New Yorkers are a fickle, fast-moving bunch when it comes to their bars and clubs. This is how quickly we move (and if you can’t keep up you either aren’t from here or live on the Upper East Side): Fat Baby is so last hour; Fontana’s is the new Fat Baby, but Fat Baby was the new Dark Room—that is, until Eleven became the Annex, which became the new Dark Room. But the Annex is so over, and it’s not even open yet. We might all have to start going back to Pianos.
By now, it’s all over the blogosphere. The Annex (started by Dark Room’s owners) was supposed to open on January 21, with much hyped British band Editors headlining the Tiswas 2.0 party. Throughout the week leading up to the event, people got a series of confusing e-mails. It was on, but moving to Hiro. It was on, but back at the Annex. Then, moving to Rothko. No, to Fontana’s. Actually, it moved to both, with Editors playing Rothko, and the Tiswas jam with Peter Hook spinning at Fontana’s, which was so new that everyone I was with was utterly confused about how and when the place had come into existence. Usually, venues are not allowed to open without every hipster knowing about them and giving their greasy seal of approval. (By the way, the Annex’s opening is still pending, due to finishing construction and making sure all paperwork is square with the city, but at press time they were slated to finally open this weekend.)
The Editors, well, they were quite professional, weren’t they? Nothing wrong with them, and not so Interpolly as I’d expected, but there was a point where they sounded exactly like this local band that was popular when I was in high school in Las Vegas, called Hostage Symphony—a perfect post-’80s distillation of the
Smiths, the Cure, New Order, Joy Division, and Depeche Mode, all rolled into one. This made me giggle.
Fontana’s is one of those spaces that is more than a neighborhood bar, but isn’t exactly a real club like Crobar. It’s a megabar, and it mega-needs an identity. A confusing mix of hyper-hip scenesters and guys with slick hair and preppy shirts shoved their way past each other, each trying to pretend the other didn’t exist. Parts of the bar’s design suggested a rockabilly look. But in the main dancefloor area, ’70s blaxploitation flicks played on the wall, and there was also a lovely, almost classy chandelier hanging from the ceiling. A VIP balcony overlooked that section, and there was a pool table underneath that. Downstairs, there was still another room, which had almost the exact same Al Pacino– Scarface-hot-pink-and-orange-with-palm-trees background motif as the downstairs of Eleven (soon to be the Annex, remember). See how no matter where you go, there you are?
Peter Hook, probably a lovely guy, played possibly the worst set of cringe- inducing cheeseball techno I’ve ever heard and shamelessly spun cover versions of his own New Order and Joy Division tunes. Including a remix by the Crystal Method. Ewww. There’s a reason why some people shouldn’t be allowed to touch turntables. That said, it was hard to hate on the guy. He was having such a fantastic time, kicking his legs in the air and throwing his hands above his head, displaying more enthusiasm than I’ve ever seen from a DJ, save hard-house Seattle jock Donald Glaude.
In other DJ-related news, I am sad to say that Scottish spinner Mylo, who made one of my fave records last year, Destroy Rock and Roll (which is so good, it kinda does), and who spun one of the most amazing sets I’ve seen in ages at the Tribeca Grand last summer, had to cancel his upcoming U.S. tour because, after getting a virus, he’s suffering temporary hearing loss. As a partially deaf person who wears a hearing aid, I hope it is truly only temporary, and I can’t wait for him to come back. By then, we’ll have moved back to Lit as the next new-old thing.