Williamsburg is a Camel cigarette, the new Bedford Ave. Duane Reade has a wine bar inside of it, the yuppies are part of the firmament. Along with the latest wave of high-end gentrification in this neighborhood comes the inevitable migration of its resident, and now transient, artist population. It happens. Brooklyn is a brand. But these streets still serve as the central axis to NYC’s independent music scene, connecting the cleaner collars of Manhattan’s monied musical interests to the bedbugs and bowels of Bushwick’s smugly esoteric DIY spaces; Williamsburg today, then, is the fulcrum keeping balance. It’s the medium, the means, the where to go to find bands at the right point of their trajectory, playing the right show on the right bill.
And for all the rooms here that provide that service, on varying levels — Death By Audio, Monster Island, the burgeoning space at the Cameo Lounge, Public Assembly, Music Hall Of Williamsburg, the Knitting Factory, Bruar Falls, 285 Kent, Live With Animals, many etcs. — no space has been doing it better in recent years than the Glasslands Gallery on S. 2nd and Kent. The right shows, the right size, the right bands (even on an off night), the right photogenic cloud-formation art installation behind the stage. It is in some way poetic that Glasslands sits just a few block south of the appallingly beautiful high-end condo development (called The Edge) on Kent Street: It is the existence of artistically interesting spaces like the Glasslands that have, indirectly, contributed to their own demise, and the rise of high-end glass housing. (In the spirit of this post: “Isn’t it ironic?”) For the moment, both can coexist on the same street. For longer than a moment, Glasslands has been, and will be, my favorite.
So a Glasslands holiday party is a justifiably festive occasion, and this past week it took the shape of a free show open to the public, with cheap drinks and a vaguely high-school-variety-show vibe, featuring MCs and MBAR and then the main course of Suckers, with special guest Anand Wilder of Yeasayer, taking the name (and visage) of the legendary ’90s outfit Citizen Dick. Yes, that one. With a name like that, and with Quinn Walker wearing a wig and hat in service of doing his best Matt Dillon, it was only fitting they played a bunch of songs they “wrote together while on tour earlier this year,” songs with titles like “Lightning Crashes,” “No Rain,” “You Oughta Know,” and “Plush.”
For the remainder of the night, Yeasayer + Suckers were Williamsburg’s most bloggable, and possibly sloppiest, ’90s cover band. The set started with 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Going On” and wrapped up with Anand channeling Alanis’s vaginal angst on “You Oughta Know.” In between there were cuts by Collective Soul and the Cranberries, all sung by Quinn (with the exception of “Plush,” done by Suckers’ friend Cameron Hull). Someone in the balcony caught the whole thing on iPhone. Someone should tell that someone in the balcony to hold the phone horizontally when taking video, but that is a small complaint to a man who had the foresight to document the whole thing. It’s loose, tossed off — prone to error, but also to deeply satisfying nostalgia trips. Pour a hot toddy, watch in the spirit intended. Because, holidays.
Alanis Morissette – “You Oughta Know” (Sung by Anand Wilder)
Live – “Lightning Crashes” (Sung by Quinn Walker)
The Cranberries – “Dreams” (Sung by Quinn Walker)
Blind Melon – “No Rain” (Sung by Quinn Walker)
4 Non Blondes – “What’s Going On” (Sung by Quinn Walker)
Collective Soul – “Shine” (Sung by Quinn Walker)
Stone Temple Pilots – “Plush” (Sung by Cameron Hull)
Just propers to YouTuber ChadDGhiron for the uploads. Happy holiday party season, everyone.
[Photo via @amritsingh]