Entries tagged with: Death by Audio
by Bill Pearis
still from 'Goodnight Brooklyn'
Basically from the moment Williamsburg DIY venue Death by Audio announced that they were closing, DbA's Matt Conboy began filming. With cinematographer Jonathan Yi, editor Andrew Ratzlaff, producer Amanda Schultz, and a large camera crew, they shot shows, behind the scenes stuff, interviews with staff and friends, everything, right to the end. (BV contributor Ebru Yildiz did the still photography.) The result is new documentary Goodnight Brooklyn: The Story of Death By Audio which will make its world premiere at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival. It's one of ten films selected (from over 1000 entrants) in this year's Documentary Feature Competition. Here's the official synopsis:
From 2005 to 2014 Death By Audio served as a venue for underground music, art and a non-traditional living environment. Founders: Oliver Ackermann, Edan Wilber and Matt Conboy, endure the challenges of hosting hundreds of people a night with looming threats of building department or police raids. Under ironic circumstances, we follow them through the last days as they navigate a billion dollar company moving into their building and the associated threats and intimidation to keep residents in fear of reprisals.Ty Segall is one of the film's executive producers, and he's in front of the camera too, as one of the interviewees. Also talking on camera are DbA runners Conboy, Oliver Ackermann and Edan Wilber, as well as Stephanie Gross, Brian Chippendale, Mark Kleback, Dan Deacon, Michael Azerrad and -- full disclosure -- this writer. They haven't announced SXSW screening dates, so stay tuned.
intro by Bill Pearis
APTBS @ final DbA show (more by PSquared)
We've been asking all manner of music-related folks for 2014 Top 10 lists. Most have championed things that are awesome and here's one that does that too, but in a bittersweet way. A Place to Bury Strangers frontman Oliver Ackermann was one of the people behind Death by Audio, both the DIY showspace that closed last month and the effects pedal company that has now relocated. Fittingly his list is titled "10 Best Things That Ended in NYC in 2014." You can check that out below.
In non-ending APTBS news, they will release their new album Transfixiation on February 17 via Dead Oceans. It's messier and more experimental than we've heard them do before and is all the better for it. The LP also has its share of rippers as well, like the bass-driven first single "Straight." Since we last posted, the band have released a video for that, directed by Brook Linder. It's a headtrip of spooky imagery and VHS tape distortion. You can check that out below too.
A Place to Bury Strangers will celebrate their new record on Transfixiation's release date (2/17) at Music Hall of Williamsburg with Grooms, whose new album is also out that day. Tickets are still available. Updated tour dates are listed with all the other stuff mentioned here, below...
Tim Harrington @ one of DBA's final shows (more by Alex Olsen)
Williamsburg DIY venue Death By Audio held its final show on November 22nd, and Glasslands -- a club located in the same building, closes after New Year's Eve (and 285 Kent, also in that building, closed earlier this year). Though nobody knows the FULL story, it's clear that Vice, who is turning 20 and celebrated in a big way in Brooklyn over the weekend, is moving its headquarters into the building. All tenants, including a circus school, need to be out.
Though the story was interesting/sad from day one (beloved venues closing, the irony of Vice being the ones moving in, etc), it grew to be a regular soap opera during Death By Audio's final month. The saga so far includes a Death By Audio co-founder posing with anti-Vice-co-founder art and that art allegedly then censored, musicians expressing anti-Vice sentiment, and Vice magazines being ripped up and thrown around the venue on its final night. The concept of 'Vice vs. DIY' in Williamsburg is officially a thing. Advertising Age even wrote about it.
That brings us to the latest chapter which is an interview Death By Audio booker Edan gave to Bedford and Bowery. Edan, who moved the Florida the day after DBA closed, discusses the possibility of opening a new venue and the challenges he'll face ("I feel like with Bushwick, it's already too late"), and says more about the Vice stuff. For instance, he clarifies that the Vice magazines ripped on the last night were actually his personal collection (that's one way to avoid having to move them!).
About the lease and stuff, Edan says:
Well, we didn't get bought out. At no point did money change between hands, we just waited for our lease to end.and then:
Our landlord had a meeting with us in September and we thought our lease was going until June, because we thought we'd signed a two-year lease. We've always been good friends with our landlord and we were never really good with the business side of things, and we thought we got a copy of our lease, and we just didn't. That's one of our bads, but we're just not business people.Meanwhile, Vice says they didn't kick anyone out and that DBA did take a "buyout". Here's what a Vice spokesperson told us:
So they produced our lease and said it was a year and five months, but we had no recourse at that point. We scoured for a copy of our lease, because we think [they showed us] a doctored lease. But we can't say for sure. It's one of those dumb-ass things we never thought would be a problem.
The only time Vice was in touch with us was that day when we had the meeting in September, and we agreed to leave at the end of November. No problem. We didn't want to make waves because we felt that if we gave any shit to Vice they would just squash us like a bug.
But they were like, "What's it going to take to get you out today?" And I was like, look, I've got two months of shows booked and these personal relationships mean a lot to me, and I want to make sure all the shows happen.
We've been quiet throughout the last few months, but facts are facts and they should be made clear. The reality here is that DBA took a buyout from the landlord. No one kicked anyone out.Hmm. Vice also directed us to the landlord's lawyer who told us this:
Thank you for reaching out to me and giving my client the opportunity to correct several falsehoods conveyed to you by Mr. Edan Wilber from Death By Audio ("DBA"). Here are the facts:Vice mentions a" buyout", but the lawyer talks about not having to pay back rent. Are these the same thing? I asked the Vice spokesperson to clarify:
DBA's fully executed lease was dated as of July 1, 2013. It had a term of one (1) year and five (5) months with an expiration date of November 30, 2014. The lease did not contain any right for DBA to extend or renew the term of the lease. The lease was never modified or amended. DBA stopped paying rent in July, 2014. At the time DBA vacated the premises at the end of November it owed my client in excess of Fifty-Five Thousand ($55,000) Dollars. This amount does not include (i) any late fees on any of the rents then due and owing, or (ii) the costs and expenses incurred in connection with repairing the substantial damage DBA did to the premises. In an effort to amicably part ways, DBA and my client entered into a legal agreement, pursuant to which my client agreed to waive all of the rent DBA owed in exchange for DBA agreeing not to hold over in the premises after their lease expired. Throughout the negotiation DBA was represented by a litigation partner from a well-respected law firm.
The fact is, Death by Audio took a significant sum of money from the landlord to be bought out of their lease, and then lied about it.I told you this was a soap opera!
We're reaching out to Edan and Matt to see what their reaction to Vice's reaction is, but meanwhile read Edan's entire interview over at Bedford and Bowery, and check out a show at Glasslands before it's too late.
Edan and Josh of DbA on the final night (more by PSquared)
Chris Gethard wearing DbA tribute on his show this week (photo by Heidi Vanderlee)
Comedian Chris Gethard wore a homemade t-shirt, inspired by the one DbA booker Edan Wilber wore on the showspace's final night, at the taping of the most recent episode of The Chris Gethard Show which you can see above.
Bands felt like Death By Audio was a second home - indie phenoms Future Islands and wild Canadian rockers METZ both played their first ever New York shows at Death By Audio. It was the kind of place where a small fledgling band had a good chance of playing on the same bill as a much bigger, touring band. And one day, that fledgling band might just become a headliner.You tended to get just as much as you were willing to put in: if you attended or played shows there regularly, there was a good chance you'd get to know the staff there, as well as other regulars. Those were the people who made up the bulk of the crowd last Saturday night - some of them who since moved to other cities even flew across the country to be there. It's also why there were a lot of tears, hugs, and positive energy going around in the final hours.
Oliver Ackermann on stage (more by P Squared)
Impose gathered up tributes from a variety of artists, DbA employees and other people in the DIY scene, including manager/booker/soundguy Edan Wilber:
The value of what I have gotten from my experiences here are immeasurable, and leaps and bounds more valuable than any material wealth I could've gained doing something else. I have met people from all around the world just because they heard about this little room that some friend of their's said they just had to play in. It's a shame to lose something like that because it can't be manufactured. We have always run on the best of intentions and it propelled us so far for so long, none of us could've imagined it would've lasted as long as it did and stayed true to its beliefs from day one. I'm happy to go out on such a high note, the past few weeks have been mind-blowingly incredible and I have gotten to see many old friends make their pilgrimage here one last time and I look forward to a few more rad weeks before we are forced out of the only place in NYC thats ever felt like home to me.Impose also tracked down most of the DbA show flyers from their entire existence. There are also reports from the final night at The Observer, Gothamist, Stereogum, and The Village Voice.
Glasslands, which is right around the corner from DbA and will close at the end of December, offered up
tonight we bid farewell to our good friends and neighbors @DeathbyAudio, have a great last night homies! #ripdba
-- Glasslands (@glasslands) November 22, 2014
And this was Death by Audio's final word, via Twitter:
Thank you to everyone and anyone that played a show, attended a show, helped us out or supported us in any way
-- Death By Audio Shows (@DeathbyAudio) November 24, 2014
Death by Audio's final month of shows was pretty astounding, including performances by Lightning Bolt, METZ, Protomartyr, Future Islands,Thee Oh Sees (twice), Dan Deacon, Les Savy Fav, Ty Segall, A Place To Bury Strangers (twice) Future Punx/Priests, Deerhoof, Woods, Woolen Men, Screaming Females, Ted Leo, Speedy Ortiz, Dirty on Purpose, JEFF the Brotherhood (twice), White Mice, Burnt Skull, a reunited Dirty on Purpose, Pampers, Coasting, Guerrila Toss, not to mention the very cool Death by Art installation (which some people didn't like).
For those who'll be in Washington, DC next weekend, many of the in-house created, super-hard arcade games that you may have played in DbA's back room will be on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's courtyard on December 6 as part of an "indie arcade" curated by MAGFest and American University's Game Lab.
We've got all of Death by Audio's last month's shows listed, along with video from many of them, below...
photos by Alex Olsen
Future Islands @ Death by Audio last week
Future Islands's "Seasons" topped NME's Tracks of 2014 list and will likely be on others before best-of list season is over. The band just released a "reinterpretation" of the song by avant-jazz trio BADBADNOTGOOD, who turn it into a '70s-style soul/funk jam. That band's bassist, Chester Hansen, talks a little about what they did with "Seasons":
We all love the original version of the song, and we were honored to have the opportunity to try and remix it. We heard Sam's isolated singing and realized how soulful and emotive it was and what seemed to sound the best was re-harmonizing the chords and taking it in a soul direction. We came up with a slow groove for the verse that let the vocals breathe, and played the chorus double time to make it more powerful. After we laid down the rhythm track, we overdubbed guitar, keys and a bunch of other parts to fill it out. We're very proud of it and so excited to share it with everyone.You can stream BADBADNOTGOOD's "Seasons" remix below and you can download it from Amazon today for free.
Future Islands were one of the many bands who said goodbye to Death by Audio last week, playing last Tuesday (11/18) with The Immaculates (with Tim Harrington on one song), DJ Dog Dick and Adam Schatz & The Farewell to Death by Audio Suite. We already posted one set of pics from that show and we've got a second set in this post.
Future Islands' next shows in NYC are somewhere much bigger (with slightly nicer bathrooms), Terminal 5 on January 8 & 9. Tickets are still available for the 1/8 show (the 1/9 show is sold out). All tour dates are listed, along with the "Seasons" reinterpretation and more pics from DbA, below...
photos by P Squared Photography; words by Bill Pearis
Lightning Bolt / APTBS / JEFF @ DbA's final night
When Lightning Bolt's set ended at around 2 AM Saturday night (11/22), the floor of Death by Audio was littered with beer cans and ripped-up issues of Vice magazine. Their set, which was the last to ever be played at DbA, was one of the wildest I've ever seen at the now-closed DIY showspace. It was a turbulent sea with constant crowdsurfers. I saw many smiling sweaty people afterwards with blood all over their tshirts. (There was also a kid on top the crowd eating a burrito which was amazing.) Among those on top the crowd: DbA co-founder Edan Wilber who was wearing a homemade shirt that read "START YOUR OWN FUCKING SHOWSPACE." The crowd would not let him down, and much like Ty Segall a week before, he had a massive grin plastered to his face. It was a perfect way (and the perfect band) for DbA to go out.
Admittedly, the final night didn't start off quite as perfectly. The line for the final show started forming around 3 PM and by 5 PM was at Kent -- which was usually the cutoff point for who got in on the previous nights -- and it eventually went past Glasslands. (They did give away free hot chocolate for folks in line.) The paid list for friends and family (which, I won't deny, included the guy writing this) was big, and there was also the problem of rampant space-holding by folks in line.
The main space was full of folks that looked like DbA regulars to me by the time openers Grooms took the stage, and what weird vibes there were lifted when they started to play. (Grooms have basically practiced at DbA since they began as Muggabears and have played there many many times over the last seven years.) Singer Travis Johnson was definitely holding back tears at first and gave a nice tribute to the space and Edan: "If more people cared as much about music and as little about actually making money as Edan, the world would be a better place." Guitarist Jay Heiselmann, meanwhile, may hold the record for most shows at DbA's final stand, having also played with Roya, The Immaculates, French Miami, and Fuckton. The night also marked the return of original member Emily Ambruso who is apparently back in the band these days.
Next up were Nashville's JEFF the Brotherhood who played in their original Jake-and-Jamin two-piece configuration as a throwback to their first-ever NYC show... which was at DbA. (A lot of bands' first shows were at DbA.) They are basically DbA family and it would've been more of a surprise if they didn't play. Not that I dislike the expanded lineup, but Jake and Jamin are such a killer locked groove, they don't need others so much. They were great on Saturday and the pit rivaled Lightning Bolt's with people banging into each other in the crowd and on top. When their set ended and the crowd screamed for more, Jake reminded folks "opening bands don't do encores!"
Oliver Ackermann and his birthday pie
Irony of ironies, Saturday was also the birthday of Death by Audio owner / pedalmaker / bartender Oliver Ackermann who also fronts noisemakers A Place to Bury Strangers. He was presented with candle-covered pies right before APTBS' set and the whole place sang "Happy Birthday." It was a nice moment. He blew out the candles and the band started the set which was white noise sensory deprivation with smoke machines, strobes, and lasers on full blast. The only time I saw a member of the band during their set was when bassist Dion Lunadon leapt onto the crowd still playing his bass.
There was a dance party in "The Ranch" in the back and people just hung out and talked till basically the sun came up. (I left about 5 AM.) Thanks again to Edan, Matt and Oliver and everyone else who worked there and made it special.
Matt Conboy and Edan Wilber post-show
More pics from Death by Audio's final show, plus video of all four bands' sets (via unARTigNYC), below...
DbA's Edan Wilber crowdsurf's during Lightning Bolt / APTBS / aftermath
Brooklyn DIY showspace Death by Audio closed out its seven-year existence on Saturday (11/22) with headliners Lightning Bolt, old pals JEFF the Brotherhood, as well as A Place to Bury Strangers and Grooms. We've got a proper set of pictures from the finale on the way, but a few cameraphone shots and instagrams are in this post.
Death by Audio, you'll really be missed. More pics below...
by Bill Pearis
It is cliche and hyperbole to say a band destroyed a place, but it's a very apt word for what Toronto's METZ did to Death by Audio last night as the venue's "Top Secret!" headliners for the penultimate show at the DIY venue. At one point, vocalist/guitarist Alex Edkins pulled down one of the ratty tiles from the drop ceiling and flung it at the crowd. "Think about where you are right now. Think about where you'll be next week," Edkins told the crowd. "Make it count." The crowd and the band (who played their first NYC show at DbA) were amped and sweaty and a lot of shoes were in the air, mostly still attached to feet. They also dropped a killer cover of The Damned's "Neat Neat Neat." A crazy, amazing set -- video from it is below.
Another band that drove a long way just for DbA's next-to-last show were Detroit's Protomartyr, who's first NYC show was also at DbA (opening at Parquet Courts' Light Up Gold release party.) Sardonic as always, frontman Joe Casey greeted the crowd with "This place is great. I predict a long future." Showbooker, soundman and all-around sweet guy Edan Wilber (who was wearing a homemade "NO HINTS LET'S PARTY" shirt) asked then band to play some deep cuts from early 7"s (like "Baseball Bat" from their Colpi Proibiti EP), which made for a punkier, harder-hitting (if less familiar) set. Protomartyr also played a new one last night for the first time. A short clip of that, and full video of a couple other songs, below.
Nots @ DbA 11/21/2014
Memphis quartet Nots, who seemed likely to play, were a little late for their set -- their van broke down outside of Cleveland. They managed to fix it, drove straight to the show, climbed through the stage window and immediately started their set, which was their NYC live debut. (Nots, however, feature members of Coasting and Ex Cult who have played DbA tons of times.) The band's snarling, aggressive sound is definitely punk but they're not afraid of synthesizers either. (They would fit in well with the Melbourne, Australia bands that have cropped up around Total Control's Mikey Young.) They were awesome. There's video of most of their short set below and you can catch Nots again in Brooklyn at Palisades on Sunday (11/23).
Predictions that Shellshag would open this, the second-to last-night, were incorrect (nice diversion, Screaming Females), and in fact was opened by Brooklyn's Sleepies which count at least one DbA employee as a member. Video from their set last night is below too. They also fit in well with the night's postpunk/sludgepunk lineup. This was a just about perfect Death by Audio show, with most of the folks inside seeming like regulars who were not disappointed to learn it was METZ and Protomartyr playing, not, say, DOA and Interpol or whatever. While everyone knew there was just one night after this, just about everyone seemed to be very very happy they were there.
late-night Fuckton set in 'Death by Art' space
After METZ finished sometime around 1 AM, more secrets unveiled themselves in the form of late night noise/drone sets in "the ranch" / Death by Art part of DbA, including Greg Fox (Liturgy/Guardian Alien), Dubknowdub, and Fuckton which features both DbA's Matt Conboy and Edan Wilber, along with Travis from Grooms and Jay from French Miami/Grooms/Immaculates/Roya. Smoke machines and strobes were cranked to 11 and the night ended around 3:30 AM, properly weird.
Tonight (11/22) is the last night of Death by Audio. As to who's playing tonight, Edan and Matt are offering no clues today on DbA's website, only saying, "Thanks for everything! Seriously! See You Tonight!" For guesses... anyone who's expecting some giant band tonight doesn't understand Death by Audio very well. Sure, Future Islands, Thee Oh Sees, Dan Deacon, Les Savy Fav, and Ty Segall can all play places much, much bigger but their roots are at places like DbA who supported them from the start. Will there be cool, crazy surprises? Undoubtably. But they'll be things that make sense within what they've always done and who they've supported over the years. Which is what made DbA special.
Video (by Unartig) and more pics/instagrams from Death by Audio's penultimate night, below...
We're down to the last two shows ever at Death by Audio. We've come off a week featuring Future Islands, Thee Oh Sees (twice!), Ty Segall, Les Savy Fav and more. DbA just put up the clue for tonight's "Top Secret!" lineup:
2 shows left, it feels so insane to be almost done with this whole dang thing, no riddles today, just cities of origin, and those in order of performance, brooklyn, memphis, detroit, queens. hope to see you tonight!Screaming Females say that Brooklyn is Shellshag, which makes sense as that duo has probably played DbA more than any other band. We have a good idea who Memphis might be, but who do you think Detroit and Queens are? We look forward to finding out tonight.
John Dwyer said Thee Oh Sees would be at Death by Audio for two nights and Thursday (11/20) was indeed night 2 for the DbA regulars. Their set seemed a little better last night than Wednesday, though neither show was missing any energy. While Petey, Brigid and Mike are missed, the new rhythm section (including White Fence's touring drummer) are not lacking in skill or drive, and Dwyer now plays a little keyboards as well which is a nice addition. Any chance to catch Dwyer in action is usually worth it. NYC has one more chance to catch Thee Oh Sees, tonight (11/21) at Warsaw (advance tickets sold out).
This was a little more of a cohesive bill than Wednesday, too. Nashville's Natural Child were another of the "top secret!" guests, who have also played DbA many many times over the years. The band's southern-fried rock is always a lot of fun and there were many folks in the audience shouting along to their raunchy 2009 single "Shame Walkin'." You can catch Natural Child tonight in NYC at Baby's All Right (tickets).
Also on the bill was Thee Oh Sees' tourmate Jack Name whose sound live is skuzzier and more vintage electronics than on record, veering into Iggy Pop The Idiot territory. With everyone but the guitarist seated, it didn't make for the most exciting set but they sounded good. They play with Thee Oh Sees at Warsaw, too, along with Kyp Malone's Ice Balloons (he'll be busy tonight as his slightly more known band TV on the Radio play too, at MHOW).
Skimask opened the show with a 5-song set that they played on the floor, so while we didn't see them, we did experience them and their punky noise and funny stage banter made for a good start to the night.
There are only two shows at Death by Audio left both are "Top Secret!" though they'll likely have clues for tonight's show up on their website later today. We've got a good guess as to who one of the openers is.
Video of Thee Oh Sees doing set-opener "The Dream" at DbA last night, plus a few more instagrams, below...
Saunier / Chippendale LP art
There's just three shows left at Death by Audio. Last night's "Top Secret!" headliners were Thee Oh Sees and main man John Dwyer said onstage, "We're here for two nights." He didn't say "in a row" but seeing how they play Warsaw with Jack Name on Friday (tickets) and are at M for Montreal on Saturday (snowstorms permitting), the other night in question seems to only be one option. But who knows? As for the rest of the lineup, DbA has posted up today's clues:
Well shucks! looks like i forgot to mention one of the players last night, slipped my mind! Well tonight i wont try and pull the Wool over your eyes, and jack you all around with this name game, ive been actin like a kid! Anyway i apologize for all the tomfoolery, and ill sees ya tonight!Ok, sleuths, what does it all mean?
If you're going to go to one of these last three nights, do make sure to spend some time in the Death by Art installation which has a lot of cool stuff to see. You may have seen a monitor in the hallway showing a documentary about drummers Greg Saunier and Brian Chippendale titled Checking in at 20. It was directed by Matt Conboy who runs the DbA showspace (with Edan Wilber) and features interviews with Wayne Coyne, Tim Harrington, John Dwyer, Steven Drozd, Kid Millions, and rock journalist Michael Azerrad. You can watch the whole thing (via Pitchfork) below. Both Saunier (with Deerhoof) and Lightning Bolt's Chippendale (as Black Pus) played Death by Audio in the last few weeks.
Meanwhile, Saunier and Chippendale also have an album out via Famous Class. The self-titled LP features two side-long improvisations, and is limited to 500 copies. Order yours now.
Documentary stream below...
by Bill Pearis
(photo by Ebru Yildiz)
Brooklyn's Grooms underwent a radical lineup change last year with singer/guitarist Travis Johnson remaining as the only original member. With new bassist Jay Heiselmann (who mixed most of their other records) and drummer Steve Levine, the new lineup of Grooms shifted directions, experimenting with synthesizers and krauty grooves. The dissonant guitars are still there, but the new rhythm section seems to have put a fire under them, creatively. The result is a radically different record, Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair, which will be out via Western Vinyl on February 17. A good first taste of the album, "Doctor M," makes its premiere in this post and you can stream it below.
Grooms don't have any live dates announced at the time, but they've practiced at Death by Audio since the days when they were known as Muggabears. Travis played a few Muggabears songs solo the night that Dirty on Purpose reunited, but it would seem strange for Grooms proper not to play DbA before it closes forever in three days.
Album art, tracklist and song stream below...
by Bill Pearis
Anybody that knows Thee Oh Sees, Williamsburg DIY space Death by Audio and their history together pretty much assumed that the band would be playing one of the two nights they had off between NYC shows at Bowery Ballroom and Warsaw -- which coincided with the last week of DbA. So it was no shock to see John Dwyer-related albums (Oh Sees, Coachwhips, Damaged Bug) at the merch table at last night's "Top Secret" show at DbA. "Well, it sucks Death by Audio is closing but that's the way the Vice cookie crumbles," Dwyer said matter-of-factly on stage, adding, "But we're happy to play again. We're here for two nights." Thee Oh Sees then launched into a basically nonstop set that had the front room going bonkers the whole time. No surprise there. For those who don't like to wait in lines (or just want maximum Dwyer), tickets to see Thee Oh Sees at Warsaw on Friday (11/21) are still available.
The rest of the lineup (which DbA gave pretty easy clues for if you follow the kind of bands they book) included tourmates Dope Body (intense, they have a dope drummer) and Roomrunner (ex Double Dagger, grungy and hooky). The evening started with two performances on the floor: Junkyard, a somber voice-and-voilin project from Adam of the Dreebs; and a wild set from melted dance music makers Guerilla Toss who brought a trampoline with them which was equal parts awesome and scary.
DbA hasn't posted tonight's set of clues yet for the openers. Three nights left. A few more instagrams of last night's show below....
photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis
Future Islands / The Immaculates & Tim Harrington / horn section in the net
"I'm only here because I heard Fugazi were playing," joked Future Islands frontman Samuel T. Herring at the beginning of their last-ever show at Death by Audio where they were the night's "top secret" special guests. Before "Seasons" and their new album Singles catapulted the Baltimore band to wide popularity (they're playing two nights at Terminal 5 in January), Future Islands were regulars at DbA, having played repeatedly at the DIY venue which closes for good on Saturday. "The first time we played DbA was July 2007 with Dan Deacon," Herring told the crowd. "It was so hot and so packed, people had to crowd surf to get in the main room." It wasn't quite that nuts last night, but a lack of cellphones aloft may have had something to do with people not being able to move their arms in the ebbing, swelling crowd. The band played what I think was the longest set I've sever seen at DbA, maybe 75 minutes, and finished with "Vireo's Eye," the release of a few dozen pink balloons and bassist William Cashion floating atop the crowd.
As the first of the five final "top secret" shows at the space, there were a lot of fun surprises. Soul trio The Immaculates (who played Dead Herring's final show) were the main undercard and features a home team of DbA co-runner Matt Conboy, Famous Class Records' Cyrus Lubin, and Jay Heiselmann (Grooms, French Miami, Roya) who came through the crowd with a cape and a handler, a la James Brown. They finished their set with a cover of LCD Soundsystem's "NY I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down," with help from Les Savy Fav's Tim Harrington who had "SUCK IT VICE" scrawled across his biceps and chest. It was his second visit to DbA's stage in four days.
The night opened with Adam Schatz & The Farewell to Death by Audio Suite. Schatz, who plays in Landlady, Man Man and a bunch of other groups (like Blast Off who played DbA's 'The Maze' -- remember 'The Maze'?), composed special music just for the occasion, assembling a dozen or so musicians (on the stage and floor) to perform it. Schatz led a few of the other other horn players throughout DbA's space before returning to the main room for a little interactive finale with the crowd. Right before the show, Schatz released a nice tribute to DbA and you can read that in full below.
Though he spent a portion of his time huddled over a case of electronics with his back to the crowd, DJ Dog Dick put on a nice, beat-heavy set in between Schatz and The Immaculates.
Four nights of Death by Audio left, tonight featuring Junkyard, Guerrilla Toss, and some other mystery guests. More pictures from Future Islands, The Immacualtes, Tim Harrington, DJ Dog Dick and Adam Schatz etc, and FI's setlist and a video from their set, below...
Sign in the pink bathroom at DbA's The Ranch
The final "Top Secret!" shows at Death by Audio are underway. Tuesday night (11/18) was the first of them, with Future Islands, The Immaculates (with Tim Harrington joining for an LCD Soundsystem), DJ Dog Dick and Adam Schatz & The Farewell to Death by Audio Suite. We'll have pictures from that up in just a few. In the meantime, DbA has posted their cryptic preview of tonight's show:
Woweee! Last night was so wonderful! Lets do it again! So for tonight, we shall begin at 8:30pm Sharp! with our good friend Adam from the Dreebs brining us a set from his new project Junkyard, thats all i will outright tell you for the evening, but i will say if you like your rock noisy, tonight is your night, There will be Giant Monkeys Throwing Things! Men that travel from one area of a building to another at a speed that is faster than walking! & the other band all have Awesome Physiques! Please join us!"Giant Monkeys Throwing Things" would have to be Guerilla Toss, who actually announced this date already. What do you think the rest all means?
by Bill Pearis
A Place to Bury Strangers @ DbA, 10/27/2014 (more by Ebru Yildiz)
A Place to Bury Strangers will release their new album, Transfixiation, on February 17 via Dead Oceans. The first single is "Straight" which adds a little bluesy funk to the band's signature noisy style. You can stream it below. You can also watch a teaser for the album that was filmed at APTBS' show at Death by Audio last month that ended with Oliver Ackerman's guitar jammed in DbA's drop ceiling. That's below too.
Lately, Oliver Ackerman can be found tending bar in "The Ranch" -- aka Death by Audio's back space, now open for the Death by Art installation -- which is where the DbA pedal shop was before the space announced it was closing for good. (It's relocated elsewhere temporarily till they find a more permanent space.) APTBS are for sure the band most synonymous with Death by Audio -- will they make room to play their one more time? There's only four nights left, all of which remain "Top Secret!"
After DbA closes, life will go on for A Place to Bury Strangers (obviously) with the new album and a lengthy 2015 tour that kicks off at NYC's Music Hall of Williamsburg on February 17. Tickets for that show will be available soon.
All dates are listed, along with the song stream, album art, tracklist and teaser video, below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis
Future Punx / Priests / Downtown Boys @ DbA 11/17/2014
Monday night (11/17) was the last show on Death by Audio's schedule that had a posted lineup, and with no "special guests" it was also probably the last one to feel like a regular night at DbA before these final, possible bananas shows begin. Which is to say, a lot of fun with a great lineup of bands. DC quartet Priests were officially the undercard of the night but felt like headliners -- it was the most packed, with the most crowd reaction of the evening -- and they certainly have the skills and stage presence to carry a show. I've seen some less-than-awesome Priests shows but they were on fire last night. Priests' sound is a danceable mix of punk, post-punk and new wave styles and they do it very well, plus singer Katie Alice Glass has the kind of magnetism that was made for fronting a band like this. A knockout set.
Priests also benefited from a great lead-in, Providence< RI's Downtown Boys who share a label (Sister Polygon/Don Giovanni), sound and ideology. Downtown Boys are definitely more politically minded and their idealism, passion and spirit was carried the day. The X-Ray Spex/Romeo Void style saxophones didn't hurt either.
Following Priests is no easy thing to do but Future Punx kept the night going with pure fun, thanks to their update of Devo/Oingo Boingo hyper-new wave. With black lights, projects and heavy fog completing the picture, it was a great way to end the night. The show doubled as a release party for their brand new EP, I'm So Inspired, which is out via Dull Tools and streamable below.
The night started with duo Pinkwash who are also on Sister Polygon/Don Giovanni and make noisy punk with some mathy/proggy bits to augment the shouting; and openers B Boys who at times sounded so much like Chairs Missing-era Wire that I thought the last song might be a cover. Pictures from the whole night are in this post.
This show followed Fiasco on Sunday, Les Savy Fav on Saturday, and a handful of other bigger shows including Parquet Courts, Deerhoof, Woods, Screaming Females, Ted Leo, Speedy Ortiz, Dirty on Purpose, JEFF the Brotherhood, venue co-founders and residents A Place to Bury Strangers, Ty Segall, and Dan Deacon. Tonight begins the last five nights at DbA, all of which are "Top Secret!" lineups.
More pictures of Future Punx/Priests/etc below...
Les Savy Fav were the "super secret headliner" at the eighth to last Death by Audio show on Saturday (11/15) that was already stacked with great local openers who have all frequented the venue -- Yvette, Big Ups and Ovlov -- handpicked by the headliners themselves. Doors opened at 8, and even a half hour beforehand the line outside was down the block. Once they opened it moved pretty quickly though, and we heard it sold out during or right after Ovlov's opening set.
Ovlov brought their usual enjoyable set of Dinosaur Jr-isms, and (as you can see pictured below), they also brought their friend and former Exploding In Sound labelmate Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz to sing guest vocals on their last song. That was the second appearance Sadie made during DbA's final run, having played with Speedy Ortiz earlier that week.
Big Ups, another band in the EIS family, followed, pulling from the same era of American indie as Ovlov but from Dischord/Touch & Go style post-hardcore rather than the latter's SST love. They were great, and as always their singer was a thrill to watch.
Yvette were the most intense band of the night, playing in white light and powering through their industrial/noise-infected jams. The whole thing was a total sensory overload. They don't usually say much during their sets, but took the time to say thank you to a list of names associated with the closing venue.
Then came the night's secret headliner (though not a secret anymore at that point), Les Savy Fav who haven't played a show in a while. Before they went on, Syd Butler (who just ran the NYC Marathon!) said his dad was at the show, at which point Tim entered the stage dressed as a graying old man. That was only one of Tim's costumes for the night. He also appeared as a superhero not long after, and of course was shirtless for much of it. As you'd expect from a LSF show at DbA, the place was nuts for them the whole time. (It felt less overpacked than Ty Segall the night before, however.) The whole front half of the room was just a sea of bodies jumping up and down and pushed in every direction. Tim was everywhere himself too, whether he was running to the back of the crowd and back to the stage, crowdsurfing, popping back into the green room, unwinding the Christmas lights over the entrance door, or headed upstairs. Here's hoping that was not the beginning and end of Les Savy Fav's return, though we know they don't all live in the same city anymore, and Syd is especially busy with other projects (like running Frenchkiss Records and being a member of the Late Night band which LSF's Seth is also in).
If you were there, or at any of these other final shows, have you checked out the "Death by Art" exhibition they have set up? The whole thing is pretty nuts and a lot of it is interactive. In addition to the art on display, make sure to check out those little rooms in the back -- different surprises in every one! There's also a net to hang out on, and a bar in the back, which as you can see in the pictures below features Death By Audio co-founder/APTBS frontman Oliver Ackermann as bartender.
Merch for sale includes special "Goodbye Death By Audio" t-shirts, posters from previous nights, and the poster for that night which in this case was designed by Tim Harrington. it's pictured below.
Death by Audio now has only FIVE NIGHTS LEFT. Future Punx, Priests, Downtown Boys, Pinkwash and B-Boys played last night, and Fiasco headlined the night before that (which was one night after Les Savy Fav). The rest are all top secret.
Other bigger artists who played final DbA shows include Parquet Courts, Deerhoof, Woods, Screaming Females, Ted Leo, Speedy Ortiz, Dirty on Purpose, JEFF the Brotherhood, venue co-founders and residents A Place to Bury Strangers, Ty Segall, and Dan Deacon.
More pictures and some video from the Saturday night show, below...
Thee Oh Sees at Death by Audio in June (more by PSquared)
Thee Oh Sees are in town for two announced NYC shows with Los Angeles' Jack Name: Bowery Ballroom tonight (11/18) and Warsaw on Friday (11/21). Tonight's show, that also has Economy Punk (OJ from Xray Eyeballs' new band) on the bill, is sold out, but tickets are still available for Warsaw (also with Ice Balloons playing). As mentioned, in between those two NYC shows are two days off which happen to fall during these last five nights of DIY venue Death by Audio where they have played many many times. Not to mention the Death by Audio pedal company collaborated on a pedal with Thee Oh Sees' John Dwyer.
Speaking of Jack Name, his new album Weird Moons will be out January 20 via John Dwyer's Castle Face label. His lo-fi, glammy sound is not a million miles away from his LA neighbor Ariel Pink (who he'll also be touring with, including at NYC's Terminal 5), minus the novelty elements. You can stream "Running After Ganymede" from his new album below.
All Thee Oh Sees and Jack Name dates are listed, along with the Jack Name song stream, below...
Death by Art installation (more by Amanda Hatfield)
We are now at the last handful of shows at Death by Audio and, from what we hear, none of the these final five lineups will be announced in advance. Matt and Edan have posted a cryptic preview of what to expect tonight:
Here we are ladies & gents, the final five shows at death by audio, glad you are all glad to keep things a surprise, if you like fun, i guarantee you will have it tonight, i dont want to give away too much, but i will mention that the opening act has been performing at our fine venue for years and tonight he will produce a most ambitious work for us, performed by 9 musicians throughout the entire space, The Death by Audio Suite will start at 8:30pm Sharp! Followed by a performer with an animals anatomy! Followed by some old friends back from the grave & to button up the night a very surprise special guest which will need no introduction.What do you make of that? We look forward to finding out.
Big names who have already come in to help the venue shut down in style include Parquet Courts, Deerhoof, Woods, Screaming Females, Ted Leo, Speedy Ortiz, Dirty on Purpose, JEFF the Brotherhood, venue co-founders and residents A Place to Bury Strangers.Ty Segall, Dan Deacon, and Les Savy Fav.
by Bill Pearis
"EDAN! EDAN! EDAN!" Ty Segall led a repeated chant last night in tribute to Edan Wilber who runs sound, has booked most of the shows and generally lives, eats, breathes and occasionally sleeps Death by Audio for most of its existence. (As you may have heard, Ty was last night's "secret guest" at the soon-to-close DIY venue.) "I'm honored and a little sad to be playing here tonight. I kinda feel like I've grown up here. I played my first New York show here, at the tender age of 21 or 20, with Thee Oh Sees and Sic Alps. There were 75 people there...we love you guys."
It was a crazy show -- there was a line of nearly a hundred people when I got to DbA around 8:15 PM -- and I'm pretty sure it was sold out by the time Rips started at 9. (The Numerators and Guantanamo Baywatch also played.) Ty's popularity has skyrocketed and I'd wager half the people there had never been to DbA before. It was definitely a different vibe than its been at most of these farewell shows. But any grumpiness on my part melted away when Ty took the stage. I think he was looking at Edan most of the set, and those repeated chants were pretty heartwarming. Ty's fanbase may have changed, but he hasn't. Mid-set, Ty had the crowd hoist Edan up and send him back, all the way back to the bar. Or at least the merch table. Edan had the biggest grin on his face, it was definitely a Top 10 DbA Moment for me.
The wildest part of the show came during "Tell Me What's Inside Your Heart" when Ty said he wanted to see 100 people crowdsurf, and had someone keeping vocal count. They hit their mark. While the general insanity of the crowd took overwhelmed the evening, Ty and his band sounded great and we got a fair ammount of his teriffic new album, Manipulator, a few older rippers, plus covers of "Wild Thing/Louie Louie" and, um, "Californication." The night ended with Manipulator standout "It's Over," which was appropriate on a couple levels. Setlist from Ty's DbA show, plus video of Edan getting passed back and a few more instagrams, below...
Eight nights left for DbA. Tonight's show (11/15) is a great one without evening knowing who the special guest is: Ovlov, Big Ups and Yvette. Meanwhile, Guantanamo Baywatch play in Brooklyn again tonight (11/15) at Baby's All Right with Fletcher C Johnson and Scully. That's a late night show, doors at midnight.
Instagrams, video and setlist from last night's Ty Segall show below...
Williamsburg DIY venue Death By Audio, which closes forever after 10 more shows, is currently hosting an art exhibition called 'Death By Art' to accompany the venue's demise. One of the pieces of art on display is/was a mural that read "Fuck You Shane". It probably isn't a coincidence that the masterpiece in question was up at Death By Audio who are losing their lease to Vice, and that Vice's CEO and co-founder is named Shane Smith.
Construction on the building in preparation for the new tenants has been ongoing. In fact, water came pouring through the venue's ceiling almost a month ago. Today, two workers (pictured above), entered and painted over the mural. "Censorship brought to you by ...rhymes with nice", wrote one in attendance. It's unclear who ordered the new paint job, but apparently the residents of Death By Audio were powerless to stop it.
Meanwhile, Death By Art continues with an even more meaningful display, and Dan Deacon headlines the 10th-to-last show tonight (11/13). Prince Rama performs an exorcism before he plays.
There are only TEN NIGHTS LEFT at Death By Audio, the DIY Williamsburg venue closing to make way for Vice to move in. Eight of those ten nights were explicitly advertising secret guests (until a minute ago). You can browse the full schedule below.
Big names who have already come in to help the venue shut down in style include Parquet Courts, Deerhoof, Woods, Screaming Females, Ted Leo, Speedy Ortiz, Dirty on Purpose, JEFF the Brotherhood, and venue co-founders and residents A Place to Bury Strangers. It is of course possible that any one of them could play again in the next ten days (especially the residents), but it is more likely that Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Future Islands and other bands who have a history with the space will pop in, such as.... DAN DEACON who is now 100% confirmed for tonight's show (11/13). Check out the poster above.
Dan, who recently led a dance contest with "team Death By Audio" while opening for Arcade Fire at Barclays Center, will make people dance after a "special interactive dance performance by Prince Rama who have revealed their set involves an exorcism. Before that is the great Cloud Becomes Your Hand who are known to work in some interpretive dance of their own, and the night opens with performance artist Mr. Transylvania.
Final schedule below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield
Speedy / Hunters / Death by Art
Speedy Ortiz came through NYC for two shows earlier this month on their tour with Ex Hex, and once the tour ended they returned on Tuesday (11/11) for one of the last-ever shows at the soon-to-close Death by Audio, the same place they played their album release show in 2013 for their debut LP Major Arcana. For this show they were joined by their Exploding In Sound pals Palehound, as well as Hunters. It was a bigger room than the last time Speedy played... thanks to part of that middle wall being knocked down, and the Death by Art exhibit was open too. (Do check that out when you're there for a show.) We've got some pictures of that, as well as shots of all three bands in this post.
Last night's Death By Audio show (that we missed) was Pygmy Shrews, Satanic Cult (Mike Berdan Solo), Pleasure Industry and Lawsuits. Tonight (11/13) is headlined by a special guest (hint: It's Dan Deacon) with an interactive dance performance by Prince Rama, a set by Cloud Becomes Your Hand, and Mr. Transylvania. Ted Leo and Screaming Females showed up the other night. November 22nd is the venue's final night.
More pictures from the Speedy show, below...