It’s easy to go to a lot of shows when you’re living in New York. There are interesting concerts happening every night, almost without exception. Concerts are not relegated to formal venues and clubs. City parks, dirty warehouses, sidewalks, and subway cars yield a diverse array of free and ticketed performances.
You can get lost in the speed of New York life. You can go to a concert every night and not have a second to reflect on any of them. “Show Diaries” is really a selfish exercise, a way for me (and other AW contributors) to slowdown and appreciate what life in New York (or elsewhere) as a working tourist exposes me to. We will cover a truly thin slice of what’s happening. There are too many worlds existing simultaneously for any cohesive account to exist. I have been pushing myself to explore the underground club world more and more, so this post alludes to far fewer guitars than it would have in summers past. I encourage you to follow all the links in this piece because they may lead you to concerts and music possibly as exciting to you as they are to me.
6/21/2013: PAN_ACT: The Bunker with Regis, Lee Gamble, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Laurel Halo, Bill Kouligas @ K & K Super Buffet, Ridgewood, Queens
This might be the most unique show I have even been to. I actually worked at it, but that means I was there when it began at 11PM and ended at 6AM, with the sun well over the buffet-venue. I didn’t see every set, but I got to hear them all, broadcast over eight subwoofers and four tall PAs. The dance floor,where hundreds (many euros) of underground club enthusiasts danced through the night normally holds the seating for a large chinese buffet, quite popular in Ridgewood.
The show was part of the PAN_ACT Festival, taking place all over New York in June, and put on by legendary Brooklyn promoters Bunker NYC. The night began with the churning analog noises of Keith Fullerton Whitman, who visited BuHo last spring. Next, PAN founder Bill Kouligas played a fully vinyl set of minimal techno that frequently wandered off into the realm of experimental, undanceable polyrhythms, and dissonant layers of indecipherable samples and jumbled synthesizers. Laurel Halo then ditched her computer and microphone to deliver a live, hardware only set, something increasingly rare in a time when a dude or dudette can get on stage with a laptop, open Ableton, and play a “HUGE” set. When Laurel Halo finished her set around 2AM, it was Lee Gamble’s turn to introduce the steady four on the floor kick that would keep everyone dancing through the early morning to minimal techno. Headliner Regis kept Gamble’s steady kick going until 6AM. The legendary British techno producer’s kick drum became so raw and physical at points that the glass looming over the empty buffet aisles would shake and threaten to shatter. The visceral appeal of techno clicked for me that night.
(5AM: the scene outside)
In the darkness of the buffet, with the only light in the room, a red lamp illuminating the artists, the music became the only thing to pay attention to. There was no crazy light show that one would see at an EDM rave, where visual fanfare might be packaged alongside the music and drugs — just a red performer, a dark dance floor, and rows of empty buffets. The enormous thud of techno was more than enough to keep everyone full.