I guess I’d never seen Williamsburg on a Friday night before. I would’ve thought at some point I must have, but as I rolled down Bedford Ave. and bore witness to the hedonistic hipster fashion show — like something out of Valley of the Dolls, but sucky and pretending to be environmentally conscious at the same time — I swear I’ve never seen anything like it. Next-gen aristocrats everywhere pretending to be edgy for each other. The whole place smelled like sex, alcohol and axle grease. Get me the fuck out.
My timing was meh. I walked into the Charleston first as the band before was on and second after Droids Attack‘s set had already begun (I went to hide my head in the meantime; here I’ll point out that my terror was all the worse in my surroundings because I wasn’t drinking). The “stage” was basically just the end of the room in the basement, which, as far as I’m concerned, rules. If there’s one redeeming value about a small show in New York, whether it’s at Lit Lounge, the Delancey, or back at Club Midway when they put on shows — and at countless others, I don’t doubt — is that the show is downstairs while the assholes are upstairs. I’ll take that every time.
The sound is never great in a basement, what with all the concrete, but the sound is never great anywhere and Droids Attack certainly made the most of it, guitarist/vocalist Brad Van playing through a new Orange amp as well as the Dr. Z you can hear on their Must Destroy album. Van had a couple extended solos and there was a sizable jam at the end of the set — take that, Mr. “This Is Your Last Song” Sound Guy — and bassist Nate Bush and drummer Tony Brungraber locked down killer grooves throughout the proceedings. The vibe was good times, irony and bullshit free, and Droids Attack rocked out with clear love for what they were doing. By the end of the set, I was up front.
It was getting late and I had a two-hour drive ahead of me (as opposed to the prior two-hour drive it took me to get to the Charleston in the first place), but Kings Destroy were quick in setting up their gear, so I managed to stay for their whole set and barely a minute longer. This was, I believe, their third show — remember the first? — and just between the two I’ve seen they already seem more established on stage. Carl Porcaro and Chris Skowronski, both on guitar, played a little slower than in Hoboken, giving an ultra-doom feel to the songs they didn’t have last time I heard them. I recognized a good portion of the material, which if I didn’t say this in my last review bodes well for the full-length to be recorded this summer, and though I wanted them to be a little louder (they were un-miked and competing with two guitar and bass amplifiers as well as the P.A.), Rob Sefcik‘s drums turned out to make the night. Not too many frills in his playing, but a steady hand and some enticing fills that did well accenting Steve Murphy‘s vocals, which also felt more confident over the songs.
If I haven’t mentioned him yet, it’s only because bassist Ed Bocchino was a little lower in the overall mix than I would have liked — doom needs rumble — but that could just as easily be caused by the concrete eating the low end as by an amp needing to be turned up. I also noticed it with Nate Bush during Droids Attack‘s set, so it very well could have just been the room.
When I was over I shook hands and was out quick to hit the road. It was well past one in the morning and I’d be lucky to make it to Connecticut before three — which, luckily, I did — but even taking that into account, and even with the hipster douchery surrounding, I don’t regret having gone to the show. Smaller gigs like that are my favorite, being neither especially friendly nor able to see the charm in having beer spilled on my sandaled feet. The Charleston may have been beset on all sides, but the basement was like a fallout shelter and I was only to happy to soak up whatever sanctuary I could.