Lightning Bolt, A Place to Bury Strangers, JEFF & Grooms played Death by Audio’s final show (pics / video)
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...
JEFF the Brotherhood