Brooklyn has been the breeding ground for Gotham’s best rock ‘n’ roll since … well, pretty much since the genre first emerged from the primordial ooze. But bands had to pack up the van and cross the East River into Manhattan to get noticed.
Things have changed. Over the past few years, a slew of clubs has sprung up in the so-called borough of churches — each with a distinct personality and none attempting to copy the Manhattan sensibility.
The incursion started around six years ago with the opening of Williamsburg hipster joints like electro-clash hot spot Luxx and North Six — the latter of which recently reopened as the Music Hall of Williamsburg, a Brooklyn outpost of the growing Bowery Presents group.
Tendrils soon extended into Greenpoint (in the form of the ornate Warsaw) and Park Slope (where Southpaw opened in a former 99-cent store at the tail end of 2002). “One reason the scene developed in the first place is that rents drove people of the right age bracket out of New York and into Brooklyn,” says Todd Abramson, who books groups at Southpaw. “Now, of course, people like this are being driven out of Brooklyn. Commercial rents are starting to reflect this, but hopefully things will work out for everyone.”
For the time being, optimism seems to be warranted. Northern Brooklyn is now home to a passel of decidedly disparate venues — from the dance-rock and rap-friendly Studio B to the more avant-oriented Club Europa to the roots-rock mecca Union Pool.
Further south, the 5,000-square-foot Union Hall — which has been ramping up its national bookings — is about to spawn a smaller spinoff in the same neighborhood.