A Night Elsewhere


Photo Six: Dear Boy performing on stage. All four members are pictured, from right to left: Austin Hayman, guitar and backing vocals, Ben Grey, guitar and lead vocals, Keith Cooper, drums, and Lucy Lawrence, bass and backing vocals.

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If you survive the rush hour L Train from Union Square to Jefferson Street, you’ll find yourself below ground in Bushwick, Brooklyn. This gentrified, overhyped, and frankly, bothersome neighborhood currently caterers to what can best be described as the New York City Transplant Lifestyle.

There is, however, one thing that keeps me constantly making this treacherous voyage into my least favorite part of Brooklyn. Continuing out of the Jefferson Street Station, past the L Train Vintage, and a little further into one of the less “trendy” parts of the area, in the middle of Johnson Avenue is a venue called Elsewhere. Tucked neatly inside of Elsewhere is a small venue they call Zone One.

Zone One is the smallest of five live music venues within Elsewhere, each having a larger capacity than the former. With a maximum capacity of 250 people, Zone One holds a comparable size to Mercury Lounge, a similar but more well-known venue in Manhattan.

One of the things contributing to the venue’s underground nature is the fact that if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’re never going to find it. Elsewhere has no signage, no lights, and no barricade put out in preparation for a pre-concert line. The only thing that aids your hope of being in the right place comes from the small “Elsewhere” spray painted neatly onto the door. Of course, the second they begin to scan people into the event the door opens and the lettering is lost, putting you back at square one.

Once you manage to find the venue with only the flickering light of the autobody shop across the street to guide you, the hard part is already over.

You’ve made it. Rejoice.

If the online listing said doors were going to open at 7:00, you’re lucky if they open at 7:05, but I’ve noticed that it’s closer to that 7:10 mark when the metal door screams open and the wristbanding process begins. From there, it’s standard concert procedure; you show your ID to the staff, they give you a wristband accordingly. If you’re underage, the bouncer will take the fattest, most ridiculous Sharpie you’ve ever seen to cross your hands with. What you’ll come to find out in the following days is that this particular Sharpie wasn’t falsely advertising when its package said “permanent,” because, despite your best and most damaging attempts, the Xs on your hands will be there until they decide they want to leave.

Upon getting inside, you’re greeted by exactly what was advertised. The single stage is directly in front of you, skewed slightly to the right, making space for a door that leads towards the coat

check next to it. Behind the stage, there are four sets of LED paneling displaying colors that match the overhead lighting throughout the night. Right above you is, of course, a disco ball. The music playing in between sets is whatever the band supplied; I’ve heard everything from The Raincoats to The Rolling Stones.

Once people start to file in, Zone One runs a tight ship. If they say the first opener is coming on at 8:00, they’re going to be on stage exactly then. Taped-up set times littered throughout the walls of the small venue clue you in to precisely what time each musician is set to come on stage. If you’re looking for one, there will always be one on the wall directly across from the main entrance, one taped to the side of the bar, and one tucked into the lighting and sound booth.

Attending a concert at Zone One says little about the type of music you listen to as the venue does not cater to any one specific genre. The leading unification in the musicians that play here is that they’re not selling out shows at Barclays Center. These artists are up and coming.

This past November, I followed four particular bands as they played Zone One:

An alternative four-piece rock band called Dear Boy who made their New York debut while touring their first full album titled Forever Sometimes, one I would recommend to lovers of The Cranberries and The Maine.

Thus Love, a queer post-punk trio who has also recently released their first album, Memorial. While I personally believe that everyone should listen to Memorial, the most obvious future Thus Love fan is one who enjoys music from bands with deep sound, like The Cure and Echo & The Bunnymen.

Pinkshift, a notable punk band from Baltimore, playing their first New York headline show after touring for most of the year as one of two openers for a band called PUP and putting out their first full album, Love Me Forever, this past October.

Jigsaw Youth, another punk band whose sound teeters on the edge of metal, performed their hometown show at Zone One while touring as the opener for Pinkshift for the months leading up to this particular set.

All this to say: Zone One doesn’t limit the musicians they host by genre. Whether you listen to heavy metal or soft indie music, you’ll be able to find a show that caters to you.

When your respective show finishes and people begin to file out, only now will you notice the rickety foldable table in the corner near the entrance that holds the merchandise of the opening band. If you deem them worthy, you’ll take the extra time to support the band, otherwise, you’ll find yourself slipping out of the exit and making your way back toward the L train.

Photo One: Jefferson Street Station in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The beginning of your night at Zone One.
Photo Two: The outside appearance of the venue Elsewhere. The small lettering on the door is the only sign that this is the venue you’re looking for, and is easily missed.
Photo Three: The outside portion of Elsewhere; people standing to get into Zone One. This is what lies directly behind the door with the small lettering, and the area that leads you into each of Elsewhere’s different venues.
Photo Four: The Zone One Stage, set with instruments for the upcoming sets. A disco ball is seen above.
Photo Five: A copy of the set times for three performances: Jhariah, Jigsaw Youth, and Pinkshift. This particular paper hung on the wall nearest the venue’s entrance.
Photo Six: Dear Boy performing on stage. All four members are pictured, from right to left: Austin Hayman, guitar and backing vocals, Ben Grey, guitar and lead vocals, Keith Cooper, drums, and Lucy Lawrence, bass and backing vocals.
Photo Seven: A close-up of Nathaniel Van Osdol from Thus Love singing into a microphone while playing guitar during a performance of their song “Family Man”.
Photo Eight: Paul Vallejo, the guitarist of Pinkshift playing over the band’s frontman, Ash Kumar, who is singing while laying on their back.
Photo Nine: Maria Alvarez, the bassist, and vocalist of Jigsaw Youth, playing a mint green bass while looking out over a mosh pit [not pictured].
Photo Ten: Thus Love merchandise displayed on a small black folding table. This table, reserved for the opening band(s) can be found near the exit of the venue.