The balcony is vacant, the door tightly shut to stave off winter’s air. On this particular night, Shea Stadium looks like just another nondescript building in the row of warehouses in Brooklyn’s Bushwick, but inside, a respectable audience huddles together, rocking to the music as 2013 comes to a close.
Appropriately, Joes, brainchild of Harvard student Jason Hellerstein and based in suburban New York, kicks off the night evoking the ’90s spirit in a nostalgic set. Lyrical anecdotes are supported by the lo-fi riffs of his guitar, carrying home a warm and welcoming tone as the crowd comes together in foot taps and body sways.
Phone Home comes next, an instrumental group manned by brothers John and Mike Vallarelli on drums and synth with Jeff Santoro on guitar. The band brings the music to a certain volume and intensity, building the soundscape to a point where the synth shakes the floor as the guitar rips through the air and percussion hammers through walls.
Boston’s Vundabar brings an element of rock ‘n’ roll to the lineup. Led by Brandon Hagen on guitar and vocals with Drew McDonald on drums and Zack Abramo on bass, the group brings modern alternative influences like Modest Mouse and the Arctic Monkeys together with subtle tones from an older generation from the Stone Roses and even all the way back to The Kinks. Their sound evolves as the set flows from the punky single “Greenland” to the more restrained and relaxed harmonies of “Holy Toledo,” sourced from their debut album Antics released earlier this year.
Indian Rebound closes the night with a solid set of pure rock. Plastering posters on the wall noting “We Are Indian Rebound” affirms a self-assured identity, one that amplifies the sound to a level of confident and infectious music.
Photos by Zaji Zabalerio.