10 11 2009

Village Voice Best of 2009

Best Venue for Massive Hearing Loss

Brooklyn Masonic Temple

Fort Greene's Brooklyn Masonic Temple, with its humble wooden floors and high-school-talent-show vibe, does not much look like the death-dealing, ear-destroying terrordome it has proven to be. The venue—populated by snack-and-beverage-laden folding tables and a cushy, seat-filled upper balcony—seems more like the site of an incipient prom or bake sale than a place of dark Masonic rituals, let alone rock shows. But—as any still-dazed attendee of a recent performance there by the two-piece drone-metal band Sunn O))) can attest—the BMT is in the running for being the city's most deafening venue. Sasha Frere-Jones, in the New Yorker, suggested that the Temple had found a loophole in the laws regulating commercial music venues (since, formally, it isn't one). But it goes beyond mere questions of volume: Even personal conversations between sets echo conspicuously. (The largely acoustic one-man act the Mountain Goats performed there last year; an open G-chord sounded like a minor explosion.) In a way, this is no surprise: if Masons can secretly rule the world, it only makes sense that they would have figured out long ago how to shatter all known precepts of amplified sound.



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