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About two weeks after playing a sold-out show at Terminal 5, one of the city’s biggest venues that doesn’t also double as a sports arena, the rollicking indiepop bands Real Estate has a show lined up in the back room of a Chinese buffet in Queens. Who else could be behind this but Todd P.?
The event, happening tomorrow at Ridgewood’s K&K Super Buffet, also has Black Dice, The Babies, Dogleather—and DJ sets from Oneohtrix Point Never and Ducktails—on the bill. It also serves as a sort of rebirth/rebranding for longtime D.I.Y. impresario Todd “Todd P.” Patrick. He spent a good chunk of the last decade building an off-the-grid concert empire in New York, only to see much of his work undone in the past year or two as the city began to rein in semi-illegal spaces. Venues in which he had varying degrees of emotional, legal, and financial stakes—Monster Island Basement, Market Hotel, and Silent Barn—have either shut their doors or been forced to relocate. This didn’t leave Patrick with a lot of options. “For things to keep growing,” he told SOTC earlier this week, “doing things outside of the concert industry, it has to… go legit.”
“But ‘legit’ doesn’t mean working within the monopoly control of the concert industry,” he was quick to add. “It just means being more creative and utilitizing the dozens, hundreds, thousands of spaces in the city that work as venues but go unutilized.”
Like, for instance, the banquet hall of a Ridgewood buffet restaurant possessing the chief virtues (according to the denizens of Yelp) of a gigantic parking lot and “ample seating.” (Five of the seven reviews rave about the seating.). K&K Super Buffet is not a disused space which has semi-ironically kept the old sign; it is not a speakeasy; it is not even a place which technically serves food but is really mostly a nightclub. It is a fully functioning, snow-crab-and-kung-pao-chicken Chinese buffet.
Was the restaurant reluctant to host an all-night show (already sold-out) for hundreds of people? “We weren’t their first rodeo,” Patrick says dryly. In fact, he got the idea to throw a show there after going to a what he describes as a “really crazy” Cumbia concert that went until 4 a.m.—the kind of event that happens all over New York’s outer boroughs, advertised by glossy postcards with DJs’ names superimposed on the forehead of girls in swimwear. Patrick saw that and thought and wanted some of it for himself (minus the fliers, which was K&K’s one stipulation—they get too many tickets from the sanitation department).
Assuming tomorrow’s show goes well, Patrick plans to do more shows at K&K; he’s also scouting bingo halls, art galleries, school gymnasiums, and even “these spaces that have enormous activity centers, enormous event halls—they’re called churches.”
None of this is exactly new, of course—Patrick has been talking about “going legit” since at least 2009, and has already put on more than one show in a church basement. Is he really, finally leaving all that living room, illegal smoking, BYOB stuff in the past? Time will tell. But, if you get to tomorrow’s show early enough, you can at least grab a plate of fried tofu.
Real Estate, Black Dice, The Babies, and Dogleather play at K&K Super Buffet tomorrow night. Oneohtrix Point Never DJs.