Pop Pistol – More San Antonio Week in Brooklyn
In addition to Girl in a Coma, another San Antonio trio played Brooklyn this past week: Pop Pistol, who made their NYC debut at Trash Bar on Tuesday September 28. The band consists of guitarist and vocalist Alex Scheel, bassist George Garza, and drummer Jorge Gonzalez. All three contribute either synths or samples to the studio recordings, a sound that’s replicated live by a backing track. Say what you will about using pre-recorded playback; it works for Pop Pistol by adding a sort of surprise to their onstage appearance. “Where’s the keyboard?” is a question that onlookers commonly ask, as the band generates sonic layers richer than their three-piece composition would lead one to expect.
Frontman Scheel sings with his eyes closed. After the show, he explains that, during the set he imagined the Brooklyn Bridge and other famous New York landmarks that he and his bandmates — all in their mid-twenties — had seen that day for the first time. ”To me, New York is like the only city in the world,” Scheel says. “Being here is like killing a fantasy.”
What is it about New York — about music in New York — that from the outside gleams like a city on a hill, yet on the inside hungers for new things from elsewhere? Here bands are a dime a dozen. Indie music-philes pride themselves in knowing where a non-NY band is from — and the more obscure the place of origin, the better. (For example, the fact that thrash maestros Lazarus A.D. hail from Kenosha, Wisconsin, makes them seem all the more special when they blow away the veteran German headliners at the Nokia/Best Buy Theater in Times Square.) Ironically, though, for musicians who live in other cities, being a big fish in a small pond only seems good enough if eventually New York notices you. Getting to New York is hard, but getting New York’s attention can be harder — even if you already live here.
Scheel likens being in New York to “killing a fantasy,” but really there’s a mystique to wherever one is not at the time or hasn’t been. And so I wrap up San Antonio Week in Brooklyn with this: Pop Pistol and Girl in a Coma — thank you for visiting. Rock on, and know that this niche of New York knows who you are.