In Waste Of Paint, our writer/artist team of Jamie Peck and Debbie Allen will review goings-on about town in words and images.
Remember when you had to drive an hour to a town you’d never been to just to see whatever D.I.Y. shit was going down in your state that weekend? You’d bitch about it at the time, but it gave you a kind of treasure hunt-like satisfaction. Waste of Paint recaptured some of that (suburban) adolescent spirit this weekend by voyaging to two exotic locales: Ridgewood and Hoboken.
Friday, we roadtripped to Maxwell’s to see The Gories play the latest of a handful of reunion shows on the docket since their 2009 reformation. Formed in 1986 (and subsequently disbanded in 1992) by Detroit natives Mick Collins, Peg O’Neill and Dan Kroha, The Gories played a key role in pioneering the kind of stripped-down, bluesy garage-punk that’s since exploded. The Hoboken show felt a bit like a dress rehearsal for their Saturday engagement at the Bell House, what with all the missed entries and exits, jokes about how they hadn’t played certain songs since the ’90s, and general messiness. “We just played that in different keys,” admitted Collins after a particularly dissonant part. Things coalesced by the end, though, when they delivered a confident rendition of “Nitroglycerine” to a crowd that seemed honored to be let in on the process.
Saturday brought us to Ridgewood’s K+K Super Buffet to watch hundreds of sweaty young people explore the newest frontier in Brooklyn’s all-ages music scene. Beset by various difficulties with his usual venues, dogged D.I.Y. patriarch Todd P. commandeered a cavernous Chinese restaurant and booked an all-star lineup. As people pushed and jockeyed, for position or just to get to the bathroom, the smell of fried rice mingled with those of cheap beer and human kinetics.
Black Dice drove the front portion of the room to violent joy with their glitchy, thrashy, electronic experiments. Occasionally they’d slide into something resembling a more regular techno/dub beat (inspiring that awful up-and-down techno dance), but most of the time they kept it weird with endless interlocking manipulations of sound. Traditional instruments came into play only to be warped unrecognizably. A human voice became an evil, robotic elf; a guitar lick became a single live wire, endlessly whipping around.
Things were getting a little intense by this point, as the chunk of hair that went missing sometime that night would attest, so it was probably prudent that Real Estate started off with something slow and dreamy. When they kicked it up to anything resembling mid-tempo, the spirited moshing and crowd-surfing resumed. Like a lot of bands currently in operation, Real Estate has a hint of the beach in their sunny guitar pop, but unlike, say, Surfer Blood, their music evokes a beach town just after Labor Day, when summer’s winding down and nostalgia is starting to creep in. “Welcome to Ridgewood, Queens. We come from a town called Ridgewood, New Jersey,” said bassist Alex Bleeker at one point.
After Real Estate’s lovely, slowed-down finale, a dance party commenced, and members of the band could be seen busting some moves with their friends by the buffet tables. On my way out, I caught Todd P and told him he’d found a great venue. “It’s only the beginning,” he replied before rushing off.