As a part of my Farewell New York weekend, I unfortunately didn’t hit any noteworthy shows on Friday and instead spent some good time catching up with college buds. But Saturday was the day of the Underwater Peoples showcase at Shea Stadium in Brooklyn and there was no way I was going to miss that. In case you have been living under a rock for the past year, Underwater Peoples is the New Jersey-born label that has put out a good portion of the music that everyone is raving about these days. So we rounded up the troops (me, fellow contributor Marc, and a few other pals) to trek out to Brooklyn to this DIY venue where all the Jersey bands were hanging that night. It was basically all New Jersey bands, all night, which was totally fine with me. Case in point: we were Julian Lynch‘s first wine customers while he was manning the table. What a ridiculously nice dude. So we convinced our friends this would be a good place to stop by and I managed to catch a few bands and snap some blurry pictures during the short time that we were there.
We got there in time to catch a shredding set from Family Portrait, the house band featuring the Underwater Peoples masterminds and Julian Lynch on drums (what can’t that guy do?) They definitely ruled and jammed my very favorite “Mega Secrets” toward the end of their set. These guys had been on my band “bucket list” for a little while, so this was a great time to see them, and it wasn’t just myself enjoying them judging from all of the dancing kids in the audience.
Due to my friends needing snacks and having to go on a bodega run, we missed a few bands but were back in time for Big Troubles who have probably been my favorite new discovery this year. I last saw them at Glasslands at the end of July where they absolutely killed, and this time was no exception. My ears are still ringing, two days later. Shea Stadium’s sound has always proven to be one of the louder ones, so add the Big Troubles wall of shredding on top of that and you’ve got a recipe for hearing damage. Plus I have a righteous bruise from some girl who kicked me when a six-person mosh pit randomly started. Normally I’ll ignore that kind of nonsense but it does get kind of distracting when it results in personal injury. Even the Big Troubles dudes asked them to stop because we “weren’t at Warped Tour” and they are a “mosh-free band,” but the crowd were rebels who don’t need to listen. There’s nothing I like better than drinking beer and listening to Big Troubles, but these kids made that almost impossible.
Anyway, they blasted through their songs at least twice as fast as they are on record and worked the crowd into a frenzy. Maybe that’s where the moshing came from. But it was obvious that they were a favorite and I’m going to miss hitting up their live shows. I definitely recommend picking up their Drastic and Difficult 7″ out on Olde English Spelling Bee and I’m awaiting the full length out on the same label, whenever it’s ready. Until then, check out this session they did for WFMU where you can grab some live mpfrees of songs that will hopefully be on their debut, Worry. Such fun little belligerently loud pop songs that will be stuck in your head, as I can attest to since the random bursting out singing “Drastic and Difficult” while wandering Williamsburg kept happening the rest of the night.
Next we caught Alex Bleeker and the Freaks, also on my “bucket list” ever since I had gotten their debut LP at a Real Estate show awhile back. Tonight’s lineup featured Julian Lynch on guitar, Martin Courtney on bass and Matt Mondanile (rocking a dad hat) on drums. However, my friends were getting sleepy so we negotiated staying for a few Freaks songs before we had to peace out. They surprised us by kicking off the set with a cover of Weezer’s “Say it Ain’t So,” dedicated to Pat Stickles from Titus Andronicus, who was in attendance that night, which inspired a fervent singalong by the whole place. An amazing nostalgia trip that definitely had me feeling the same wave of nostalgia as when Real Estate and Woods covered Blind Melon‘s “No Rain” during their tour back in March. After that we heard a nice version of one of my favorites off the LP, “Part 2,” and then it was time to leave so that our non-indie rock-obsessed friends wouldn’t revolt and/or fall asleep.
Really bummed I couldn’t hang around to catch Julian Lynch again, full-band Ducktails or Real Estate, who were playing a surprise show listed as Warlords, as I found out when Daniel texted me as soon as I got there. You can check that flyer above to see what else I missed and berate me later. Apparently even Alan Palomo of Neon Indian showed up to catch the Jersey bros close out the night. Peep some way less blurry photos than mine (still working on learning how to navigate this camera) over at NJ Underground and some disposable film goodness at Salad Fork. Despite the fact we didn’t stay long, we did catch enough of what makes the Underwater Peoples family a force to be reckoned with right now. Who knows if these kinds of communities are thriving in Europe, where I’m headed next. Plus my favorite awesome grill bros were out across the street doing their thing. I won’t be back to BK for a little while, but seeing a bunch of my favorites this weekend will tide me over until it’s time to come back to the States.