A Short Stretch at The Silent Barn (Pictorial Review, Live Video)

by Steven Spoerl

PWR BTTM III

One of Brooklyn’s most attractive attributes has always been its thriving music scene, aided in no small part by an impressive string of venues. One that’s consistently booked incredible shows, fostered a sense of community, and remained a point of pride for several communities is The Silent Barn, which has been covered here on more than a few occasions. Over the past month, the Barn’s hosted a handful of shows I’ve been fortunate enough to attend, starting with a strong bill that included site favorites Washer, Slight, Vagabon, and Downies. All four played strong sets and included incredible new material. Spit proved to be a highlight of a fundraiser for a community bail project a few weeks later and everything culminated with an unbelievable set from PWR BTTM as they celebrated the release of Ugly Cherries with Kississippi, Fern Mayo, and Charly Bliss (which also had the benefit of being hosted by the ceaselessly entertaining Mary Houlihan). It was a show that was immediately preceded by a more intimate affair that was highlighted by a set from Yohua.

While all of the bands that played delivered memorable sets, PWR BTTM’s deserves greater focus. After being impressed with some of their earlier songs, their live show wound up securing them as a spot as one of my favorite bands of the moment. I’ve talked a lot about the additional reasons that they’ve earned so many words here, with their presentation of identity playing a major factor, and I’m far from the only person that’s found an element to latch onto when it comes to the band and their music. After Charly Bliss had enticed everyone with a characteristically extraordinary set and the promise of Ugly Cherries-themed cupcakes, PWR BTTM took to the stage and delivered one of the most memorable sets of the year.

People screamed along to key lines of songs, crowd-surfed, danced, and moshed, as the band tore through a discography-spanning set that peered into the future once with the unveiling of a devastating, bass-led song that prompted genuine tears from a few audience members (also notable: PWR BTTM’s Benjamin Hopkins’ parents were in attendance, as was the mother of Charly Bliss’ Eva Hendricks). Hopkins went into the audience on more than a few occasions and at every moment during their set (one that included Fern Mayo’s Nicholas Cummins on bass duties for a small batch of songs), it was abundantly clear that their audience has only grown more passionate since the start of this year. By the time “Carbs” was coming to its conclusion, a few bodies were being hoisted above the crowd, both Hopkins and Liv Bruce’s dresses were half off or more, and everyone was drenched in sweat- but, more importantly, they were smiling.     

Watch a composite video of several of the performances that have occurred over the month of September and view a photo gallery of the shows mentioned here.