Written by GE 138.
I had never been to the Brooklyn Bowl before. Why would I of? Never had a reason to. Anybody that had ever played there I had no concern for, and I had no need to go to The Linq for anything whatsoever. $25 to ride a Ferris wheel for an hour? Yeah right! But Erika has never seen The Psychedelic Furs before, and since she had already bought the tickets, well, who am I to turn down a free gig? :-) So we get there, parked somewhere in the stinky labyrinth of dirty, painted, exhaust stained concrete, got lost for a while, despite Erika's assurances that she knew where she was going, because she had been there before with Monica, and luckily after a bit we stumbled upon the entrance to the Brooklyn Bowl, which looks like some old Vaudeville theater on Broadway back in NYC. Security seemed pretty lackadaisical, but maybe that was because The Church had already started playing. I could hear them playing as we were walking into the place. I had requested a photo pass to take pictures of the gig, and was, of course, denied, but it seemed like I could of brought a camera in there without much hassle. Again, it seemed like the people working there didn't seem to care much about anything, and that was fine with me. The venue itself is luxurious, visually striking, with dark velvety drapes, and oddly discerning bowling lanes directly to the left of the music area. I think it's like a VIP area too? I dunno. There's no chairs in the place, which is a drag, but there's a bar like every 10 feet, which is good. The drinks are ridiculously overpriced, which is bad, but the sound inside the place was freaking fantastic, which is good. The Church sounded good, and I don't even really like those dudes and their hippy dippy psychedelic pop sound, but they sounded really tight. Gave them all my attention. I recognized that they were just starting to play Under The Milky Way. Nice.
I didn't keep up with any of the inner band Drama going on with The Church, didn't know who was still in the band, didn't care who replaced who when they left. I, like pretty much 80% of the people in the room, pretty much only know of The Church because of their album Starfish and the hit song off of that, Under The Milky Way. I mean, it was scary to see how much that song meant to people. As soon as they started that song, everyone's cell phone went right into their hands and then right above their heads to film the band doing that song, and as I looked around the room and took the whole oddly lit surreal scene in, I could see that the people Hell bent on capturing this moment on their cell phones were all probably in high school when Under The Milky Way was first a hit, over 25 years ago, and that it held some deep, special, heartfelt significance to them. It was either that or it reminded them of their first time they got a hummer or were snowballed. Either/or. People roared when they finished that song. I think I saw a few tears in some peoples eyes, but it was pretty dark, so I can't be sure. The Church ended their set with some 10 minute Grateful Dead type jam, that was interesting at first but went on a bit too long for me. The crowd seemed to love it though, showering the band with lots of applause and cat calls and whistles once they were finished. And like that The Church were done. It was weird being at a 'Rock Show'. I haven't been to one in a while.
It took what seemed FOREVER for The Psychedelic Furs to start. There's no chairs in the place, except for in the bowling alley / VIP area, so everyone is just fighting for wall space to lean against, or just giving up and sitting down on the dirty floor and hoping the drunks don't spill their drinks on their heads while walking back and forth to the bathroom. After almost falling asleep from boredom, finally, the band members started walking out to their respective instruments, Tim Butler, of course, getting the loudest response of them all when he picked up his shiny, pretty red bass. The band got themselves settled in, kind of looked at each other funny, and then they started to play. They opened up with Heartbeat, with that shrieking saxophone and all, and then Richard Butler comes dancing out from off stage, looking like a crazed jester of some sorts, and everyone in the place is digging it. Except for me... hahahaha They were playing really, really slow - slower than I've ever seen them play before. Chalk it up to old age or what have you, but it took me a while to adjust to the bands slower, more groove heavy sound. It takes some getting used to at first, but after a bit, I'm into it. The colossal amount of whiskey I've consumed helps with that, and after a few discrete pulls from the ol' vape pen and guess what? The Psychedelic Furs sound good now! LOL It is what it is. They go straight from Heartbeat into Mr. Jones and again, it's a bit slow but it sounds OK. The whole band sounds OK. It's not the best I've seen them, but definitely not the worst. Since I was now standing right next to the soundboard and watching curiously as the sound person did this and that to the mix via computerized functions, I could see the work it takes to get the sound inside the Brooklyn Bowl to sound as sweet as it does, and how much hard work it is to make Mr. Butler sound as good as he does. I could definitely see how a band would rather play this place than say the Joint or the House of Boooooo's.
The Psychedelic Furs were playing like they had something to prove. Richard Butler looked like Gary Oldman when he plays Detective Gordon in the Batman movies, and he shimmied and slinked around the stage like a man 25 years younger then he actually is. He curtsied, he exaggerated like some Shakespearean thespian, he projected, he thanked the crowd a lot, and he was putting on a great show, albeit one he's probably put on a million times before. Still cool to watch, and his voice was sounding good. The Psychedelic Furs plowed through some of their most popular songs - The Ghost In You, Heartbreak Beat, Until She Comes, and some B-sides as well - Danger, Sister Europe, the aforementioned Mr. Jones, you get it. It got a bit boring during the middle though. The band hit a lull, and Erika and I made a beeline to grab a smoke outside in the smoking area. They have a live feed piped in to the speakers outside, so we didn't really miss a thing musically. After a bit we headed back in, where we caught the last few sons of the set. They closed with Pretty In Pink, which, of course, brought the house down, and then they went off stage to await the crowds chanting of their name before the Psychedelic Furs came back out and killed it by playing the 1-2 combo of Sister Europe and Sleep Comes Down. Loved it. After those 2 songs, they hit us with the Muzak and turned the house lights on and started herding us towards the exit like the cattle we were. The Show was over. There was no more time to buy any more ridiculously overpriced drinks, and I didn't see a merch booth all night, so, I guess they didn't have one? I dunno. If they did I didn't see it. Doesn't matter. I was through being fleeced by the Brooklyn Bowl. Cool place to see a show, but man, does it come with a price. Phooey.