It was a big Friday night for Brooklyn with Gran Torino grand opening. And in true Brooklyn fashion, it was celebrated with free booze, trippy tunes and wild times.
It was a free show with an open bar, which had the Williamsburg crowd feeling loose and ready to move. And thank god. Guerilla Toss and Godcaster aren’t your average rock bands—you can’t just stand there and nod along. They make groovy, psychedelic and intricate music that calls out for crowd-surfing and moshing.
Gran Torino (previously Diviera Drive) doesn’t shout “rock ‘n’ roll” when you first walk in there. Everything looks shiny and new. The bathrooms walls were free of graffiti and smelled pleasantly like soap. But once the lights were off and the music started, it became a room ready for mayhem.
Godcaster started while people were still pouring into the room clutching their free drinks. With his white flowy stage outfit, frontman Judson Kolk looked like the conductor of a 1970s choir. But while his band harmonized with the skill of trained church singers, the songs were far from innocent hymns.
Godcaster put to use an array of exotic instruments—including a theremin and double-necked guitar—creating fast, passionate and menacing sounds.
While the swirling light show of neon greens and pinks projecting on the stage kept the audience mesmerized, Guerilla Toss took the stage.
Guerilla Toss frontwoman Kassie Carlson was dressed like a grungy ‘90s teenager in a denim bucket hat and black overalls. She sweetly said “hi” into the mic before turning around to share a few laughs with her band members and to make sure they were ready.
And oh boy, were they ready. Instantly, Carlson started shouting into the mic and the five-piece band went crazy. Though the tempo was fast, the songs were melodic and easy to dance too. They kept things groovy even though people were moshing and crowd-surfing like they were at a punk show. The crowd drooled from ecstasy while the cowbell rang and Carlson shred on the violin.
Guerilla Toss jammed out on their last song, making it feel more like three songs instead of just one—but the crowd was happy to keep the party going. When the lights were flicked back on everyone hissed and ran for the safety of the bar. Keeping in Brooklyn style, the crowd dispersed to nearby bars, but not before sharing a few more shots of tequila for the walk.