Last night’s afterparty for lo-fi pop punk phenom Wavves was over before it even really started. What was supposed to be an all-night hang-out at a D.I.Y. space in Bushwick marking the first night of this weekend’s Northside Festival turned instead into a lot of freaked-out standing around when somebody at the party threw a glass beer bottle at a police car, shattering its rear window and attracting a swarm of some 15 police officers to the scene.
With that, the Wavves afterparty at the all-ages warehouse space known as “Shea Stadium” was over, and everyone who had walked over to Bushwick from the Knitting Factory in Williamsburg having watched the scuzzy three-piece perform either bolted, dawdled or took position inside the venue to wait for the police to finish their work.
The plan was originally for Ryan Schreiber, founder of Pitchfork, and Patrick Stickles, lead singer of the grouchy New Jersey band Titus Andronicus, to DJ at Shea Stadium from 2 a.m. until dawn. The Wavves show ended a little before midnight; Mr. Schreiber, who had been enthusiastically advertising the afterparty on his Twitter, arrived at the space around 1 a.m. and headed upstairs without stopping to inquire about all the flashing lights outside. He entered mere moments after the bottle was thrown at the cruiser—just before the police decided they weren’t going to let anyone else in or out of Shea Stadium until they had a suspect cuffed. Ten minutes later, Mr. Schreiber was heading back outside, with what looked like dozens of kids pouring out behind him. “They just want everyone to leave for a minute,” he said, reassuringly, to no one in particular, as he walked down the stairs.
Mr. Schreiber and those who managed to follow him out were lucky; many were made to wait inside while the police searched for the person who threw the bottle. While one group of officers served a summons to a cranky long-haired youngster in a backwards baseball cap (a situation that was not directly related to the bottle-throwing incident), one particularly severe-looking fellow took position in front of the door to the venue and blocked it with his beefy body. “Nobody’s leaving till we find out who did this,” the officer said, in between exasperated snarls directed at the people in the stairwell pushing the door into him in hopes of getting free.
On the sidewalk, one could hear a lot of grumbling among disappointed kids about “one asshole ruining it for everyone” and the like; eventually a guy in a sleeveless white T-shirt was arrested and put into the back of a cruiser. How he was chosen for the honor—whether someone turned him in or what—was unclear, but for his part, he vocally protested the arrest as it was happening, saying he’d been wrongfully accused. Meanwhile, two young friends walked nervously up to Shea Stadium and asked why things looked so done. “Yo,” one of them said to the other a moment later, after checking a text on his phone. “Wavves just told me there’s a new spot.” With that, the pair set off down Bushwick Avenue.
Around 1:30 a.m., a guy named Cosmo who plays guitar in the band Dom was walking with a few buddies in the direction of Shea Stadium, having booked it in a hurry earlier when that bottle took its fateful flight. Dom, who sound pretty much exactly like MGMT and who have received serious praise from Pitchfork recently, had opened for Wavves at the Knitting Factory earlier in the evening.
According to Cosmo, the reason the police showed up at Shea Stadium in the first place was that they heard his friend Jay—one of the guys standing nearby—doing burnouts in his red Firebird after driving some of the band members to the party from the Wavves show.
A burnout, for those who don’t know, is a hot rod trick that involves stepping on your break and hitting the gas at the same time, causing the front wheels to lock and the back wheels to spin really fast. “Basically, if you got enough horsepower, it just spins the tires loose from the road,” Jay explained. “It makes a noise, makes some smoke, makes chicks wet.”
Jay was being encouraged by his friends to do some burnouts, he said, so he “tore it up like three times in a row” before realizing how close he was to the venue. When the cops arrived in response to the noise of the tires, they saw a 30-rack of beer sitting on the sidewalk and a bunch of people drinking outside, and moved swiftly to put an end to it.
They were being nice, though, Jay said—even going so far as to let the guys take what was left of the 30-rack and stash it in the Firebird—until the bottle came flying down from the balcony.
Standing in the aftermath of the ordeal, Cosmo wondered aloud if it was safe to go back to the party to retrieve the car. Just then, the cruiser whose window had been smashed drove by, causing the three friends to grimace and point. “Look at that, dude,” one of them said. “Wow.”
As for the perpetrator, Cosmo said, he never had a chance.
“I bet all the fucking pussies in that building gave him up right away, anyway,” he said. “I would!”