Williamsburg's Dead Herring Goes Out In Style On Last Night, Will Reopen Soon In New Location
This past Saturday, Williamsburg's Dead Herring house closed its doors after six years of throwing quality rock shows, dance parties, craft fairs, and other assorted fun times. As one of the last remaining DIY spaces located in Williamsburg proper (or "prime Williamsburg," as their landlord likely calls it), they held on for an impressive amount of time despite being surrounded by increasingly fancy and noise hating neighbors. More impressive still, as of 2013, their cover charge had yet to rise above $5, drink prices above $4. If that's not commitment to the scene, I don't know what is.
Photo: Ebru Yildiz
Not ones to go gentle into that good night, DH inhabitants Nicki, Liz, Jeff, Andrew and Joe ended things out right with a bill of local favorites: Necking; a reunited Moonmen on the Moon, Man; the Immaculates, and Hunters. Photos of shows past taken by DH resident Nicki Ishmael festooned the walls, reminding everyone just how many ascendant acts the place had hosted.
Half an hour after the doors opened, the place was already packed with friends, music makers, and admirers nodding along to Necking's transcendent noise jams. An unofficial house band of sorts, Necking has opened too many DH shows to count, as multi-instrumentalist/screamer Nick Lesley once called the place home. "When we started playing here in 2006, every band that was touring was like 'we wanna play with Nick,' explained Necking member Rop Vazquez. "So we played here always." Another reason for playing a million shows? "We're always bored."
Next, Moonmen on the Moon, Man played an energetic bit of messy garage pop with numerous breaks to introduce past members and switch instruments around. At one point, they threw a bunch of giant glowsticks out into the crowd, which folks waved enthusiastically as the band barked silly lyrics like "do you understand HAND?"
During one of the breaks between bands, I spoke to resident Jeff Seal and found out Dead Herring had indeed fallen victim to rising rents, but that it was not going away forever, and was even staying in the neighborhood. Take that, gentrification!
"They raised the rent $1,000," he said. "Normally we Jew them down--I'm a Jew, so I can say that--but not this time. They're like, 'we want you to leave because if you move out, we'll refurbish it and charge more'...we found a better place at North First and Wythe. We lucked out, it was the first place we found."
Seal's favorite memories of the place include, er, I'll let him explain it...