DeathSet+Ninjasonik+Nuclear Power Pants at The Bodega

In the vein of venues like Pianos, Pete’s Candy Store, the Bowery Ballroom, and that refrigerator storage place, outer Bushwick’s newest performance space kept the name and exterior of its former incarnation. However, one finds neither drunk munchies nor expired milk products there, but two concrete rooms in which to hear bands (one room being the basement). Friday saw a whole lot of people mashing themselves into one another to sets by Lionshare, BB’Salmon, Nuclear Power Pants, Ninjasonik, and the DeathSet.

The hilariously named Nuclear Power Pants were like a cross between Jollyship the Whizbang, the B-52s, and doom rock. Between the Siamese twin singers, foam monster backing band, and librarian-esque female vocalists (not actually twins, but dressed alike enough to give off that creepy twin vibe), there were visuals galore to go along with their trippy music. The bass drum was the most prominent sound, followed by the spacey synthesizer to create a campy doomsday effect. The chittering females provided a nice counterpoint to the affable, shout-singing, be-suited Siamese twins, and when they switched on the black light, the whole thing made me feel vaguely like I was at a Rubulad party (in a good way).

Next up was jokey rap group Lionshare, who got everyone dancing and turned the place from a hothouse into a sauna. I should take this opportunity to mention that the night’s mixed bill of punk and hip hop brought out a veritable rainbow of good looking people, though some rocked their looks more successfully than others. “The difference between you and me is, I make this look good,” said Will Smith in late nineties summer blockbuster Men In Black before kicking some alien ass. I feel this quote relevant to the following pictures:

By the time Ninjasonik took the stage, the crowd was riled as hell and about as hot. Some people took the initiative to cool off others with squirt guns, which was nice except for the three times I got shot in the eye. It was hard to get a decent picture of either Ninjasonik or the Death Set because the half of the room closest to the stage was a riptide whirlpool of moshing, and the stage itself was mostly taken up by hot chicks. Our favorite sonic ninjas party-rapped the crowd into a wet and wild frenzy. When they did their single “Tight Pants,” shit jumped up to eleven, and I tried not to be disturbed by the gusto with which the whites in the audience sang along to the refrain, I’m a tight pants wearin’ ass nigga. Is it ok to say that if it’s part of a rap song now? Someone tell me, I don’t actually know.

By the time the DeathSet went on I felt like overcooked spaghetti, but that did not dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm (pun intended?). There was moshing, moisture, stage dives, and some uncomfortable chafing, and then their short set of electro-party-punk anthems was over. I went and bought some spicy chips from a real bodega, which only made me hotter, then biked home as fast as I could so as to feel a breeze on my gross, sweaty face.

The guys who run Bodega say they’re working on getting the heat issue under control; I’m not sure what they can do short of purchasing an industrial strength AC unit. Though this sucks on one level, it also means the Brooklyn-underground-happy New York Times critics won’t get their hands on this place for at least a little while longer, because covering shows like this requires you to subject yourself to the same level of physical discomfort as the audience, and I’m assuming they are too weighed down by their typewriters and giant, smart brains to even consider this. From indecipherable graffiti scrawls to punk and hip hop shows, I’d like to think the neighborhood’s living cultural artifacts create passive resistance by remaining inaccessible to all but their originators. I predict it’ll be a long time before there’s a vegan restaurant at Broadway and Myrtle, and hopefully much longer before those ubiquitous condos penetrate east. If that means I’ll get to live here indefinitely and participate, I’m happy to sweat it out in packed basements and cook my own dinner. Never mind the fact that these bands are blowing up big (Ninjasonik is playing the large and chilly Music Hall of Williamsburg next Friday); they still know where the real excitement lives. Viva Bodega.