There is a clandestine venue in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It is in a storage facility. It is in a cheap storage facility. It is in a storage facility called Cheap Storage!
The venue’s shows are curated by a couple musicians and music lovers who have an apartment in the building. They’ve genuinely made the large, concrete space their own, building individual rooms adjacent to the living room that serves as the main concert space. The venue isn’t so much of a secret anymore though, as its reputation has greatly grown over the last couple years since its beginnings (they’re known for booking one of DIIV‘s first shows). On Saturday, November 10, the guys at Cheap Storage hosted one of many weekend Hurricane Sandy benefit concerts in Brooklyn. Local bands included Lost Boy, Grand Resort, Eula, and Turnip King.
The show’s booker, Skyler Insler, expressed about the event, “It kind of seemed like the obvious thing to do, being in our position. We can get hundreds of people out to pay to see bands on a random night…why not use that same ability to help out a cause that many people care about.” He elaborated, “I personally also feel lucky, and maybe a little guilty, that I didn’t have any problems from the storm, so there’s that. As for the bands, I just started asking all of my friends to play. It turned out that on last-minute notice–we put together the show literally five days before–a bunch were unavailable, but eventually we got a really good lineup, it was still all friends or friends of friends.”
Truly a night of local camaraderie, the event featured many people from the D.I.Y. scene in Brooklyn. The evening’s sound and bartending was courtesy of the crew from Delinquency, Le Loft‘s booker and host Steve Corcoran was present among the crowd, and local musicians who weren’t on the bill still showed up to support the event, including THE BOMBER JACKET’s friend Jhedi Ayala from Maquina Supervium.
It is no secret that Hurricane Sandy devastatingly affected New Yorkers in every borough. Cheap Storage’s show raised money for those in the Rockaway area, where much of the boardwalk and many of the surrounding houses were destroyed.
The show was a positive way to round up local support. Lost Boy opened and played a solo acoustic set, calmly welcoming the first attendees. He was giving away his music “for free” with the request that people donate whatever money they could to further Sandy fundraising.
Grand Resort played second. Their set was loud, upbeat, and fuzzy, with some dance-y tracks here and there. They’re a three-piece, with their guitar and drum work supplemented by dreamy synths. The band’s own Andrés M. Pichardo had to deal with his personal unfortunate Sandy aftermath; according to the musician, his home was flooded and he was laid off at his job. He nevertheless led an impressive set and got the crowd moving several times.
Pichardo has an interesting story outside of his music and Sandy matters. The musician left his hometown in the Dominican Republic three years ago to study in Massachusetts, but used most of his time in the U.S. to play music. His creative visions are the roots of what Grand Resort is today, although the band now usually plays with three or four people on stage.
Following Grand Resort was another three-piece, a Brooklyn-via-Connecticut act, Eula. Eula is of an interesting breed, namely, their own breed. The band is led by sassy frontwoman Alyse Lamb: a pretty blond lady who really knows how to rock and plays her Fender Strat exceptionally well (she even performs her own version of electric-punk finger-sliding). The band stood out immediately with its high energy and tangible chemistry. The three bandmates play like they’ve been rocking together for decades; they feed off one another and push their energy back into the crowd with their body language, hard-hitting beats, and phat (haha) bass lines.
“Sklyar Inslar is a good friend of ours, and he organized the entire benefit show. We wanted to help in any way we could. We’ve played numerous fundraisers over the years–we are always happy to do it–but this one in particular hit home. So we rocked out extra hard,” said Lamb. “Hurricane Sandy affected many of my friends and loved ones but thankfully things are on the up swing. It’s been a rough couple weeks but it’s been a beautiful couple weeks to see everyone helping each other and banding together to make it less of a struggle for those in need.”
Turnip King was the last band of the night. I admittedly missed their set because I had to wake up early, so I left the show early (I’m a loser, I know), but I fully regret not hearing them. They also played a big Cheap Storage show during CMJ with Sub Pop’s King Tuff. If Turnip King’s live sound is anything like their recorded sound, it surely wasn’t something to miss. They take part in the “current” lo-fi shoegazey trend, but they do it well, and they’ve squeaked out dozens of songs since the start of the year.
It was a jam-packed, entertaining night. The folks at Cheap Storage rounded up the masses successfully and raised $1,955 in addition to donations of batteries and food. Friends of Cheap Storage are hosting another Sandy show next weekend at Public Assembly in Brooklyn. For more information, go here.