Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The latest Brooklyn music phenom plays a pre-holiday show at Williamsburg’s “roomy” Brooklyn Bowl

Your nightlife Sherpas at Encore Magazine are keenly aware that you’re in occasional need of a neon beacon to steer you through this wilderness of entertainment conundrums. The glorious wallet vacuum that we call New York City is littered with black holes and misdirections. We humbly accept this responsibility. You’re either looking for the killer freebie or half price deal, or if you do spend those battered dollars you want to see where they went. It should look and feel deluxe if it’s going to hurt like that. It’s not difficult to follow the money at Brooklyn Bowl. The joint is loaded.

If you haven’t been invited to a holiday office party there by December 17th, then we suggest you take in the latest musical project from Alan Palomo, Neon Indian. Palomo, the son of a Spanish language recording artist, has previously worked as Ghosthustler and VEGA and has more or less caught fire on the Internet with cryptic song postings that have spread through the blogosphere like August in Malibu and made him an underground star of the low key variety. He uses 80’s synth nostalgia to filter his brand of groovy, Hall and Oates meets Kraftwerk electronic “chillwave” and is accompanied by artsy films and hand-crafted FX. Originally from Austin he has since made the trek to Brooklyn to join the ever-growing congregation of unimpeachably cool bands that have made the borough the epicenter of the musical universe. Or something. And after dominating the recent CMJ chatter, Palomo will set up his gear at 61 Wythe Avenue and weave his sound into the clamor of 16 lanes worth of gutter-balls and splits.

And although it aint cheap at prime time, you could do worse than the world’s first green, L.E.E.D. certified bowling alley and eco friendly adult playground with 100% wind-powered electricity. We aren’t talking about your drunken uncle’s bowling alley after all. Oh no. This isn’t “Kingpin”. $50.00 an hour for a lane at prime time is tear-inducing but as far as we can tell there are various happy hour deals to be had if you don’t insist on going at 10:00 p.m. on a Saturday. And if you believe that bowling is the sport of polyester clad flyover pinheads, you are mistaken my friend. The modern rules of bowling were established in 1895, right here in your Big Apple. And the 95 million worldwide bowlers can’t all live in Texarkana.

The cathedral-like, 23,000 square foot multi-use funhouse is made from recycled materials (think, brick, wood, steel, glass) and serves locally brewed beer (no bottles) like Sixpoint, Brooklyn, and Kelso with Blue Ribbon’s version of comfort food, which is relatively cheap considering how tasty it is. The folks behind Brooklyn Bowl know about booking music from their days running the now defunct Wetlands in Tribeca so we expect a solid future lineup of bands. Concertgoers, diners and bowlers alike can take their sweet time in a state of the art setting that is unrivaled in quality and scope. A mix of old and new, it has 200 year old floor boards that vibrate to the boom of its cutting edge sound system in a converted ironworks factory from the 1800’s that personifies the Williamsburg aesthetic.

Naturally, Brooklyn Bowl is not the first bowling alley/watering hole to put down roots in the neighborhood. The Gutter opened on North 14th St in 2007 and is a cozy alternative to Brooklyn Bowl with its vintage beer memorabilia and clashing, 70’s basement rec-room motif, crawling with “Big Lebowski” worshipping beardos. And with “95 million” bowlers out there, we see no reason that The Gutter can’t continue to fill its 8 lanes, as well.

But Neon Indian isn’t playing at The Gutter. And as autumn fades into winter and New Yorkers huddle indoors for warmth, entertainment and “companionship”, Brooklyn Bowl seems poised to ride the momentum of their summer rollout into 2010 and beyond. It may have been easier to swing through last summer on your way home from Jelly NYC’s “Pool Parties” (“OMG! Jay-Z’s at the Grizzly Bear show!”), but now that darkness creeps in early and you need a place to hide from the chilly streets, it may be worth the journey into the remote blocks of North Williamsburg to throw a few frames to the dulcet tones of yet another red-hot Brooklyn band.

A condensed version of this article was published in Encore Magazine ~ December 2009

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