The Beets, a trio of low-fiers from Queens, got off to a rough start last night at Skylight West when cops came and shut down its would-be rooftop set. No permit? A noise complaint waiting to happen? No one could say for sure. A shame, because it was a picture-perfect setup: the sun setting over the Hudson River, painting the NYC skyline gold. The band packed up its gear and lugged it downstairs.
Downstairs was a party for something called Orta Blu, an eco-friendly denim company. In a spacious loft with white walls, white leather sofas and white wine, industry types huddled around the band to check out these strange-looking kids. The group members set up in front of a projector screen running a promo for Orta Blu, and after a few technical hiccups, they got things underway. Their sound reminds you of a favorite taco truck: Sure, it’s a little dirty, the food messy, but it tastes great. The Latin influence to the Beets’ lo-fi garage rock is the spice that makes it stand out. Guitarist Juan Wauters, who hails from Uruguay, met bassist Jose Garcia at LaGuardia Community College. Garcia is from Queens, and the band has been repping Jackson Heights from day one. And in case you’re wondering, the name of the band does not come from Doug, that ’90s show on Nickelodeon. Wauters walked into his kitchen one day, and on the counter was a can of beets—end of story.
The Beets played for about 45 minutes, twanging its way through a Ramones-meets-Beach Boys setlist. “The natives were getting a little restless,” said Garcia, right after the show, but things seemed chilled out as everyone freshened up their drinks and went mingling. The setting was certainly different for these guys so used to the DIY clubs of Brooklyn. They know Market Hotel; doubtful if they ever set foot in the Waldorf Astoria. But the Beatles left the Cavern Club and so too must everyone else out to make a name for themselves.
All photos below by Alex Eriksen