DIY venue Monster Island closed this weekend and sent itself off with a block party on Saturday. The New York Times reports that the venue’s end came because the landlord chose not to renew Monster Island’s lease in favor of redeveloping the space.
On 128 River St. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a lot got done at Monster Island: recording, performing, screen printing; it was a great place to buy surf gear, too. The place stood out against the industrial decor of the neighborhood, with huge murals coating the outside and plenty of color to be seen inside. A few blocks away on Bedford Avenue the trendy bars and fancy new high rises continue to creep westward, pushing show-goers further East to Bushwick. Death By Audio and 285 Kent Ave. remain in the area, and local bars like Spike Hill will continue to showcase the area’s talent.
There has been a shake-up as of late among some other well established venues. Silent Barn was raided by authorities over building codes in July. After being evicted, the Silent Barn residents were burglarized, losing some $15,000’s worth of equipment. Glasslands Gallery suffered a similar fate weeks later when it was burglarized August 2. Williamsburg favorite Market Hotel was closed by authorities last year for operating without a license. All of these crackdowns affect more than just those seeking out new music; they also affect the bands that play there, the employees who work there and the promoters who schedule shows there.
“Now that it’s closing we’ll have to find a new place to practice,” Mike McKeever tells CMJ. McKeever is the guitarist and singer for the band Life Size Maps and was also a volunteer at Monster Island, helping to prepare and run events in the space. Secret Project Robot, the organization responsible for much of Monster Island’s activities, will be relocating to Melrose in Bushwick according to its website. Whatever changes may happen, the music will find a way to happen, as “there are too many creative people around to not keep a scene this rad going,” says McKeever. This holds true as Silent Barn reaches its $40,000 Kickstarter goal and plans to reopen in a new location.