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Bands from mysterious island to rock Brooklyn venue

Bands from mysterious island to rock Brooklyn venue
Over the way: The Way Station owner Andy Heidel and band booker James Coyle search for Staten Island on a map.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

This is the first we’ve heard of it.

Native musicians from a remote island are bringing their indigenous sounds to urbane Brooklyn. Four bands from bucolic Staten Island (pronounced stat-NUY-lin) will perform their people’s traditional music at Prospect Heights bar the Way Station on Oct. 18.

The mist-shrouded rock is home to sea-faring folk who travel by ferry and once farmed the New York Harbor’s vast oyster beds. Archeologists believe the “Forgotten Borough” is actually part of New York City — thanks largely to Manhattan historical records showing that 65 percent of Staten Islanders voted to detach from New York’s amble bosom in 1993. The city blocked the island’s secession. But despite an isolated existence, a plurality of musical styles has flourished on its verdant shores, an event organizer said.

“There’s not one particular sound coming from Staten Island,” said Way Station booker James Coyle. “Even though they’re from same borough, they all sort of have different sounds.”

Indeed, the showcase promises an eclectic mix you would be “doozy pots” to miss, as the locals say.

Jam band Tom Cintula and the Buffalo 24 will headline the show, with support from dream-punk trio Yeti, acoustic guitar virtuoso Vinny Bunnicelli, and seven-piece “apocalyptic Americana” band Carl Gallagher and the Off-Track Bettors. Ethno-musicologists should take special interest in the latter two acts, which may provide the clearest insight into indigenous music from the borough that did not join the city’s electric grid until 1952.

The bands have made past pilgrimages to Brooklyn, Coyle said. But this is the first time all four acts have been able to simultaneously secure documentation to travel to our cultural mecca. And they will have to make the perilous journey on their own, because the trip is not a cheap one.

“We really enjoyed all of them individually,” Coyle said. “The original idea was to get a party bus to take bands to the show, but it would have been too expensive with tolls.”

“Staten Island Invades Brooklyn” at the Way Station [683 Washington Ave. between St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place in Prospect Heights, (347) 627–4949, www.wayst‌ation‌bk.com]. Oct. 18 at 8 pm. $5 suggested donation.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeg‌er@cn‌gloca‌l.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.

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