In this era of sensory overload, we are faced with not only more options for consumption and information gathering, but we are also given the freedom to choose and combine possibilities. In the fashion world, we would describe this as a “mix of hi-lo,” i.e. a simultaneous juxtaposition of street/disposable style with branded designer wear. The same holds true for the music world. Bands and audiences alike frequent official halls, such as Bowery Ballroom and Terminal 5, and DIY (do-it-yourself) venues in abandoned spaces in Brooklyn and Queens. Venues such as the Market Hotel, Silent Barn, Monster Island Basement and Shea Stadium are not recent developments, but still carry a bit of currency in the music scene. Moreover, I still have to applaud the creative repurposing of vacant buildings, despite the illegality of it all. And it was at the Market Hotel a few years back with the band, Titus Andronicus, that I embraced the return of moshing — perhaps one of the better socially acceptable expressions of rage. Moshing is a lot friendlier these days though–I think it’s an expression of a collective spirit now, rather than anything existential.
Even more interesting, however, is the reappropriation of public space as temporary music installation. Promoter ToddP throws all-day shows on Fort Tilden beach and Roosevelt Island. Never Break Down and Sleep When Dead (with the band the Eskalators) take over subway cars, parks, and more. This is not your average subway car performance – expect moshing, riders joining in, and for it to last the entire length of the subway line and beyond – I joined them for a show that ended IN the globe at Flushing Meadow Park. The concept behind the Eskalators is that anybody can be in the band, whether you play the egg shaker, a washboard or the trumpet.
Photo by Kerry Payne
It might be the CMJ Music Festival this week, but I strongly recommend checking out Subway Show #6 this Saturday. On the itinerary this time: a ride on the JMZ from Bowery to Myrtle at 4pm, ending fittingly at a show at”¦the Market Hotel (by Pitchfork/Showpaper/ToddP).