No Age w/HEALTH, Cults, Ceremony
House Of Vans
Thursday, June 30
Better than: Anything you went to see last night. (Sorry Real Estate.)
The skater brand Vans has once again set up shop in Greenpoint for a month of rowdy rock shows at a warehouse, and the venue is pretty fantastic, even if concertgoers were asked to leave their skateboards at home. The gigantic space is predictably decked in Vans gear—glowing projections on the wall, a huge trailer covered in Vans graffiti outside—with parts of dismantled skate ramps lurking in the shadows. A huge garage door opens up to an outside yard where one can find sustenance courtesy of a taco truck, Italian ice carts, and (of course) a long open bar.
We arrived at last night’s kickoff around 9 p.m., just as Cults ended their chilled-out set (a contrast with the otherwise noisy lineup). A DJ set by Sean Agnew—where he mixed Lil Wayne, TLC, and ’90s radio anthems (think Third Eye Blind)—blared over the set-change din.
While the singalongs to “Creep” and abundance of free drinks primed the now very tipsy crowd for the upcoming bands, HEALTH, which seemed crafted especially to play a sticky, foggy warehouse shows in the summertime, kicked the party up a full notch. The band’s synth-laden, industrial-tinted tracks exploded into a mosh pit that went from stage to floor. Drummer BJ Miller and guitarist Jupiter Keyes battled each other while vocalist Jake Duzsik serenely crooned over their high-tension builds. Their glitchy anthem “Die Slow” served as a highlight as the band romped around the stage, messing with sound pedals and mirroring the flails of their fans.
No Age brought much of the same mayhem, as the garage punk revivalists—now back to playing as a duo—pounded out their set as the crowd grew completely chaotic. Watching Dean Spunt play drummer and lead singer is enough of a spectacle on its own, but the floor put on a show itself. Water bottles flew above the now-raucous pile of people who were just as willing to slam into each other in time with the grating guitar as they were ready to launch themselves off the stage barrier and on top of the crowd. During an especially fist-clenching rendition of “Everybody’s Down,” Spunt led chants of “Not afraid of laughter/ sense of feeling too” as one particularly enthusiastic reveler sprayed his beer in circles over the crowd. A girl sporting a VIP bracelet and a scowl angrily dumped her bottle of water on his head in response. The drenched man just laughed and gave her a high five.
Critical bias: Saw HEALTH a few years ago in a warehouse in Baltimore and think it’s the only way to do it.
Overheard: “That was me 10 years ago.”—A friend, in reference to a fist-pumping crowd-surfer.