BY TARA SMITH
The music paused for a brief second inside a packed BrickHouse Brewery on a recent Tuesday night. But it wasn’t because of a computer glitch. The bartender-turned-deejay for the evening was flipping The Smiths’ “The Queen is Dead” over to its’ B-side — a ritual you probably thought took a backseat to digital mediums years ago.
Amidst a “vinyl renaissance,” the brewery is resurrecting the ritual of taking the disc out of the sleeve, putting it on the turntable and carefully dropping the needle on the record to hear the first crackles. On Tuesday nights, at least.
Bring Your Own Vinyl (BYOV) nights have been a staple in hipster neighborhoods of big cities, but caught on in Patchogue last spring. Every Tuesday evening, patrons are encouraged to bring a record from their collection to be spun in-house while they enjoy $5 pints of beer.
“It’s like an open mic for vinyl,” said BrickHouse brewmaster Paul Komsic. “It’s not polarizing, it doesn’t keep anyone away, even if they don’t know the event is going on.”
Even Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce executive director David Kennedy stopped by after the chamber meeting Tuesday night. “I love that this is coming back,” he said. He brought a few records, one that captured the season.
“I thought this would get people in the holiday spirit,” he said, showing “Imagene Peise: Atlas Eets Christmas,” a 2007 Flaming Lips album. The album takes an unmistaken Flaming Lips take on Christmas classics, with jazz piano, synth and drones, resulting in a outer-spacey but warm holiday album.
But collectors like Bennett aren’t the ones leading the renaissance; audiophiles of all ages bring pieces of their collections to BrickHouse each week. The twentysomethings in attendance brought more contemporary releases ranging from Nirvana’s “Nevermind” to a 2012 release of Alt-J’s “An Awesome Wave.”
Syd LaRoy, who grew up in the area, and Evan Kato had just moved to Patchogue from Brooklyn. They had been to vinyl night a few times, this time with indie folk-rock Hop Along’s album, “Painted Shut,” in tow. “There are really cool events around like this one, you just have to dig to find them,” LaRoy said of their recent move.
A collector himself, Komsic saw the music format resurfacing and decided to embrace it at the brewery. He had partnered with Looney Tunes CD Store in West Babylon in selling pints for charity on Record Store Day in April and thought they could help.
“We support music and the arts here a lot and saw people were into this,” he said. “So we thought we’d give it a shot.” In turn, Looney Tunes holds an LP giveaway at each event. To enter the raffle, all you have to do is bring a record to spin.
One of the BrickHouse owners, Tom Keegan, immediately jumped on board at the idea. “I started hunting for records,” Keegan said. “I probably rode around to 20 yard sales and ended up with mostly Barbra Streisand records,” he said laughing. “So I’m glad people bring their own records — it’s more contemporary than what I found at yard sales.”
The mix of 10 to 15 records usually spun in one evening is always eclectic, Komsic explained. “It keeps it interesting, not knowing what people will bring. I’ll usually bring two ‘safe’ choices and then something weird to play later in the evening,” he said of his growing genre-spanning collection.
At Tuesday’s event, WEHM deejay Anthony, who hosts the morning show, broadcasted live from the event. “With digital music, you’re experiencing it alone,” he said of streaming music and listening on headphones. “This brings back a communal feel to music.”
Photo Caption: A few of the records brought to vinyl night at BrickHouse on Dec. 6.