Tag Archive: gig


Last show at Terminal 5

KVT5

I don’t go to a lot of concerts (relatively speaking), but I probably go to more than my fair share.  Thankfully, majority of bands out there are absolutely deplorable, so that certainly helps me set an artificial limit to my concert-going.

One thing I’d still like to do some time is go to a random concert every single night of one week.  Just randomly pick five different venues, then go check out whatever bands playing there that night.  Probably better if I don’t recognize the band so I’m not prejudging the show.  If I’m lucky, at the end of the week, I’ll have found a few new bands I want to listen to.  At worst, I’ll have uncovered a bunch of unlistenable bands to completely avoid like the plague.  Either way, it’s five night out, and there are worse ways to spend five nights out.

One venue I’m excluding from the list of venues is Terminal 5.  Fuck Terminal 5.

For as long as it’s been around, I’ve been going to Terminal 5.  After all, what choice do you have if a band you like decides to play there – you suck it up and go.  You go despite it being the worst fucking concert venue on the planet.

Last weekend, I went to what is probably my last time at Terminal 5.  The show’s line-up was absolutely brilliant, on paper at least.  The Beach Fossils, followed by Lee Ranaldo, followed by headliner Kurt Vile.  That’s a lot of talent packed into one night.  No throwaway bands here.  For the first time in the long time, we headed to the show right when the doors opened, unwilling to miss even a minute of the opening bands.

Getting there to Terminal 5 is both easy and hard.  “Easy” because being about as far west as possible in Hell’s Kitchen, it is surrounded by absolute shit.  There are no decent bars or restaurants within a 3-block radius to keep you from getting to the joint on time.  Most other concert venues have probably dozens of better than average watering holes where you can get a few brews and a decent meal before the show.  Not Terminal 5.  Terminal 5 is in the middle of Manhattan’s black hole.  There is jack shit around Terminal 5.  If you wanna grab a brew before a show, you’d have to walk a half-dozen blocks away to find anything.  It is also for that same reason that it’s hard to get to – it’s nowhere near any subways, and it’s in the anus of Manhattan.

Since it’s in such a shithole part of the city, the least you’d expect is for the joint to make up for it by being extra awesome.  After all, why would people keep schlepping all the way out there, right?  Well, the concert hall itself is fucking terrible.

T5 audience

Shaped largely like a cube, the main floor is peppered with large obstructive pillars.  The second floor balcony protrudes so far out that if you’re in far corner of the hall – any corner – you’re not seeing shit.

And that’s before you’re assaulted with what is indisputably the worst sound system in the universe.  It doesn’t matter if you put Jimmy Page or Jimmy Buffett on that stage – both will sound equally shitty.  Everything out of those speakers sounds like muffled farts through a bullhorn.  There is absolutely no articulation whatsoever (which is really important when you’re trying to listen to farts).  Honestly, I’ve had more pleasant afternoons listening to my neighbor’s dog bark incessantly at squirrels.

But that’s not all you have to listen to when you’re at Terminal 5.

You see, when you combine the fact that Terminal 5 is middle of the downtown Baghdad of New York and the fact that the sound is fucking dreadful, it becomes clear that Terminal 5 is being kept afloat by people who don’t really like music at all.

You go to any show there and you will invariable – and this entirely without exception – be surrounded by chatty assholes who don’t shut the fuck up.  People talk throughout entire gigs.  Whomever and whatever the fuck is playing on stage matters not one iota to these assholes.  Somehow, these assholes have rationalized the idea that the middle of a crowded thousand-decibel concert is the best place to carry on a meaningful conversation for two hours.  It’s always the same sort of person, too – it’s always either some tall bearded douchebag in a flannel shirt, or some overenthusiastic chick who looks like Marnie from Girls.  In other words, everyone in that place.  I can’t remember the last time I was at Terminal 5 when I’ve had to turn around to tell people to shut the fuck up.

Not one thing about Terminal 5 makes it appealing to see a band. I’ve been suckered into going to that concert sphincter for years, but I can’t bear going to Terminal 5 anymore.  I’ve seen my last show there.  I like Kurt Vile.  But Terminal 5 made me hate Kurt Vile.

And that’s what it comes down to: I’m not going to let Terminal 5 ruin the bands I like.

Fuck Terminal 5.

 

 

 

Adventures in solo concert-going

 

chkchkchk

The concert had been planned for months and with about a week to go, I found out that I was about to go to this concert by my own damn self.  The show was in Brooklyn, and the band was !!!.  Granted, !!! are not necessarily a household name, but they’ve been around long enough to have a bit of a following.  Frankly, when I found out they were going to play in New York, I was surprised that the band even still together.  For being some sort of dance-punk band, !!! don’t really make too much social noise.

In any case, fondness for the band aside, I was now not looking forward to going to this show.  Because I think going to a concert by yourself is more than a bit sad.  It means that pretty much everyone else you know would rather be doing something else than to go to your dopey show with you.  I take this shit personally – it’s like an implication not just of your company but also of your taste.

Thankfully, the missus saved me from this lonely agony.  Not because she was going to come with.  Fuck no, she was going to stay home, probably put some awful show on Netflix, and go to bed by 10pm.  This concert wasn’t even going to get started ‘til after 10pm.

Instead, she told me that someone who works with her is going to show as well and that I should meet up with her at the show.  “She’s soooooo impressed that you know this band, and that you’re going to their concert.”  Huh?  “What she means is, for someone your age.”  Turns out this person is at least – at least – 10 years younger than me.  Some sassy, concert-loving 20something who’s going to her first show at the Music Hall in Williamsburg.

Oh, for fuck’s sake.  I’m now more depressed than ever.  Now I really don’t wanna go.

But I stop being a pussy about it, hopped in the car and drove down to Billyburg.  I rolled into the venue, and there’s no one about, the floor’s practically empty, and there were two techs on stage setting up.  The doors opened an hour ago!  Fuck me, even arriving an hour after the doors opened, I’d arrived too early.  There is no faster way to feel like a total fucking rube than showing up early for something, anything – a concert, a date, a holiday party, the birth of your kid (never show up until the baby’s crowning).

But I was already in.  So I went to the bar, sucked back a couple of PBRs, and went out to the floor once I heard the pounding beats of the opening band. Holy shit, I NEVER show up for opening bands.  And if I ever happen to, it’s usually just to see them walk off the stage.  Here I was, about the to watch not one, but TWO opening bands before !!! would come on.

Once again, I’m proven what a fuckwit I am.  The first band, Yellow Dogs, turned out to be excellent.  I’d never heard of them before.  Opening bands are pretty much the only thing left in the world where it’s OK have “never heard of them before.”  After their set, I googled them.  Holy shit, these kids had been through quite a bit.  I guess being a rock band from Iran has its share of challenges.

After their set, I walked back down to the bar in the basement, saw the Yellow Dogs bass player, and chatted with him for a few minutes.  I’m interrupted by a text: “Hey, we’re here, where are you?”  The fuck?  Oh right, the 20something I was supposed to meet at this show!  I was so wrapped up in my loserdom that I totally forgot about this kid!  I tell her to meet me at the bar in the basement.

She shows up.  She also looks like Megan Fox.  And behind her, out step 4 other 20somethings.  1 boyfriend, another couple, and a dude who wastes not time telling me he just celebrated his 21st birthday at the Brooklyn Bowl.

Oh good.  (For fuck’s sake.)

I immediately feel my crippling Peter Pan complex kick in, and I’m desperately trying to not be weird about this.  Because feeling like an old fuck is ALL ME.  No one else is actively making me feel old, this shit is my head.  I feel like someone’s old creepy uncle tagging along with the kids to some show in hipster hell.

My salvation came from within the crowd when the !!! took the stage.  It came in the form of a tall man with a desperately balding pate, probably in his late-40s, dressed in a black track suit, who was entirely way too psyched to be there, and whose single dance move (and he was dancing even before the music began) the entire evening was to look left, look right, look left, look right, and repeat non-stop for an hour and a half.  Hey, at least, I’m not that fucking guy!

In the end, it turned out to be an excellent evening.  Seriously.  It was fucking awesome.  Discovered a new band.  Got to meet some new people, who turned out to be some of the most tolerable nicest 20somethings around.  Absolutely brilliant show (has to be, when the lead singer pops up right in front of you – LEFT).

On the way home, “Paradise City” came on the radio, so I put down my windows in the 30-degree wind as I crossed the Whitestone Bridge and let out a long howl.  Right then, I shit you not, a shooting star whipped directly overhead.  It was the most ridiculous moment of the night.  And the fact that that’s how I chose to end my night (shooting star notwithstanding), it really did tell me that no matter what, I’m a ridiculous old fuck now.