Bethlehem Steel Played Trans-Pecos with Sharkmuffin and Cat Cohen, 9/13/19
Words and Pictures by Rose Lamela
For someone who grew up so close to NY, I have not explored the boroughs other than Manhattan as often as one would assume. Brooklyn got my attention last year, but Queens is a borough that I had not had the opportunity to tread into often. This past Friday, I attempted the long trek to a neighborhood in Queens I had never been to. The venue, Trans-Pecos, was one that has come up several times as a place I wanted to hit up. I was due for some Sharkmuffin, but I decided to give Bethlehem Steel a quick listen before going to the show. The first song I heard was "Bad Girl," and I was immediately sold. It's a great song, and so is their latest, self-titled release.
Trans-Pecos was super easy to miss, and I did miss it like three times. This place was as DIY as you could get, and I was happy to be there despite it being poorly lit which will give any photographer anxiety. I stood in a little corner and waited for everyone to be casually late to the event. I was taken aback by an old lopsided radiator holding up a speaker. This place got my approval for authenticity.
A comedian by the name of Catherine Cohen opened up the show with her hilarious self deprecation and raunchy songs. She was really good at involving the audience in her set and hijacking their attention. I have always felt that the hardest form of art is comedy. When someone can get most of the audience to genuinely laugh, they definitely get all of my respect.
Sharkmuffin came on stage next and they were dressed up in costumes. They were dressed as female historical figures that died tragic deaths. In between songs they tried to get the audience to guess who they were without using their phones to Google the clues with which they taunted the audience. I was happy to see them live since it felt like Austin was a million years ago. I especially love hearing my favorite song "Liz Taylor" live. I was excited to find out that I share a name with Sharkmuffin's current drummer.
Bethlehem Steel took the stage and played their new release in full. I didn't quite get the fake blood that was being given out to the audience and used by lead singer Rebecca Ryskalczyk until I got home. Both music videos for "Bad Girl" and "Govt. Cheese" feature gory scenes with blood.
The band played as one would imagine on a Friday night in a small, intimate venue with the haze of soft-colored light. It was good to be able to feel the drums during the bridge of "Bad Girl" as I don't think anyone was following any noise ordinances in nowhereland, Queens. It was one of those nights where the crowd was super into the music and nice to be around. I even had someone nicely give me their hand to help me down as I attempted to climb a booth to get better photos.
The drive back wasn't as painful as dodging the rats on the street on my way back. It was garbage night, and this Jersey girl has never seen rats that big in clans. After surviving that, I smiled. They kind of gave essence to the vibe and grit of the hipster NY scene, the vibe to the scenes that pop up in neighborhoods we have yet to explore.