Walking down North 6th Street towards the venue, as I’ve done hundreds of times, I was reminded of how much the street has changed in the past ten years since I moved to the neighborhood. You used to walk down there at night and see nothing much but warehouses and blackness leading up to the East River. Now, a pair of tall buildings light up and frame the horizon. Tops market (once the only good grocery spot around) is closed and covered in graffiti; Galapagos Artspace is long gone; now there’s the Urban Outfitters, a specimen of hipster perfection housing a basement record shop and rooftop restaurant; there’s a Madewell, and some other higher-end shops and a smattering of new and revised bars. And of course, the OG venue Northsix, where a handful of epic acts (Sonic Youth, Broken Social Scene, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Joan Jett, Animal Collective, Queens of the Stone Age, and Elliott Smith among others) used to play in a tiny sweaty basement, was replaced by Music Hall of Williamsburg in 2007.
As the deep house rhythms transitioned to hip-hop beats, they served up ear-shaking bass that made my nostrils vibrate. Back in the days of Northsix I was too cool to wear earplugs, but these days I’m older and give less of a fuck so I didn’t mind putting them in. At times, what they were throwing down sounded like the kind of music you’d blast out the trunk of a car tricked out with rims and hydraulics. The audience was suspended, even just for a moment, in the bowels of a djembe drum while constellations spun around Nosaj and Daito as the projections behind them transformed their bodies into exploding pixels.
After the gig ended without encore, I walked back down North 6th Street, passing by Sea Thai. I had flashed back to the first time I ever dined there in 2005 or 2006, with a couple girlfriends. We thought we were hot shit for going to a place where they filmed an episode of Sex and The City. As I was walking past, I overheard a bro dude wearing a collared shirt say to his buddy, “Hey man, you ever been to Sea? “
“It’s so cool. Amazing Thai food.”
I silently scoffed at him. And then I realized, maybe I’m not that different than I was ten years ago and maybe the vibe of Williamsburg isn’t that different. No matter when you arrived, there’s always gonna be somebody else you can say this to: “I knew about that thing before you did, man.”