last night's gig

Not Waving But Drowning Play What Is Perhaps the Nuttiest Loft Show We’ve Ever Seen


We were proffered, and accepted, a pot-laced Rice Krispies treat at some point during Not Waving But Drowning’s album-release show at this woman’s nutty Williamsburg loft on Saturday, but this story’s better told by an unreliable narrator anyhow. Let’s go back to the invitation, a letter from “Leopold” to “Ferdinand,” which began this way:

You slatternly syphilitic blackguard, you whoremonger of faithless livestock, you cancerous disordered wretch! I read your latest piece of correspondence with the growing conviction that, not only did you leave behind any remaining shred of Christian decency when you fled my arms those many years ago, but that now you have lost your ever-slim and tenuous grip on sanity as well.

And then there was the venue, stuffed to the beams with all manner of carefully curated weird stuff: fancy ashtrays, melted candles, old editions of good books, lengths of rope. One wall was exclusively decorated with rusty farm implements. All that was missing was a fetus preserved in a jar, although there might’ve been one of those in the bedroom. Entry was half-off for people in costume, and folks came like it was Halloween; flappers consorted with men in top hats, or wearing suspenders. The band — Pinky Weitzman, Mason Brown, John Frazier, Jeremy Forbis, and on one song, Mason Brown’s dad — hauled their banjo, violin, musical saw, and the like out in front of an expanse of windows overlooking the Williamsburg Bridge. It was a rollicking steampunk hoedown, and it climaxed with a burlesque dancer getting completely naked — no pasties! We left in a daze.

Not Waving But Drowning Play What Is Perhaps the Nuttiest Loft Show We’ve Ever Seen