Goodbye, 285 Kent Ave
Our thoughts on the NY venue’s final shows

DJ Dog Dick: Everybody who actually lit up a high toward the end of Ava Luna got their buzz totally blown up by DJ Dog Dick. Wielding a suitcase full of electronics, he hung a cut-out face on a mic stand next to the tabled equipment and started in with blown woofers harnessing hollowed electronic beats. I have seen this fellah kill it before on a bill with The Savage Young Taterbug, Hurricanes of Love, Tracey Trance, and C L E A N E R S. But “killing it” is exactly what happened at Kent. Either you transitioned your previous dance from Ava Luna into something a little more rampaged or your buzz totally just got rocked. DJ Dog Dick stood afoot: villain in the spotlight and tormented by the position of himself on stage and audience in the midst; he brought 285 to rubble. Headband tight, but hair still in his eyes. Fingerless gloves flexin’ muscles past the knuckles. Rockaway goons to right of the stage, their fists punching the air, and an occasional plume of yellowish smoke. Way less camera flashes. Mostly cell phones. Maybe a dozen. Background crowd looks like an ever-repeating Ultra Street Fighter 2 32-bit visual loop. Crumbling walls. Overachiever of the physical prowess in the lustrous of storms. A confetti of noise and beats, chemical vocals, and autocorrected lyrics surged upon the crowd. Pure subway-style live performance. Tornadoes of versus ringing throughout the venue. There’s NEVER anything going on next door, yet always a line. Can we get someone on this? -CM

Dan Deacon: Yeah, so tell me what you think about this: got that straight over-crowded agita (typical/awesome of 285 Kent), ran to the bathroom, and inevitably shut down one of the bowls, told the promoters I got my pal Marshall in as DeForrest (who wasn’t coming), and had always been wearing sweatpants? GET READY FOR THE NEXT BATTLE: Todd P (285 Kent renter) is called out by Deacon in a pit of people (as the dance guru is known to do) and slowly begins to play another bounce track off Bromst. It was cute: Todd P reached out to audience members and got them to dance with him in the circle of joy; wet hair and white t’s abundant in sweat and smiles. There was also some phone app everyone could’ve downloaded and participated in Deacon’s show with, but not many people did, as Dan told Marshall in a deli we went to post-performance. -CM

January 18: MV Carbon, Alberich, Noveller, Wolf Eyes

Noveller

MV Carbon: Arriving at the beginning of MV Carbon’s set, I was instantly entertained. As former ISSUE Project Room’s “Artist in Residence,” MV Carbon unfortunately did NOT wield a string instrument she had made herself, but was surrounded by knobs and tape reels and a candelabra. Wearing a jester-pope cap, she crooned brokenly into a mic attached to the end of a wand as beats festered out of noise scrapping along the surface of each speaker. At warped speeds, she transitioned between the dance world and wicked slime sounds, while magnificently keeping her vocals on both paths. During one point, it seemed like her electronics were spiraling out of control, so she took one of the lit candles and mixed it into the horizontal reel-to-reel she kept tugging. Electronics crackled and sizzled, and the audience was in awe at the way she polarized a magnetic frequency from wax to reel tape. MV Carbon’s performance came to an end abruptly, shouts and applause struck an echo, and she politely thanked everyone. -CM

Alberich: We (being myself and C Monster) pushing through the door crew telling them, “This playing right now is something we’re supposed to cover,” receiving wristbands and hand stamps and whatevers, and then dove directly into a crowded (and somewhat musty) room. Mike Sugarman’s interviewee Alberich was a bit into his set and barely visible. Sprawling synthscapes blazed across the room, tugging along raucous white noise. C Monster was getting a bit tiffed at the people chatting around us, so he pushed ahead with his adorable snaggled smile and found us a spot to the left of the stage where he then hung his head low, bobbing to the music. Violent fuzz plowed through the mix and the room among other sounds that recalled a gnarled voice. With a final religious heft, the music ascended and the room felt weightless before the music stopped completely. -DBJ

Noveller: Whenever I see/saw Elvis or Pat sweating on stage in the fire of lights, I never understood that sort of frustration until my epiphany during Noveller. Having to wait and perform in front of at least 300 melted-together humans while you stand alone and serene for five minutes of “mic check” [or outlet trouble] has to be like trying to say “Thank you” to a pilot from the wing at 25 miles off the soil. Or as a whisper would be heard in the world while you were sleeping. A stunt woman of entertainment by way of distant need and violent desire. Noveller was appropriate for her piece, determined since base camp, and was prepared to seek past the peak. The sound echoed throughout a typical modern Brooklyn street-scape and continues to swan-song away. -CM

Wolf Eyes: As Wolf Eyes took the stage, Nate Young was wearing black shades atop a leather jacket and black pants, and potentially black shoes. The guy next to me spoke with another member of the crowd about his love of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, having seen them open for Nine Inch Nails. We locked eyes, there was acknowledgement, and then, a scissoring guitar line swept through the crowd. Swaying in a weighted, defeated way, the piercing guitar licks and the ceremonious drums became hypnotizing. C Monster directed my attention in front me with an obnoxious glare. A man was writing on a “friend’s” Facebook status, “Too bad you missed out. Wolf Eyes is up now and crushing it. Deafheaven is special guest. Wish you were here! LOL” He wasn’t laughing. Most of the smoke from C’s Black & Mild made his comment take about five minutes to type, as he swatted away swirls and brought the phone closer to his eyes. C tapped me on the shoulder and we stepped outside to get air. -DBJ

January 19: Guardian Alien, DIIV, White Lung

Guardian Alien (photo: Cheryl Georgette Arent)

Guardian Alien: Guardian Alien was just begging to tractor-beam their way outside 285 Kent when we arrived. As if portal-ing transdimensionally could’ve been any easier. Standing upon the shuttle-dock: Eli Winograd keepin’ it together, Bernard on doing the gutting, Fox taking measurements, and Alex fleshing out the codex. Pure psych freakout by way of playing every note, sound, and beat imaginable. Within the crowd between the stage and me was a couple making out. They were laughing and nosing and minding their glasses; she got her overall strap caught on a shirt button of his; one was chewing gum and then the other; texture was defined between the two as gentle bumps fit together, skin-to-skin. Pours began to swelter out every pocket, and Guardian Alien began to climax at all-time mental release. Hair and spine entangled within the slab of stage, molten trebles of ultimate loss apparitioned as apparent, and all at once easy to let go: saved outside in the air. -CM

DIIV: I don’t even know where to begin… I hate this, I hated this. There’s nothing more irritating than a band that talks to the crowd about… who cares… and… reverb-laden guitar lick after reverb-laden guitadr lick rubbed against the lead singer’s casually echoed vocal delivery. I face-palmed and C Monster did things and DIIV sang and people like it. Maybe. There was a point where DIIV begged people to start dancing, and it was uncomfortable. The air was not only sucked out of the venue via all the lungs in the crowd working at once, but it was stale with smoke and the feeling of “Can we get this over with?” -DBJ

White Lung: Why, yes. We CAN get this over with. My mom once told me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, then say nothing at all. -DBJ

Time to search the hundreds of other DIY venues in Brooklyn.

  

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