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Some reasons Death By Audio was probably the best NYC venue ever

November 13, 2014 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: news

I’ll let you count the reasons yourself. But I’m serious. Death By Audio may be the best music venue that New York City has ever had. Sadly, the beloved DIY-style Brooklyn space is closing up at the end of November due to Vice taking over the entire block (Glasslands is also out) but it has had an amazing run.

My claim might seem like exaggeration. Certainly NYC has had a number of legendary music venues. There are probably some which can boast a more impressive list of legendary bands they’ve hosted (though DBA is no slouch on that front). But great bands are only a part of what makes a venue ITSELF great. The comments are open for any debate, but before formulating any argument, consider the following questions:

  • Were the people who worked at the venue NICE?
  • Were the bands always treated and paid fairly?
  • Was the sound always great?
  • Could you buy a drink for cheap?
  • Did you feel safe and welcome there?
  • Did shows start and end (mostly) on time?
  • Would you get a response when you tried to book a show there?
  • Did they give weird noise bands a shot?
  • Would they book a band because they’re nice people and make great music even if they don’t have big “draw”?
  • Was every show a bill where the bands had something in common and you’d want to see them all?
  • Could bands run through the crowd or smash instruments without being kicked out or security intervening?

At Death by Audio the answer to every one of these was YES, and that’s not the end of my list. Unlike some similar DIY spaces, Death By Audio has been entirely music-focused with a dedicated room for bands to play in, of the perfect small-but-not-tiny size, with a stage (which bands can play on or not). Bands don’t have to worry about knocking an art installation off the walls or breaking the residents’ dishes. (I love those sorts of spaces too, but am still counting this as a plus.) Tireless booker and sound-guy Edan has always been incredibly easy to work with. He also happens to be my personal favorite between-band DJ. (At most shows I’ve been to he just puts on a Sightings album. Seriously, how could you do better?)

So, are there still any other contenders for NYC’s best music venue?

I’ll concede one negative: no outside space for smokers. There’s also no back stage or “green room” but seriously what kind of rock stars need that? So thank you Death By Audio for showing us a better way and let us hope more venues will follow in your footsteps. (There are some others carving out a legacy: Silent Barn, Shea Stadium, more) There are still some more shows coming up, most listed as “Special Guest” or “Top Secret” and which are guaranteed to be something great, so you should probably see as many as you can.

I’ve collected some of my favorite photos taken in recent years at Death by Audio HERE.

 

Epic noise comp to support Life Changing Ministries in Oakland, CA

January 14, 2013 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums, downloads

V​/​A: Praisin' & Hell Raisin'; A Benefit for LCM Collective

V​/​A: Praisin’ & Hell Raisin’; A Benefit for LCM Collective

I don’t toss that word “epic” around to describe everything like some internet citizens, but I think this massive digital compilation has earned it. This is to support Life Changing Ministries, a DIY venue in Oakland, CA and seems to gather, as far as I can tell, tracks from every Oakland noise artist plus far-flung friends. Probably exaggeration, but this thing has known names like Crank Sturgeon, Zeek Sheck, The Haters – plus lots of good people I know of like Bob Bellerue, Horaflora, Pigs In The Ground, A Magix Whistle … and more and more. With a big cast like that you know that it’s going to cover a lot of ground sonically, and you know if you like any flavor of weirdness then you’ll find a bunch of stuff to dig.

Plus: 69 tracks for $6.66? (or more) Do the right thing here people. It’s a good cause. Listen to the whole thing below or GO HERE!

You can now help the Silent Barn!

July 20, 2011 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: news

at the Dog Leather / Narwhalz / Nonhorse / Buddy Bag show

taken at the Dog Leather show at Silent Barn

In case you hadn’t heard, the DIY music and art venue The Silent Barn has fallen on hard times. This place, located in Ridgewood, Queens (just beyond Bushwick, Brooklyn) has been the place I’ve most frequently gone to see shows. They’ve hosted some fantastic events I’ve helped organize, like 2 Int’l Noise Conference On Tour shows. They’ve been huge supporters of noise/weirdness music. It’s the venue I’ve felt most at home at.

Over this past weekend the Silent Barn was burgled, ransacked, and vandalized. They estimate that $15,000 worth of sound equipment was stolen, not including personal items. (The cats are safe!) On top of this, there are further legal challenges. As a DIY space, the Silent Barn would have to make huge investments in money and time to recover and operate as a legit, secure, fire code compliant and legal space. I am overjoyed to announce that the Silent Barn operators are NOT packing up, but are taking this opportunity to make that goal a reality. Now you can help! You can donate to the cause via Kickstarter. I INSIST that you give if you can. You can hit that link or see the widget at the bottom of this post.

…and now at the risk of getting really sappy. The people running the Silent Barn have not been doing it to make money. They are all genuinely nice people who have just wanted to create special and memorable events and a sense of community. A situation like this can be incredibly disheartening, and can make one feel like everything you’ve invested in and worked toward has been destroyed. That is not true. When you make investments in friends and community, that cannot be stolen. The Silent Barn is not just a place for kids to party, places like this make the city a richer, more attractive, and safer place to live. Mayor Bloomberg should be handing them a check every week for the service they provide. The Silent Barn is asking for $40,000. Let’s blow that out of the water. Let’s make that thing hit $100,000. It appeared this morning and as of this moment is already at almost $6,000 and accelerating! If you cannot give money but live in the NYC area, you may be able to donate supplies or manual labor. Email silentbarn@gmail.com to be placed on the “willing to help” mailing list.

Some reviews I’ve written of shows at the Silent Barn are HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

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