For the past year, a quiet cocktail bar in Ridgewood has been filling its basement with small DIY shows and the weekly low–key karaoke sesh. This week, the makeshift club (called ‘Sundown…stairs’) booked its biggest show in its still-recent history: a set of songs, on a weeknight, from Andrew Savage, one of the singer in the successful punk band Parquet Courts. (per New York magazine: “a quintessential American rock band for the 21st century.”)

“Thank you for standing here and listening to my songs,” Savage told the assembled basement crowd. Earlier, they had been brought to a confused silence by an ambient band called Eaters that Savage had signed to his personal record label, Dull Tools. Once a duo that had been cranking out experimental Brooklyn albums since 2014, Eaters has since enlarged into a trio, a number that includes a seated man playing a homemade glass harmonica. Before him was Ofir Ganon, an Israeli-Moroccan instrumental guitarist who played about 14 or so wistful acoustic melodies, some on an elaborate 12-string, also seated. 

Above: sets at Sundown by guitarist Ofir Ganon and the Brooklyn band Eaters.

It was only the second time in a month that Savage had played a quiet solo set in the neighborhood he once sang about in the Courts’ XMU radio hit “Stoned and Starving.” Last month, Savage had graced TV Eye, another new club in the neighborhood, with his presence, accompanied by a tenor saxophonist and a brush drummer. This time, Savage was by himself, wearing a grey cotton sweater and accompanied by a single acoustic guitar, which he strummed agitatedly for the duration of the entire set. 

While marijuana use in Ridgewood may have gone up significantly since 2013, Savage opted not to reprise any of his band’s blog-era hits, instead workshopping acoustic material, along with versions of tracks from his single 2017 solo LP, Thawing Dawn. Jenn Pelly, who once championed Savage’s band at Pitchfork, likens Savage‘s solo material to the depressed singer-songwriters in “the tradition of the Silver Jews” and perhaps for good reason, the new material involved much of the same typical, post-punk paranoia; lines like “you’ve got a microscope on me,” joined by references to ‘Ren & Stimpy’ cartoons that succeed in getting some laughs, late at night in Ridgewood.  

Sundown is located at 68-38 Forest Avenue. Check out their schedule on Instagram.

All images taken by Andrew Karpan.

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