It’s funny that my night began with a struggle with an out-of-order ATM. Alphaville’s a cash-only bar so with their cash machine unoperational, I had no choice but to venture to a corner bodega to use their ATM. In literary terms, that’s called “foreshadowing.”
ATM was the mystery of the night. The Facebook event had long descriptions for the post-punk Chinese band FAZI and Brooklyn art/dance/pop trio The Wants. The opening band who use an emoji for a name, ?, also got a description, even if it was “the snarkiest death eaters.” But for ATM, the event listing only said “ATMs are found in bodegas when it’s too late, the credit’s maxed, and you gotta dip in. All chips on the table. Tour chops #psyops”
Now, I’m not gonna lie. I had good reason to suspect ATM was really Bodega. Someone had tipped me off that Bodega was going to play a “secret set.”
Cash in hand, I returned to the show and walked into ? in masks hitting the last note to their electro set. They were in a cloud of fog, huddled with equipment in the middle of the room in the midst of the crowd rather than on stage. I was bummed to miss them.
However, my woes quickly melted away once The Wants took the stage. The trio is made up of members from the fellow Brooklyn bands Gustaf, Veda Rays and Bodega, and because of this they haven’t played in months. But you wouldn’t have noticed that by the way they skillfully rocked out on stage. With a unique blend of post-punk and indie rock, The Wants create a sound similar to Joy Division, but with a more “art school” take that edges closer to Talking Heads. Their faces looked stern and sinister while they played but the crowd couldn’t look away.
Once their set was finished, the guitarist changed his shirt and went right back on stage to set up for Bodega. Fresh off a lengthy tour, the NYC-based band was back in its natural habitat. The crowd was amped to sing along to songs about walking down Bogart St. in Brooklyn or entering a bodega.
Opening with one of their most fun songs “Jack in Titanic,” I bounced my way to the front of the crowd while I chanted along, “no one is as salty as the seven seas except me and Jack in Titanic.” The frontman revealed they were the mysterious ATM on the bill and said anyone who didn’t stay for the final band FAZI was a real “asshole.” Not the sweetest way to convince a crowd to stick around, but he wasn’t wrong.
All the way from China, FAZI came in hot with their post-punk tones and dark cool-guy vibes. Their sound was similar to early Cure, but more experimental, with the guitarist toying with an array of petals and the frontman turning knobs on synths during each song. Though I didn’t understand the Chinese lyrics, their true-blue post-punk melodies made it easy to relate.