This review is part of an ongoing series on electronic cigarettes and vaping. It rates how vape friendly a particular venue is. The views expressed are purely the opinion of the author, and do not represent those of Bedford Slims. Feedback is welcome. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an e-cigarette experience worth sharing.
As far as Brooklyn venues go, Aviv in Greenpoint is about as DIY as it gets. It’s impossible to tell from the street that it’s anything other than another warehouse along Morgan Avenue south of the BQE. The entrance is a simple white door, and the interior is a mostly unrenovated garage with murals on all the walls.
With such a raw decor, it’s probably not surprising that they have a pretty lax attitude toward vaping. As long as you’re not taking huge rips and unleashing a massive vape cloud, no one particularly cares if you spend the show puffing on an e-cig. The process for smoking a regular cig, however, is pretty annoying. You can’t smoke inside. I’ve heard they have allowed it occasionally during certain shows, but generally it’s a no-go. And the venue doesn’t want to be too conspicuous from the street, so they ask all smokers to walk around the block to an unlit side street. That makes e-cigs and vaping a much more convenient way to get your nicotine while you’re there.
The show I went to see was headlined by Wolvves, a very enjoyable and genre-bending band based in Phoenix. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because there’s another group called Wolvves based in New York that makes spooky EDM. This is a very different band.
The Wolvves from Arizona are an indie punk band that is heavily infused with elements of noise pop and…hip hop. I know that may sound like a joke, but the group actually makes it work. First of all, the raucous slamming of a snare drum provides a good beat to rap over. And second, the anger of punk music really matches the message. There’s something a little disingenuous about a white kid with a shaved head screaming about “the system” in 2016. Frontman Aydin Immortal, who is black, does a good job of projecting a fuck-it-all anger that never takes itself too seriously. At times the lyrics venture into territory that is somewhat political, but it mostly comes off as a chronical of the life and times of a slacker who lives in Phoenix.
Most of the songs that Wolvves played were from their recently released album Paradox Valley, which is definitely worth checking out. It’s an extremely charismatic record. It sounds like it could have come out any time in the last 15 years, which might sound like an insult but I actually mean it as a compliment. The blend of style and influences is so rapid-fire that it’s hard to keep track of them as they go by, all while maintaining a very laid back, casual hangout vibe.
If you’re interested in seeing a show at Aviv, you better act fast. The venue is leaving its current location by the end of the month. According to the owners, their lease is up and they will be looking for a new location soon. Sadly that is the fate of most DIY spaces in Brooklyn nowadays. The rent is too much for any space that isn’t sponsored by Mercedes Benz. Aviv may have been one of the last places that didn’t bother to abide by City Hall’s ban on indoor vaping. But I’ll keep looking until I find another.
Rating for Vaping: (7/10)