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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.


bbigpigg “Phantom Photography”

February 17, 2011 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums, downloads

bbigpigg "Phantom Photography"

*****UPDATE: This album now available for free download at GET IT!*****

Bbigpigg are an NYC band and this is their debut 5-song EP. This is noise-rock that falls just about halfway between what I call noise-rock (music with rock beats, but incorporating real dissonant sounds or noise) and what some other people call noise-rock (loud edgy rock in the vein of the Jesus Lizard or somesuch). Shrill and tweaked guitars stab at you, but unlike some other modern No Wavers, this is anchored to a rock-solidly skilled rhythm section. Like… Shellac playing Arab on Radar covers? If you like Satanized or Microwaves you’ll probably want to check these guys out.

Let me get one complaint out of the way. For some reason I never like pig-themed things so I’m not into the band name. It might just be me. (I also don’t like songs about volcanos. Can’t say why.) I do think the curious spelling is going to throw people off though. I kept typing it in as bbiggppigg. Nope, the letters in the middle are not doubled. It’s bbigpigg. I never liked Boss Hogg’s name either (similarity intentional?) but somehow I got over it.

I caught a show by these guys last weekend and it sounded great live, and I was impressed by the one-slide-on-each-hand guitar technique. (not present on this album?) I think I caught more atypical time signatures going on at the show too. In fact my favorite track on this is the last one, “Foxx the Fox” where one guitar is playing in threes, the other in fives, and I couldn’t quite pick up on what the drummer and bassist were doing but it was something weird. It makes for a constantly shifting mess – of the best kind imaginable. And it makes me want to listen again so I can figure it out. That counts as a big win in my book.
Contact bbigpigg-AT-gmail to get a copy.

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