Call him the Light Knight.
This Marine Park native was once an off-Broadway actor, and a veteran of New York’s glam rock scene — but he had left it all behind to pursue a normal, middle-class life. Then one day three years ago, he looked around and saw a city that had lost its way, that needed something different — a musical savior that would be his borough’s guiding light. So he donned a Tron-esque lightsuit and adopted a new alter-ego: Blazes.
“Long ago, pop stars were heroes. You had them on your wall and you looked up to them. I wanted to bring that back, as a superhero who plays catchy songs,” the anonymous man behind Blazes said. “New York has that tradition of spectacle, like New York Dolls and Kiss, that kind of theatrical performance. That’s what I wanted to do, but my own way.”
In the tradition of New York heroes like Batman and Spider-Man, Blazes’ first appearances were sudden and fleeting. The glowing gladiator would launch guerilla performances at bars and nightclubs, raiding the stage to drop his synthesized sounds and drum machine beats — and then fleeing into the night.
“I liked to keep it mysterious, keep people guessing. You don’t want to give them too much at first,” said Blazes.
Soon, audiences and promoters were clamoring for him to bring his lighting bolt-shaped guitar to trendy venues in Williamsburg and Bushwick. But like all heroes, Blazes battled unexpected obstacles in his early days. At a performance at Bushwick’s now-defunct House of Yes, a battery on Blazes’ lightsuit burst, forcing him to flee the scene with a permanently scarring burn.
“All of a sudden I heard a pop on my back, and it started to sizzle and I had to run off the stage,” he recalled.
Finally, this July, Blazes took his biggest stage yet — the Coney Island Boardwalk, at the invitation of Wonder Wheel Park owner Dennis Vourderis. It was a chance for Blazes to finally realize his dream — being a lambent champion for all Brooklynites, not just those who frequent the haunts of hipsters.
“What I liked about Coney Island, it was a mainstream crowd,” said Blazes. “It was thousands of people, everyone, not just a hip crowd.”
To protect those close to him, Blazes remains jealously protective of his secret identity. But he did clue us in to his next performance, at the Flat in Williamsburg on Dec. 26. The incandescent crusader described the club as perfectly suited to his style.
“It’s a place where they’ll take something that’s different, really off-beat,” Blazes said.
So look to the sky — or at least the stage — Brooklyn. There is a masked techno adventurer looking out for you.
Blazes performs at the Flat [308 Hooper St. between Broadway and South Fifth Street in Williamsburg, (718) 599–5151, www.theflatbkny.com]. Dec. 26 at 11:45 pm. $5.
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