DJ Baggins on the decks - Photo by Brandon Specktor
There’s something essentially hipster about appropriating one of New York City’s oldest, most ornate skyscrapers as a plaid wearin’, whiskey drinkin’, vinyl spinnin’ hookup hotspot.
On Thursday night the Wooly club in the lobby of Manhattan’s Woolworth building (c. 1913) played host to a Bushmills whiskey “Since Way Back” promotional party, opening its vaulted mosaic ceilings and marble mezzanines to a tide of beard scruff, bow ties and horn-rimmed spectacles. The “Since Way Back” campaign has been open in its targeting of young hipster demographics, dispersing event invites on Polaroid pictures, snagging endorsements from Bon Iver (Justin Vernon “hosted” Thursday’s party and could be seen strolling amongst the tipsy masses) and commissioning Elijah “Please Don’t Call Me Frodo” Wood and former Devendra Banhart tour manager/occasional motion picture music consultant Zach Cowie (aka Turquoise Wisdom) as official party DJs, performing under Wooden Wisdom.
While attendant hipsters caroused in the Wooly’s three finely furnished rooms, swigging complimentary Bushmills cocktails from mason jars, chomping on complimentary sliders and trying on fake mustaches in an insta-hipstamatic black-and-white photo studio, Wooden Wisdom set up shop in a modest corner papered with a magazine cutout collage of flowers, lips, thighs and eyes. Wood wore a checkered forest-green sport coat and grey striped button-up while he leaned in close to the turntables, stood back to clap in satisfaction and indulge periodic visitations from starstruck partygoers. The lanky, long-haired Cowie, meanwhile, wore a dark blue cardigan, matching T-shirt and permanent, ear-to-ear smile while he sifted through a bottomless crate of soul, funk and folk-rock records.
Together, Wooden Wisdom spent the night on a retro kick, spinning a mix of crowd-pleasing oldies (Steeler’s Wheel’s “Stuck In The Middle With You,” a funkified version of the Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”) and deep soul and funk cuts that schooled everyone in the room on true vinyl hoarding swag. Obscure but awesome selections included the clap-happy “New York Groove
” by glam rockers Hello, the chunky hip-twistin’ party anthem “Cruiser’s Creek
” by the Fall and Plastic Bertrand’s French punk-meets Beach Boys “Ca Plane Pour Moi
,” built around an idiomatic French expression that basically means “It’s all good for me.” Sussed on free whiskey, sliders and celebrity, nobody in the lobby of the Woolworth Building Thursday night could deny Bertrand’s prognosis.