Live photos and review: Deer Tick and Bad Brains go punk for Halloween, messiness ensues
Tue Nov 3 2009
"It's a punk rock show, what the fuck did they expect?" muttered one girl to her friend at Saturday's Halloween Vice party. She was bitching about the heavy-handed security men who were trying (and failing) to keep order during Bad Brains' headline set ("Leave it to Vice to hire the Mafia for security," wrote one partygoer on Brooklyn Vegan). What was funny about the hoo-ha was that across the street at Brooklyn Bowl, Deer Tick had just finished playing its Sex Pistols tribute show—so you could stroll from pretend punk to the real deal. Find out the full story after the jump.
Brooklyn Bowl's bash was open to anyone in dressed in costume, with a $5 charge to those in normal duds. (Observation: 99 percent of the crowd there was in awesome hallloween outfits—props in particular to the dude in a silver body stocking with ducks on it claiming to be a chick magnet, infomercial guy, girls just out the shower, and the cheerful, burly men wearing kimonos. The 1 percent not dressed up comprised dudes in bands. What's with that?) Rhode Island crew Deer Tick not only wore Pistols gear (see pics above) but had clearly been grinding up on The Filth and the Fury, John McCauley talking in fluent Lydon and spitting beer in the air, and bassist Christopher Ryan hurling himself at the singer. It was entertaining, silly stuff.
Then on to the Vice party. Around 2,000 people were invited to a huge warehouse space in Williamsburg, with the promise of free booze, a skate ramp, and the Jesus Lizard and Bad Brains. The party was in celebration of the magazine's 15th birthday, and invites asked guests to dress as a cultural clich from 1994. Given the dank, can't-see-where-the-hell-you're-going darkness of the space (plus broken glass on the floor, nowhere to sit down, etc.), costumes seemed pretty irrelevant; the event felt much more like an early-'90s rave than some glamorous party (which is probably what organizers were after).
Was it fun, though? Well... Before Bad Brains even took the stage, a slam-dancing space had been cleared at the front of the crowd. As soon as the D.C. hardcore icons launched into the fearsome noise of the first song, the crowd went nuts, one man climbing up a concrete pillar and crawling along the ceiling pipes, like a scurrying insect. Singer H.R., a man known for violently throwing himself around onstage in Bad Brains' heyday, stood stock-still, smiling beatifically amid the noise. Security stopped Bad Brains midset, announcing in monotone, "This is not a concert, it's a party"—and the crowd chanted its defiance: a scene unchanged from the first rock & roll concerts, via Altamont, etc., etc.
Downstairs (or rather, down a big ramp), DJs were playing '90s-style drum 'n' bass to an empty space, while long lines of fancily dressed guests queued in the rain outside. We fled: back to the Brooklyn Bowl to dance to "Empire State of Mind."
Check out pics of Jesus Lizard at Brooklyn Vegan (and comments, which include, "hands down party of the year. give me an example of a better one" and, "Vice man. jesus, they always fuck everything up!").