Sometimes even the best laid plans falter. Or you know, despite the fact that everything seems in line, you still might not get into the show plan on covering. As I head out on Saturday night, my assumption was that I was headed to see Alcest and Deafheaven two of the most dividing figures — well outside of Liturgy at least — in the post-millennial black metal scene. Unfortunately as I walked up to Public Assembly, I was informed that (due to age restrictions) I would not be permitted admittance to the venue. But the night, and the subway fare to get there, would not be lost.
After a few phone calls and a bit of discussion with the photographer I’d dragged with me, we determined that we’d do the thing that you do in Brooklyn when plans fall through. We went to see Dive. See, Dive is the equivalent of that cover band that plays every bar across town, except, well, Dive is good. Though they’ve since tempered their live productivity, there was a point in time when it seemed like this Captured Tracks signee was playing a show in Brooklyn every night of the week, so it seemed a safe bet to go catch their set. Fronted by Z. Cole Smith, guitarist for fellow Brooklyn indie rockers Beach Fossils, Dive’s brand of kraut inflected indie rock seemed a suitable replacement for the show we planned on seeing and in 285 Kent — which serves as their home base of sorts — they were sure to be at their best.
Up first were fellow locals Xray Eyeballs who, along with French garage rockers Magnetix, just finished a cross spanning tour and seemed none the worse for it. Frontman O.J. San Felipe was in good spirits from the very beginning. His frequent exclamations of “Chicken McNuggets!” and “Sweet and Sour Sauce!” provided a bit of early levity, despite the absurdity of these phrases. The band bashed through a set of garage rock that would’ve dropped the jaws of even the Black Lips whether in terms of lyrics, energy, or stage presence. San Felipe concluded the set by mooning the crowd. Yep, they were that kind of band. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but incredibly fun nonetheless.
Throughout Xray Eyeballs set, San Felipe sang the praises of Magnetix a similar French two piece that I was unaware of before last night. But boy, was he right. Loud, fast, low fidelity garage punk pummeled the crowd from the very beginning. Their near fuzzed out metallic brand of punk provided an interesting antithesis to the previous set. While San Felipe and co. were all fun and games, Magnetix were bruisers. They were all business from the very beginning, save for several bouts of between song banter rendered unintelligible by the singers thick accent. Though just a two piece, their live sound resembled Guided By Voices with a bit more of an edge, and the crowd responded in kind with involvement not typically bestowed upon the second band on a bill.
There’s a certain level of eclecticism that really can only be present on a Todd Patrick sponsored bill. Who else would think to pair Black Dice with Real Estate in a chinese buffet? While Saturday’s show wasn’t so drastic a dichotomy, it did pair the aforementioned two bands on the last date of their tour with some well loved locals. DJ Dog Dick — stage name of Max Eisenberg from Dog Leather — was next to take the stage. This was the first I’d seen or heard of his solo work, and it was… interesting to say the least. Though the entirety of his instrumentation appeared to come from some sort of modular synth setup and a sampler, he spent little time near that rig, instead favoring a performance style that John Maus has popularized in recent days. That is to say, he ran around with a microphone and yelled crazy things. None of the songs were particularly catchy, but it doesn’t really seem like that’s what Eisenberg was really going for. He pranced about the stage, added some noisy, dissonant synth lines with some unidentifiable box strapped across his chest, and rolled his eyes back in his head on more than one occasion. Eisenberg stated that it was his second show of the night, but no loss in energy could really be detected. If his intent was to confront the listener, then the clearing of the room could be seen as an incredible triumph on his part. It wasn’t much to listen, but it was fun to watch nonetheless.
And then Dive. Despite the fact that they’re around every night, they never really get old. If anything, they just get better. This, my fourth time seeing the band, was perhaps the best I’ve ever seen them, sound problems and botched notes aside. Z. Cole Smith seems to have finally fully stepped comfortably into his songs. The passion behind tracks like “Human” are fully apparent and his jumping down into the crowd of gleeful kids with X-ed out hands during “Sometime” seemed a glorious celebration of the little following they’ve built for themselves. They’ve become, over a span of not much more than six months, an truly impressive live band. Whether this is evidenced through krauty jams like “Geist” or more up front indie pop, it’s clear that they’ve put in a lot of work. It’s paid off with their first nationwide tour opening up for Frankie Rose. Definitely check them out if you get a chance. Brooklyn has a lot of musical exports, but Dive is one of few that truly seems birthed organically of the scene. Despite the fact that their total officially released songs can be counted on one hand, they deserve every bit of praise leveled upon them. Though it was by mistake that we ended up at 285 Kent on Saturday night, it turned out to be one of the happiest accidents we could’ve asked for.