Friday, February 16, 2007

And I Couldn't Feel My Feet for 45 Minutes...

Here it is, folks: the first official review of the year, Destruction at Studio B, Brooklyn (review here, pictures here), from a show fraught on the fringes with danger and more danger, plus sheer exploitation of my title as journalist. Let's start with the exploitation, because as John Lennon once said, "Power corrupts. Absolute power is kinda neat."

I assume many of you have heard of Almost Famous, the Cameron Crowe semi-biopic where a wannabe young rock journalist goes on the road with a rising-star band to chronicle their trials and tribulations for Rolling Stone. I love the movie for two reasons: first, it's got Jason Lee sporting a full beard singing a song called "Fever Dog" and generally making an ass of himself. Second, I can relate to how much William Miller, the main character, loves the music he's covering. At one point in the movie, William is listening to Lester Bangs expound on why it's simultaneously so awesome and so terrible to be a rock music critic - and one of the reasons why it's good is because you get free albums.

I've been the beneficiary of this quirk before, but the night of the concert was the first time I got to use it in person, when a member of Sanitarius's street team came up to me and asked if I wanted to buy a CD. I lied and said I didn't have any money on me (which is my standard response), but then I remembered I could get the goods in exchange for a review, so I told him I was a journalist, gave him a card and got a free CD to review. Exploitation for personal profit is fun!

The danger part was less cool - not because I'm against danger per se, but because this danger was danger with absolutely no upside. Studio B is located in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, an area (for those of you not familiar with the geography) made up of alternating groups of residences and miles of warehouses. Studio B was in the middle of one of these warehouse blocs, 15 minutes walk away from the subway station. I walked quickly, hoping I wouldn't see anyone because I figured that would reduce the possibility of getting knifed. Given the amount of empty warehouses in the area, I'm a little confused as to why someone decided to build a club in middle instead of at one of the fringes.

I arrived outside Studio B at 6:30, which was when the show was supposed to start. The doors were not open, although the club had put up the crowd control to form a line outside the door. Normally, not a problem: this is rock and roll; it works on its own schedule, published times be damned. However, February 5 was at the start of the cold snap that continues to dominate New York City and it was 18 degrees and windy outside. Keeping the doors closed for 45 minutes past the supposed start of the show while people queued up outside in the freezing cold? Not cool. Bands might have been setting up inside, but it's OK to expose someone's sound check to the public to prevent hypothermia.

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