If you live anywhere near NYC and love extreme music, hopefully you’ve had a chance to check out Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. Once you find and step through the black doored entrance, not only does the front bar offer a wide variety of drafts and specials, but the back room hosts some of the best shows the city has to offer (Goatwhore played earlier this week, Nails headlines tomorrow). Once the show’s over and last call hits, it’s high time for everyone to hit the old dusty trail…that is, unless you’re an owner–two of the three also happen to be in Primitive Weapons–in which case it’s time to put on some tunes.
As co-owner Arthur Shepherd tells us, “The process of closing up after a busy night at a rock bar/venue on the outskirts of the world’s hippest neighborhood is a very personal experience strictly dictated by the whims of the employees who have most likely been there for over 12 hours. We like to create a playlist that encourages even the most oblivious of late night customers to realize that their night here at our bar is now over. Because we are inundated with the heavy and loud on a daily basis, we naturally tend to lean towards the mellower side of life in these situations, but there are different techniques. Back in the day at our other jobs, before metal became cool again, we would often put on extreme stuff like Deathspell Omega to get people out, but that began to backfire as trends changed. These days I go for a gradual change. Drunk people hate to think, so you start with prog rock, move to the yacht, and finish with Beatle solo work (or related/soundalikes such as Badfinger or Emitt Rhodes). You can also just go for shock value…say Assück straight into the Indigo Girls. Regardless, this list represents the most common musings of the weekend staff.”
You can check out a calendar of upcoming shows here and feel free to listen along here. Lest we forget to mention, if running a bar wasn’t cool enough, Shepard and company also started Sacrament Music.
Yes–Tales From Topographic Oceans (1973)
Yes’s “Changes” (from 1983’s 90125)
My favorite band of all time, Yes, is my only true religion. Luckily I have fellow progressive rock fans employed at the bar to join me and savor in this grandeur. “Close to the Edge” is a good starter, but there is nothing like a song off of Tales From Topographic Oceans to really drive the point home to the drunken masses. The classic Yes moment is [co-owner] George [Souleidis] and I arguing at 5am over the time signature of the opening of “Changes” off of 90215. It’s a part George! There’s no specific time signature. Well, I guess there has to be a time signature.
Pink Floyd–The Final Cut (1983)
Floyd is sheer perfection. A few of the employees and I bonded on the very controversial (at least amongst fans) The Final Cut LP, so that one is a common, albeit a very, very melancholy, choice. The place is usually empty by the time we get to “When the Tigers Broke Free”, a track about the death of Roger Waters’ father in WWII that was added to the remaster/reissue in later years. I could talk about the importance of Pink Floyd for hours and usually do at 5am. Customers should consider themselves lucky to be gone already.
Rush’s “The Big Money” (from 1985’s Power Windows)
Those who have experienced a true Rush-a-thon at Vitus should consider themselves blessed. Where else outside of Canada can you drink shitty canned beer and listen to the greatest rock trio of all time? If this goes on during closing, it’s usually strictly for my listening pleasure. I prefer ’80s Rush when working. Closing up while listening to “The Big Money” just makes sense. I never smile, but George has always said that the easiest way to make me happy is put on Rush. It also scares any and all females out of the bar.
Steely Dan’s “Do It Again” (from 1972’s Can’t Buy A Thrill)
Let’s set sail. Onto the Yacht! This is an old tradition for us. I love Steely Dan. Every song is brilliant. I like to play the “who played on this song?” game. If I gotta pick one, it’s “Do It Again”. The yacht rock delves into all sorts of ’70s greatness. I guess Hall & Oates and The Doobies need a shout out as well.
Paul McCartney’s “Another Day” (1971)
In my very strong opinion, The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath invented every musical genre by 1972–the only thing that changed was technology. Let’s face it, McCartney created pop music. He created it, rewrote it and reinvented it through out his career. I’m a big fan of the song “Another Day”, which was a leftover from the Let It Be sessions. It has six choruses and it’s classic story telling McCartney. Mundane, everyday life in post war Britain never sounded so timeless. We have been through every phase: Harrison, Lennon, Badfinger, ELO, Emmit Rhodes, you name it. Deep, late night conversations about the songwriting nuances of the masters is fuckload of fun.
Roy Harper–Stormcock (1971)
It’s folk, it’s prog, it’s got Jimmy Page all over it. ‘Nuff said. Listen to it.
*Check out more about Saint Vitus Bar here.
**We update one Spotify playlist for each new Decibrity entry, so feel free to subscribe to that here. Past entries include:
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
All That Remains
A Life Once Lost
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Meshuggah
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)