“Look what you got stuck with,” quipped DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith with a self-deprecating mumble. Scarcely two hours into the new year on Wednesday night, nobody in the soused, fashionable audience seemed to mind that the local indie sensations would be the ultimate act to play Williamsburg nightclub Glasslands Gallery.
Sold out within minutes weeks prior, the Brooklyn D.I.Y. fixture’s previously secret final bill also featured live performances by Sky Ferreira, local group Beverly, and indie rockers Smith Westerns, who recently announced their break-up. Though a somewhat conservative lineup for a venue known for hosting a variety of musically adventurous and eclectic nights week after week, ticketholders had blindly spent their $50 admission with memories of raging finales at spots elsewhere along the block. On a night known for price gouging, it proved a low-risk bargain.
The last of the Kent Avenue playpens to topple, Glasslands outlasted pushed-out neighbors like Death By Audio and the much ballyhooed 285 Kent, as well as a number of other ostensibly like-minded establishments in the borough. Of course, the departure of one or even several independent venues doesn’t represent the death knell of something as organic and enduring as D.I.Y. culture. A short walk away, club/eatery Baby’s All Right has quickly become the popular nexus of this ever-fluid scene, while Palisades, Silent Barn, Trans-Pecos, and others press on to serve a wider community of New Yorkers who still hunger for interesting new music.
Though a slightly morbid desire to be part of something’s end assuredly compelled some attendees, the night’s vibe was far from funereal. Carved out of a nondescript industrial row near Williamsburg’s high value waterfront, much of the artsy venue’s aesthetic charms remained through its compelled closure, including a load-bearing pillar turned wintry tree and attractive light installations in the walls and ceilings. Contrasting the oft-jangly, moderately fuzzy garage varietals of the night’s other acts, Ferreira’s major label alt-pop felt refreshing and euphoric after midnight, despite some false starts and technical snafus. Even as DIIV strummed the last shimmering chords, D.I.Y. looked healthier and more chic than ever before.