 29, 2010

Big Takeover, big party

It would take more than one weekend to fully illustrate the 30 years that “The Big Takeover” magazine has been covering the independent music scene. But publisher Jack Rabid’s upcoming July 30-31 party at the Bell House isn’t a bad sampling.

It shouldn't be — he picked the bands himself.

“This is my dream to do something like this,” said Rabid, pictured on the far left in a photo with his band, Springhouse, in 1991. “I just got frustrated that a number of my favorite bands were never going to play here unless I made them, and I’m deeply honored they’d come on an occasion like this.” (Read our extensive interview with the punk journalism godfather here).

Indeed, the festival has some acts playing their first U.S. show ever, including New Zealand’s ex-Mutton Birds member Don McGlashan and Newtown Neurotics frontman Steve Drewett (both on July 31). Others are reuniting just for the show, including the post-punk band Flower, playing its first show in 16 years on July 30.

Rabid’s own band, Springhouse, is playing its first show in nearly 10 years with its original lineup, performing both nights, playing its 1993 shoegaze classic, “Postcards From the Arctic” in its entirety on July 31.

Other post-punk acts playing the fest include The Avengers on July 30, and Mark Burgess, For Against and Paul Collins on July 31.

“It will be an amazing event with all kinds of great artists performing, all bound together by their love of rock ’n’ roll and the whole DIY fanzine ethic,” said Collins, who’ll perform solo acoustic songs from his career and forthcoming album, “King of Power Pop.”

After 30 years in the business, going from a one-page newsletter to a 200-page glossy, “The Big Takeover” hasn’t gone soft. And its readers — both music appreciators and makers — have noticed.

“I personally have been reading the magazine for over 20 years, back in the days when Jack would have punk rock bands sleeping on his floor on Eldridge Street,” said Perry Serpa, of the orchestral pop band The Sharp Things, who play on July 31. “There’s no other music magazine that has that much informative and intelligent text about underground and alternative music and no other person with the tenacity to put it all together. Hail Jack Rabid!”

“The Big Takeover” 30th anniversary festival at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], July 30 at 6 pm and July 31 at 4 pm. Tickets are $25 ($40 for a two-day pass). For info, visit


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