From stadiums and arenas to theaters and rooms, it is a tough gig for bands who are just starting out. Unless they are the opening act, getting on stage is just as hard as winning the lottery. For bands with arena sized dreams, Shea Stadium may be a good place to start. The crowds cheer as if they are at the World Series. As for fan gear, Shea Stadium is a plethora of plaid, neon tights, unruly hair, and skinny jeans on a Saturday night.
This Shea Stadium isn't in Queens and it's definitely not in Manhattan. It resides in Brooklyn and is regarded as one of those experimental spaces. Think indie indie type bands. It is also a space where bands can go to record their music and have their live shows taped.
The vibe is free flowing complete with beach balls in the air. Shea Stadium has the feel of a high school gymnasium and a suburban garage. The decor is makeshift with decade old couches and cartoon canvases. The stage even dons a wooden jagged border with light peaking through. It's elementary and raw.
One night’s lineup can be as varied as the genres of music played. One act played with their backs against the crowd. Another jumped so hard it looked like the stage was going to collapse. The best band of the night did not stand on stage but in the middle of the crowd and had a country twang. They played acoustic and it was refreshing to be able to understand them clearly. At times the bands at Shea Stadium sounded like a garbled mess. The instruments were louder than the vocals, making it difficult to understand what they were saying. In addition to country, the music verged on alternative with a mix of rock influenced by the sounds of the 60's. Shea Stadium is an all ages music venue, recording studio, and open forum. It is part of the young Brooklyn scene and what goes on there is fluid.
Shea Stadium is housed in an industrial warehouse. The setting is a bit rough. Cover is the price of a beer and the collection process left a lit cigarette rolling on a flat surface without an ashtray. Shea Stadium gets warm inside. For some cool air and a smoker's break, one can sneak away to their balcony which stares right at the Empire State Building. There are surprising little gems like these in Brooklyn. All one needs to know is the address.
Photography Credits: Jerome Serrano
20 Meadow St.
Brooklyn, NY, 11206