Pancakes and whiskey is no longer just a breakfast of champions, it is also and online publication founded just last year byJonathan Miller however, which covers all things music…and whiskey.Pancakes and Whiskey is a community of contributors who review shows, record their own “Whiskey Sessions,” and put together concerts for the public. One such show was the ‘Pancakes and Whiskey Holiday Party’ we attended, which was chock full of great music, great vibes, and great (free) alcohol.
The public, yet ticketed, Pancakes and Whiskey shindig at Rough Trade in Brooklyn was definitely worth waiting for. The publication curated a fantastic, and cohesive, lineup of New York based and/or born bands with Stargazy, Dreamers, and headliners The Dig. And just as equally impressive as the lineup was the alcohol selection . In true holiday sprit, Four Roses Bourbon sponsored one hour of free whiskey, while Brooklyn Brewery seasonal beers were poured at half-price.
As the Christmas-lit venue dimmed, thesea of Santa hats and flannels step closer towards the stage in anticipation of the first act – Stargazy. Describing their music as “Neon Phase Expressionism,” Stargazy took to the stage with all six members bearing their adjoining equipment. Despite the heavy artillery that accompanied them, none was as heavy as their energy and its effects on the crowd. Members Michael R., Jared, Alex, Brian, Rocco, and Michael P. combined haunting vocals and infectious instrumentals to create a sound that left the audience stargazed. In between their set, which included songs “Jackets,” “Baptiste,” “Seasons,” “Stargazy,” “Half Life,” “Atlantic,” and “Garland,” lead singer Michael Romano revealed some sad news – “This is going to be our last show for a very long time.” With a roar of “boo’s” from the floor, Stargazy performed their last song of the night, “Golden Hour,” which they had surely created. As the guitar straps came off and the drumsticks were placed down however, the overwhelming applaud quickly turned into a “one more song!” chant. To no ones dismay, and after checking that they had enough time to do it, Stargazy recouped for a finale even grander than the last with their performance of “Summer in the Wintertime.”
With the crowd already Dreamers took over the stage and followed Stargazy in stellar fashion. Although the band had half as many members, they definitely did not have half as much energy. The Brooklyn trio played all the songs off of their recently debuted EP, including “No Love,” “Waste My Night,” “My Little Match,” and their infectious first single “Wolves.” Members Nick, Chris, and Nelson also garnered hype for a full-length album with songs like “Oh Me Leelah” and the final song of their set, “Not a Love Song.” The seamless transitions in between songs, which left almost no room for that awkward silence after a crowd applauds and a new song has begun, had the crowd in one continuous trance. It was obvious as Nick, on lead vocals and guitar, fell to his knees and entangled himself in the chords swimming on stage, that band members themselves were caught up in the dream of playing their music to a universe full of dreamers. In one fell swoop, another successful set was played, and Nick thanked the crowd for “keeping the dream alive.”
With just enough time to throw sobriety fully out the window, the invisible electric fence that had separated the crowd and the stage by some feet quickly dissipated in anticipation of The Dig. Another Brooklyn based band, members Emile, Erick, David, and Mark have seen great success after the release of their most recent EPs Tired Hearts and You & I, and clearly drew the greatest amount of fans at the show.The haunting vocals shared by Emile and David, and the addition of a heavy synthesizer/keyboard presence by Mark, who was oddly wearing only one shoe, was The Dig sound everyone was waiting for. The set shared songs from their second album, including “I Already Forgot Everything You Said” and “All Tied Up,” and the two EPs from this past year including, “Cold Afternoon,” “Tired Hearts,” “How Can You Trust a Feeling”, and “Over You Again”. Emile was the first to wish everybody a “Happy Hanukah” on its third night, and extended the holiday cheer with a cover of “Christmas All Over Again” as the band’s last song. A Christmas classic, and really the first allusion to it being a holiday party by any of the performers, the band’s very brief disappearance was inevitably dismissed by an all too knowing crowd, and an encore performance. It was at this point that Emile told everyone to “tuck it in nice and tight” in lieu of “Sick, Sad Morning” off their very first album. And if playing a song off their debut album wasn’t enough for those really big Dig fans, maybe playing another song after that was. With their dance-party-inducing performance of “Hole in My Heart,” and everyone’s last chance to sweat the beer out, The Dig had actually played their last song – of the night and of 2014.