A Rock n’ Roll Safari was exactly what I needed this weekend.
Saturday, Sept. 27th, started out with a quick, yet well deserved, pitstop at Bareburger that lead to an undesired engagement with a mob of drunken college kids on the L Train. Luckily, upon entering Brooklyn, I wandered over to The Wick, A former brewery off Bushwick Avenue to witness the legendary rock animals in their natural habitat. The lively and rambunctious band that call themselves, The Giraffes, were hosting a one-off reunion show for their beloved Brooklyn fans.
As I walked into this awesome old brewery, equipped with a full bar and a great span of brick walls, I realized that I was perhaps one of the youngest folks there. The fans of these, Giraffa Camelopardalis, were 30+ peeps who proudly displayed their beards and their lovely female companions, in all black, of course. It was hot as hell in this brick oven, but everyone was happy and chatting excitedly for the show to come. The bearded bros were giving each other hugs and politely welcoming new folks to this rare gathering. Ladies flocked together to get the best spots amongst the crowd floor.
The corners of the place had dim red lights that made the atmosphere feel a little more intimate than expected. It was welcomed nonetheless. I walked over to the main area, which, mind you, has a boarded up hole in the ceiling. The stage was set up in the corner. It was an unique and weird location, as far as concert venues go.
I had just arrived for the main opening band to begin. Radkey, a trio of true thrashing brothers, welcomed us with a whirlwind of Nirvana meets The Clash wailing and screaming. I liked them immediately, not entirely based on their sound, but rather for their obvious passion in their craft. These guys were literally rock and rolling onstage. Amid the bouncing around, fans were cheering on and bobbing their heads with ease. The band spoke halfway through their set, “… being fans of The Giraffes since we were kids, it truly is an honor to be here tonight…” Not only were these guys putting their heart into their performance, they were here simply to pay tribute to their rock gods. AMEN bros, AMEN! They ended their set with a bang and displayed their mantra, written on the back of the bass guitar, “Delicious Rock Noise.” A good start to a show, I’d say!
Now the real fun was about to begin. It was at this point when I glanced around to see the one and only, Adrian Grenier, made famous by playing the epic Vincent Chase on HBO’s Entourage, had graced us with his presence in audience. He was busy taking photos and had a huge smile on his face. Where was DRAMA!? Anyway, I digress. All in all, I was already pumped from both Radkey’s performance and the arrival of HBO royalty as The Giraffes came on.
The men we have all come to see walk out high fiving fans and are wearing their confidence well. Their front man, Aaron Lazar, bears his ever so peaceful middle finger to the audience as he enters. Fans flip the bird back with pride. The Giraffes immediately start rocking out. Aaron is right up at the mic screaming and singing away with a firm grip on his bottle of Jameson in his other hand. The “Guitar Wizard,” Damien Paris, is proudly making his magic happen on the side while drummer, Andrew Totolos, is comfortably pounding away in the corner. Bassist, Jens Carstensen Jr., who is often seen taking a sip from Aaron’s bottle of Jameson, gives the audience the vibe they need.
People are pushed to the front as cups, bottles and alcohol begin streaming onto the stage as the ferocious Giraffes happily collect their bounty. Aaron provides intense beard grabbing, much to the dismay of Damien who attempts to play on. The hipster Elvis is now soaked with alcohol and God knows what else as he continues preaching his good word to us all. The fans are loud as they are faithful. Lyrics are sung religiously as the songs progress. The rockers kick the trash back out into the audience while Aaron combs out his alcohol soaked hair. The Jameson bottle has now made its way to the crowd who are now marveling the drunken dance twist that is occurring on stage. Aaron’s microphone is situated comfortably into his red shirt pocket and then flies out to wind up in the hands of the audience who eagerly become a part of the show. The night goes on through a blur of alcohol rain, beards and joyful screaming.
Needless to say, the safari was a success and I hope they do it again, maybe a stampede to follow next?
Photography by Aminot Oshobajo.