This just in! Nihiloceros have been crowned the hardest working band not just in Brooklyn, but on earth. And on top of that, they just released an incredible new EP, Self Destroy, that we loved here at FTA (read our review) and I personally have not been able to stop listening to. To celebrate, they recently held a release show at EWEL (aka Econolodge aka East Williamsburg Econolodge) a practice space turned DIY space, and the home of the popular streamer Bandnada. The lineup for this show was positively STACKED and featured two of my local faves, Gal Fieri, and Desert Sharks along with Kissed By An Animal who is a band that has been on my list for a while but I had yet to get out to see.
East Williamsburg Econolodge
Gal Fieri was up first to kick the night off. They are a brand new band who debuted just about two months ago and has hit the ground running, playing quite a bit lately around Bushwick and already cementing themselves as one of my local favorites. I’ve been lucky enough to catch a few of their shows now and I’m always that guy saying to them after their set “WHEN ARE YOU RECORDING?!” (thank you all for indulging me on that). I don’t mean to be too much of a nerd about it (though that is my entire “brand” and the “brand” of this blog, it is true), it’s just because I have really enjoyed their sound- quiet to loud dynamics, heavy bass riffs sans guitar, snarky as hell lyrics- so I am anxious to be able to jam them in FTA headquarters whenever the mood strikes.
The early stages of a band are always so cool to watch because you can really see a group come into their own as they figure out their stage presence and how they function/write/etc together, so it has been fun seeing this at their shows as well. I’m also excited to see how their song writing progresses to see what they come up with next. Their sets now are still on the shorter side but that is to be expected when you’re new out of the gate. All of the current songs pack a punch, with the aforementioned bass riffs driving the sound and soulful vocals completing the package, and I definitely think they have a lot of really good things to come in their future. They are staying busy and have several shows over the course of October, check their Instagram for more details. (I also have plans to make a listicle of all of my favorite bands that are just bass/drums/vocals so I for sure want to include Gal Fieri once they have recordings.)
Gal Fieri at EWEL
Desert Sharks are absolutely one of my favorite bands and its always a good day when I get to go to one of their shows. They were back in action as a quartet again, with the recent addition of rhythm guitarist Cait Smith (formerly of No Honeymoon), and she fit in perfectly with the group, thickening up their sound with her crunchy Les Paul. Fresh off the release of two covers (read our reviews for “Voices Carry” and “20th Century Boy”), they have been out gigging again and have been hinting on social media at making a new record, to which I say emphatically, YES PLEASE!
They played a good amount of songs from their excellent 2019 album Baby’s Gold Death Stadium, and EWEL being a small space, it almost felt at times their sound was going to burst right through the walls, particularly when vocalist Stephanie Gunther would belt out one of their HUGE choruses. Just as I was thinking “will they play one of the covers?” they kicked into the opening notes of “Voices Carry,” taking the classic 80s new wave jam by the Aimee Mann fronted ‘Til Tuesday into fuzzed out grunge territory; it sounded even better live than on the recording. While the two covers they’ve released so far this year have definitely held me over, I am very anxious for new music from them and this show only strengthened that. They will be performing again 10/14 at The Broadway along with Substitute Scene label mates, No Kill for their album release.
Desert Sharks at EWEL
If you can find a band that is more energetic, supportive of everyone else in the music community, works harder, and has songs catchier than Nihiloceros, I’d love to hear about them but I’m really not sure that band exists. In fact I know they don’t. If you follow the band on social media, you’ll know they are always posting about other bands shows and you’ll often see singer/guitarist Mike Borchardt out and about taking pics at many other shows too. This boundless energy and support translates to their own shows too and you could tell this was very much a personal night for the band. Borchardt told me on the choice of venue “[EWEL] has been one of our favorite spots to do shows for a while. Run by great people. It always feels like family,” and that was obvious too in the choice of the supporting bands on the lineup.
From the moment the first notes rang out until Borchardt collapsed on the ground in sheer exuberance and exhaustion at the end of the set, there was no respite from the energetic onslaught filling the small space. Borchardt handles most lead vocals but is backed up a fair amount of the time by bassist Alex Hoffman (aka one of the most creative and clever bassist currently in Brooklyn), who does a few turns at lead as well. They hit a wide selection of their songs, both from the EP and not, and fired at nothing less than 200% for the entirety of their blistering set.
The band was also joined by co-collaborators on the record for the songs they worked on. Stephanie Gunther of Desert Sharks (who also plays in Murder Tag with Borchardt) came to the mic to sing “Odie” which features Hoffman on co-lead vox with her and the eventual weaving of all three vocalists together. (Gunther also contributed to the song “Baby Teeth” serving as co-writer and vocalist). Gillain Visco of shadow monster also contributed to two of the songs on the record, including lead single “iamananimal,” (as well as “Halfway Human”) and was there as well to sing with the band. Again, it was obvious that this night was very clearly a family and personal affair for the band.
They are currently taking as close to a hiatus as is possible for them aka they are laying a bit low for a few weeks as Borchardt travels and they do some press for the release. But they will be back on 10/23 for a performance for the Wavy Awards at Abrons Arts Center and on 10/30 for a Bands Do BK Halloween show.
Nihiloceros at EWEL
As mentioned, I had not yet seen Kissed By An Animal, which now that I have seen them bums me out a little bit for my past self, ha! “Energetic fuzzgaze,” are the first words that come to mind and they were the perfect closer for this night. They self describe as a “Brooklyn based four piece dedicated to playing fast and loud,” and yes loud and yes fast but fast like amped up shoegaze, not fast like a hardcore band. But this certainly is not a bad thing at all (and I actually would prefer it to a lot of hardcore), and the influences listed in their Spotify bio- The Misfits, The Cure, Dinosaur Jr, A Flock of Seagulls- all align here for a very delightful blend.
Another striking feature of the band is the intricate and colorful art work which is very integral to their albums of course, but also to their live show as they use animated projections during their set for whimsical and added effect. The band is described in fact in their bio as “the auditory counterpart to the universe of illustrator/musician Dima Drjuchin. Dima is known in the art world for this rich surreal scenes plucked from an alternate dimension existing exclusively in his own mind.” And indeed the images are surreal and the projections with the combination of a well loved smoke machine made for a very cool visual vibe all through their set. It has been a low key dream of mine to so intentionally incorporate visuals like this into a band I’m in, but so far it hasn’t happened yet. This inspired me a lot though so perhaps for my next project. As for their next outing, you can catch KBAA on 10/16 at Our Wicked Lady to celebrate A Very Special Episode’s record release.
Kissed By An Animal at EWEL
Thanks to my job working various roles in various NYC venues, as well as a photographer/blogger, I get to see a lot of bands and be at a show most nights of the week, oftentimes in big venues. That is a cool experience and I do value that I get that perspective too and I consider myself very lucky for all that I get to do no matter what realm I get to do it in. I wouldn’t trade this job/life for anything (because trust me there were other eras in my life where I had terrible jobs that left me very disconnected from all of this and I was miserable). But while all of that is pretty awesome to say “I got to do XYZ big show for work in a big venue” etc, there really is nothing like coming home to a DIY space. 100 shows in a large venue will never compare to just one in a small “ask a punk” DIY spot, or mean half as much, as standing shoulder to shoulder with friends and by extension, family. There is absolutely no comparison at all.
Scroll down to see pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)
KISSED BY AN ANIMAL