Wierd Ends and Nothing Changes

photo(93)Daniel Maurer At one of Wierd’s last nights.

It’s the end of an era at a Lower East Side bar – and possibly the beginning of a new one. Tonight, a new weekly replaces the long-running Wierd party.

For 10 years, every time you opened the door to Home Sweet Home on a Wednesday night you were greeted with the smell of artificial smoke. Colored lights poked through the fog, like thousands of e-cigarettes fuming at once.

Started in 2003 at the Southside Lounge in Brooklyn, Wierd was New York’s longest running weekly party for dark music, but it was much more than a place where black-clad 20- and 30-somethings drank and fist pumped to obscure minimal synth music. There was a certain pageantry attached to Wierd balanced with founder Pieter Schoolwerth’s earnestness and enthusiasm. The party might have looked intimidating, but as the drinks flowed even the most stoic goths broke character and smiled.


Mr. Schoolwerth’s party was a place to showcase new music and celebrate older and often overlooked acts. In the narrow space, you could see the ’80s Belgian synth band Absolute Body Control play after being broken up for 22 years or watch ChameleonsVox perform the entire “Script of the Bridge” album – and then watch singer Mark Burgess pound beers with the audience.

Wierd was also an enclave for an entire scene that spawned several established acts including Martial Canterel and Cult of Youth, and influenced others to play music, start record labels, and appreciate the obscure.

Last week when the party ended after over 500 events, it was unclear what would take over. Following a brief silence, some of the party’s affiliates — Soren Roi, Nikki Sneakers, Hillary Johnson, and Jasper McGandy — announced a new weekly whose name immediately addresses the void Wierd left. Named after a song from neofolk band Death In June, Nothing Changes will have a similar musical scope and continue to provide local and touring bands with a venue and eager audience.

Tonight’s free party won’t feature a band, but Nikki Sneakers told us what’s forthcoming for Nothing Changes. “To start the parties off we’ve called upon a lot of our local friends and longtime supporters to perform,” he said. “In April and May we’ll begin with more touring bands including Bain Wolfkind from Australia and Craow and Outmode from Florida. We wanted to make sure that we’ve built up and maintained a following before we start having touring bands rely on us for a show.”

Having been involved with Wierd for several years, the promoters understand how essential the following and buzz is for a party and hope that there’s continued support for their new endeavor. “The community is essential for single and two-band showcases to work the way they did for Wierd,” said Soren Roi. “Without local support people are often relying on our word that the bands we’re booking are worth their time and money. The payoff is the bands get to be seen and heard in an environment that caters to them and pays more.”

Nothing Changes launches tonight with DJs Avana and Hi-Fi Hillary at Home Sweet Home, 131 Christie Street.

Correction: March 6, 2013. This post was revised to correct an error. An earlier version misattributed a quote. It was Soren Roi, not Nikki Sneakers, who said, “This community is essential…”