What’s Old Is New on Friday Night in Williamsburg

January 25th, 2010

Free Energy – Brooklyn Bowl – January 22, 2010

Free Energy - Brooklyn Bowl - January 22, 2010
Historically speaking, Brooklyn Bowl is situated on a block that Eastern European immigrants built and is now home to a graveyard of low-lying and almost forgotten brick industrial architecture. It hearkens back to a place that Williamsburg used to be, a place that almost does not exist anymore. Inside Brooklyn Bowl, Free Energy took the stage in front of a crowd loosely packed back to the bar. The Philly band, a mixture of winking and willful influences to 1970s rock, took the stage with a confidence both thrown back in time and very much of the present.

Free Energy quickly dove into material from their coming full-length, Stuck on Nothing. Soon-to-be first single “Bang Pop,” a stomping and instantly memorable cut hung in the middle of the set like a vicious linchpin. Lead singer Paul Sprangers, in the simplest of gray sweatshirts, strutted around the stage like a wiry drum major, leading the crowd through the eponymous chorus: “Bang bang/ Pop pop.” It was rife with classic-rock derivation but, at that moment, no one seemed to notice. In the closing moments, the band played “Free Energy,” with its seminal battle cry of youth, “We are young and still alive/ Now the time is on our side,” and “Something in Common,” with a 4/4 time signature and enough inclusive language to make us feel like we had been through something together.

It was an interesting night: A bowling alley with a music venue inside, a neighborhood, both old and desperately new, and a band, with regard for the past, making music they are confident is enduring. Though it sounded like 40 years ago, we were still young and we were certainly alive. Time wasn’t necessarily on our side but it had been successfully removed from the equation. —Geoff Nelson

Photos courtesy of Jen Macchiarelli |