By Calli Ferguson | July 20, 2023
The excitement was tangible on Avenue A last Thursday evening as a crowd gathered outside a relatively unmarked door for the highly anticipated opening show at Knitting Factory New York at Baker Falls. Composed of people of all ages, the crowd eagerly waited to experience the newest version of the iconic space inside, hoping it would keep the spirit of the East Village’s music scene alive.
The new venue, a collaboration between Knitting Factory and Nick Bodor, is located in the former Pyramid Club, a stage which saw the likes of Ru Paul, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and many more. After Pyramid’s Covid-close and last year’s closing of the Knitting Factory in Williamsburg, the expectations for the new venue were high. And it’s not lost on the team: Baker Falls pays tribute to the countercultural roots of the former Pyramid Club, which had fostered the downtown punk and drag scenes.
We walked in to find a refreshingly low frills rock venue. The original layout of Pyramid Club was unchanged, complete with a long bar leading to a small but mighty stage. The spirit of downtown New York was alive and well and everyone appreciated the history and significance of the space. Downstairs, though, there’s something a bit new – we recommend seeing it for yourself.
The night kicked off with two supporting bands, GIFT and Slow Fiction, who delivered fantastic performances that set the tone for a high-energy night of rock ‘n’ roll. GIFT, a Brooklyn-based psychedelic rock band, and Slow Fiction, an NYC Alt/indie band, got the crowd pumped and ready for the headlining act, Sunflower Bean.
Sunflower Bean is comprised of Julia Cumming on vocals and bass, Nick Kivlen on guitar and vocals, and Olive Faber on drums. They took the stage with their signature electric energy. Cumming, a native New Yorker with an intimate family history in the downtown music scene, embodied the venue’s spirit as she led us through a groovy, psychedelic, indie rock journey.
Known for their captivating live performances, Sunflower Bean was a perfect fit for the grand opening. The crowd jammed to tracks off their latest album, Handful of Sugar. The live setting gave their sound a garage-rock quality, and their performance had raw, euphoric edge.
Sunflower Bean’s performance made us recognize that we were in a very special place, at a pivotal moment. The band effortlessly blended eclectic genres, and their performance felt at home in the new Knitting Factory at Baker Falls, immersing a crowd in the experience as we eagerly embraced the future the night represented.
The night left the audience elated and excited for more shows to come at Knitting Factory New York at Baker Falls. With its rich history of counterculture movements and Baker Falls’ commitment to preserving the spirit of downtown, the new venue has all the qualities of a haven for live music lovers, local creatives, and a symbol of hope for the vibrant East Village rock scene.