Oh Brooklyn, how you have taken so much from us in such little time! It seems like torture to revisit memories from now closed venue spaces we once held dear. Places like 285 Kent, Death by Audio, and more recently the Brooklyn Night Bazaar all held their own glorious (albeit short) reigns but shut down about as quickly as they had popped up. So, you can imagine that any time a local Brooklyn venue embraces another year delivering eye-popping, ear-gushing live musical goodness, you best pull out all the stops and party ’till the mawnin’.
In the case of Williamsburg bar/restaurant/music venue Baby’s All Right, it dedicated an entire week to ringing in its two years of providing great music, drinks, and food for the masses. Fortunately for me, I had the chance to visit during the third and final leg of the celebration on Saturday night, cheekily given the title “Baby’s Turns 2… Again & Again.” As midnight started creeping closer, I made my way down Broadway and reminisced on that first fateful night two autumns ago in which I first stumbled across what I knew was a dream come true: rainbow-colored LED lights, that one alligator head chomping down on a dimmed orb of light, and let’s not forgot the wallpaper that looks as if it was sketched by a cartographer mapping some unknown astral plane. This isn’t your typical poorly lit DIY warehouse with urban decor, this is an atypical poorly lit museum with psychedelic flair. Before I knew it, however, I was pulled back to the present by those familiar green neon letters that brightly read “ALL RIGHT.” I made it and, although I was greeted by a long line of people who were as late as I was, getting in was a breeze.
The front lounge area was filled to capacity, mainly due to the fact that there was an open bar going on, so I grabbed a free brew and made my way to the less crowded stage area. The festivities had already begun, and the party’s entertainment was about to start. Said entertainment was provided by musical acts Porches (Aaron Maine), Neon Indian (aka Alan Palomo), and a “special guest” who later turned out to be producer The Range (James Hinton). I managed to find a great spot for show opener Porches, who opted for a more intimate setup by playing on the venue floor rather than the stage itself. Now… I’ll go ahead and admit that before then, I had never heard porches in neither a live nor studio setting, but as soon as the guitar rang out in all its chorus/reverb glory and the synth with its 80s bell swells, I was converted to fandom. Couple that with Aaron’s longing grim vocals, and the result was something reminiscent of high school prom slow jams. Everyone should make it a note to listen to Aaron’s project Porches as well as his latest work, Ronald Paris under his new moniker Ronald Paris (pronounced pah-ree).
Keeping up with the scholastic theme, Neon Indian’s set changed the mood and transported us to night school, where anything goes as long as you’ve got your dance shoes on. With neon lit signs sporting the name of their latest record (VEGA Int’l Night School), lead singer Alan Palomo and his band played mostly new songs. Between the futuristic cumbia/reggae tinged “Annie” and the funky groove of “Slumlord”, it was hard for us all to not follow Alan’s lead and bust out some heavy dance moves. The curveball to finish the set was Neon Indian’s most widely known song “Polish Girl” out of the album Era Extraña. Baby’s is known for booking both lesser known up-and-coming acts as well as more renowned and critically acclaimed artists, and although I didn’t stick around for The Range, I was neither surprised nor disappointed by any one of the sets I did manage to catch.
At some point in between Neon Indian’s set, owners Billy Jones and Zachary Mexico carried up on stage a cake that was only fitting for a young toddler entering its terrible twos. So after the song was sung and the candles blown out, what was there left to do? Well, crowd-surfing the cake around while the audience dug their hands in for a bite seemed like the only logical answer. Something had to have been said about a crowd full of people hand-feeding frosting to each other, but after a night full of (not just one, but two!) open bars, new friends, and plenty of dancing I was too content to have paid any mind. Here’s to you, Baby’s, and to many more nights of me leaving thinking, “Wow, that was the birthday party of the year!”