From spring of 2011 through spring of 2012, my illustrator pal Debbie Allen and I produced a live music column for Sound of the City called Waste of Paint. On the suggestion of former Voice music editor Maura Johnston, we arranged our words and pictures into comic-strip-like dispatches on the music we saw each weekend (and later, every other weekend). Although we covered some big names like Slick Rick and Santigold, we devoted a substantial number of column inches (pages?) to music that wasn’t getting covered by many other outlets, both in deference to the Voice‘s history of hyper-local coverage and because that was simply our favorite stuff to go to.
The trio of clubs at S. 2nd and Kent — Glasslands, 285 Kent, and Death by Audio — played an important role in the column, enabling us to hop back and forth and see a bunch of music in one night. More than any of them, DBA felt like home, even if we sometimes had to pay a cover charge, as Edan cared more about paying the bands than getting press for his venue. With its boisterous all-ages crowds, muraled walls, and strong DIY ethos, it was a haven for an extended family of local and touring acts, even as the neighborhood around it grew fancier and fancier.
As we officially close the book on DBA and Williamsburg in general as destinations for grassroots culture, let’s mark their passing with some colorful memories. Rest in peace, Death by Audio! I might not remember every night I spent in you, but I’m pretty sure they were the best.
Below you’ll find many illustrations of the bands we saw at DBA over the course of Waste of Paint.