While the majority of UNH students either partied or slept last Friday night, both in preparation for Homecoming, I was bee-lining it with videographer “Mitch Muscles” to Brooklyn, New York for an electronic music show at a small venue called the Knitting Factory.
We left at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and made it to Brooklyn by 9:30 p.m. The event was scheduled from 11:30 p.m.–3:30 a.m. Being two hours early, the ticket box attendant gave us wristbands without question when we said we were press. Tickets were only $12 (with a $4 processing fee if purchased online).
Head of Security Andre Ali greeted us upon entering the venue. Wearing a black trench coat with a bright red flower pinned to his chest, Ali was extremely welcoming and gave us a quick tour, also allowing us backstage access.
This was my first real backstage concert experience. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t full of nervous excitement to not only see, but actually get to cover several musicians that I personally enjoy listening to: SwuM, Flamingosis and Late Night Radio. I wore black shoes, black jeans, black tank top and a black blazer. In order to be allowed on stage during a set, it’s important to be dressed all in black to be noticed as little as possible. You’re supposed to be there, but you’re not supposed to be seen.
Backstage was not as hectic as I had imagined. A hallway led to the stage entrance and off of it was two small, connecting rooms painted red and covered in graffiti and stickers. This is where friends, groupies, musicians, managers and press hung out before, in-between and after the action.
The stage and dance floor area had an intimate appeal which was complemented by a spacious separate bar area, complete with wide glass windows where bar-goers can look over the crowd to the main stage while sitting for a drink. When shows get sold out, employees direct overflow to the separate bar, where live music from shows can be played through speakers. For attendees who don’t want to leave the dance floor however, there are also two bars on either side of the stage area inside the main venue.
Founded in 1987, the Knitting Factory has three other locations according to its website: Boise, Idaho; Reno, Nevada; and Spokane, Washington. Ali said that the Brooklyn venue is community-centered, open-to-all-ages and regularly hosts sing-alongs for local children on Wednesdays at noon. He said that he frequently comes in just to paint over graffiti outside to ensure that “there’s no mixed messages.”
“We work together as a village,”Ali said. “The whole world is not like that anymore.”
Additionally, Ali said that the Knitting Factory hosts comedy nights on Sundays, with former headliners including Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock.
There is also an adult-only restaurant connected to the Brooklyn venue, called the Federal Bar, which is currently undergoing renovations. Ali explained that the Knitting Factory’s goal is to cater to as wide a range of people as possible.
“Everybody drinks in any time of emotion,”he said. “So that’s why a bar, naturally, is going to make money.”This is why Ali said he tries to understand customers, acting as a “concierge and a host,”not just a bouncer.
We were there primarily to see SwuM, a DJ originally from Israel, though recently moved to New York. He opened the show shortly after 11:30 p.m. His music, a trap/hip-hop combination, can be listened to at soundcloud.com/swumbeats.
Next up was Flamingosis, aka Aaron Velasquez, a New Jersey-based DJ. After taking over from SwuM around 12:30 a.m., Velasquez’s set saw the most packed dance floor as his upbeat music lured people to their feet. The crowd especially loved his remix of rapper Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen,”drawing from their enthusiastic reactions to the track’s drop. That remix, as well as most of the rest of Flamingosis’music can be listened to on soundcloud.com/flamingosis.
Closing the show was Late Night Radio, an electronic funk/soul/hip-hop group comprised of DJ Alex Medellin and drummer Tyler Crawford, based out of Denver, Colorado. Their music can be listened to at souncloud.com/late-night-radio.
Muscles and I headed out by 2:30 a.m. with the intention of making it back to New Hampshire by 8 a.m. Video from the show can be found on Mitch Muscles’YouTube channel, where more footage from other electronic music events as well as exclusive taped interviews with up-and-coming music producers and DJs are posted.