Downtown Boys and Friends at Da Null Hypothesis

by by Jonah Wolf

On Thursday night I had a concert in my basement. How it happened was like this: my housemate Eli told our friend Jamie that we wanted to have concerts in our basement, then she told her friend Joey who wanted to start playing shows on the East Side. Joey e-mailed me with a list of bands and I suggested we add my housemates' band, Michael Mannhunt. I also said we should try to end early so the neighbors wouldn't complain. My housemates and I spent an afternoon cleaning out the basement. We borrowed speakers from WBRU and strobe lights from BCA. The bands brought the rest of the equipment. We cut up a foam mattress pad to soundproof the windows. We set up a box for donations and a cooler with 45 cans of PBR. Someone brought cookies. We were supposed to start at 8:30 but nobody was there so we waited until 9.


First up were Big Sur (Sir?), a folk group from RISD who had been erroneously billed as Wolf Porn. Their harmonies needed a little tightening, but people sang along when they closed with "I'll Fly Away."

Then came Michael Mannhunt. Matt, Noah, and Sandy sat on the floor and let their laptops play kinda drone-y minimalist stuff. Some people kneeled close. Eventually Zach started hitting a tom.

Next was D Gookin, Joe's friend from New Haven. Very sunny and dancey; reminded me of '90s bubblegum hits like "Steal My Sunshine" and "MMMBop." I, and others, danced. Strobe lights can make any dance move look cool.

At this point I was getting nervous because a lot of people were in the backyard. I was right: Jamie came in and told me that one of the neighbors had stopped by and complained. Fortunately, Joey's band Downtown Boys had just finished setting up, and everyone filed back downstairs. Two of the Downtown Boys, the singer and one of the saxophone players, are in fact girls, and in this they resemble the '70s punk band X-Ray Spex. The singer, Victoria, even looks a little like X-Ray Spex's late singer Poly Styrene. Downtown Boys' punk is faster and less melodic -- more hardcore -- than X-Ray Spex's, though. People were moshing pretty hard.

I went upstairs and someone told me that the cops had come, or that the neighbors had threatened to call the cops if we didn't turn it down. It probably didn't help that one of the foam pads had fallen down. I rushed back downstairs and started turning random knobs. When the song finished I explained the situation and went back upstairs to watch for neighbors. Downtown Boys played a couple more songs, then everyone left. We had made $86.