A Day in the Life with the Hardest Working Guitarist in Brooklyn
Delicate Steve played two shows at Noisey Weekend at basically the same time, so we had a photographer follow him as he ran all over Williamsburg.
Photo by Justin Buschardt
Hi, I am Steve. I am known as Delicate Steve to many. I live in Brooklyn. I play guitar. I play guitar in my band, which is called Delicate Steve. My album This Is Steve came out last year and I did a lot of touring behind the release of the record.
Sometimes I play guitar in the studio with other artists: Paul Simon, Yeasayer, Sondre Lerche to name a few. And sometimes I hop on stage with my guitar for a song or two: Built To Spill, Dr. Dog, Mac DeMarco, Dirty Projectors, and others. I also play as a guitarist in other bands: The Growlers, Oberhofer, and Skaters to name a few. I played about 120 shows last year; most of them with Delicate Steve and The Growlers.
Right now I am playing in the band Amen Dunes, which is the project of Damon McMahon—a brilliant songwriter who has been releasing music under the Amen Dunes name for many years. I played guitar on the band’s most recent album, Freedom, which was released this past Friday. The record release show was on Saturday at Music Hall of Williamsburg as part of Noisey Weekend. It was the band’s first show in three years.
On the same night, my band Delicate Steve also played a show for Noisey Weekend at Brooklyn Bowl opening up for Dean Ween. The venues are located five blocks away from each other. About a six minute walk, or a two minute run. Each show required a load in and sound check, so I spent the day going back and forth from each venue, loading, checking, playing, playing, from about 3 PM - 2 AM.
It was all worth it but it was a lot of work. Noisey sent photographer Justin Buschardt with me to capture the day. This is what happened.
2:30 PM The day started at the rehearsal space in Greenpoint. I had to get my Amen Dunes gear and bring it to Music Hall of Williamsburg to load in.
3 PM Arrival: Music Hall of Williamsburg
Around 4 o'clock, I ponder the meaning of my life as I drive the rest of my gear over to Brooklyn Bowl for my soundcheck with Delicate Steve.
Like I said, the journey from Brooklyn Bowl to Music Hall is about a six minute walk, or a two minute run. Upon realizing I had no more time between my Delicate Steve sound check and my Amen Dunes sound check, I was left with no choice but to utilize my running shoes.
Here’s the point where I started losing my mind. Which is not exactly a bad thing. I really enjoy it sometimes when it involves music. It’s about 7:45 PM here, I’m two sound checks deep and have been moving non-stop since about 2:30 PM. I’m backstage at Brooklyn Bowl waiting for my dinner to arrive. Delicate Steve hits the stage in about 15 minutes.
And here is where it’s all worth it. Playing my ‘66 SG. Amps everywhere. It’s loud and things are feeling right. It’s a full house at Brooklyn Bowl. I’m backed by my bandmates Brian Betancourt and Jeremy Gustin.
It’s no big deal to them that I am playing two shows tonight. Turns out Jeremy is also heading to play another show after our set. We deliver the goods, barely get a chance to say our goodbyes after the set. It truly becomes entirely about the moment we share together on stage.
“What more do you want from me? I am but a guitarist!” I proclaim to the crowd at Brooklyn Bowl.
After the set, I get a small taste for what it feels like to be the Beatles or Stones. Leaving the stage with guitar in hand, frets still hot, I walk out the back door of Brooklyn Bowl onto the street. I am suddenly on the corner of N 10th and Wythe on a Saturday night. Unlike the Beatles or Stones, nobody knows my name. It’s kinda nice. I walk down the street with my guitar towards Music Hall.
It’s about 9:15 PM and Amen Dunes is slated to go on at 10 PM. I don’t have much time before we play, but it’s enough for me to get into the zone of a completely different set of music, bandmates, vibe.
I arrive at Music Hall while rapper MIKE performs his opening set. Gene, the venue security guard who I see four or five times a year lets me into the venue without showing him my pass. We know each other by name because of how often I’m at the venue. It’s nice because I can’t find my pass.
Although it was only an hour ago that I was on stage in an entirely different venue, with an entirely different band, playing entirely different music, the audience doesn’t suspect a thing. The first Amen Dunes show in three years is a success. After the set, I get to catch up with some friends for a few minutes before it’s time to pack my gear up. This is the point the exhaustion starts to kick in.
At about 12:30 AM I get my car to load all of my gear from Music Hall, then Brooklyn Bowl to pick up the rest of the Delicate Steve merch, and after that I head to the practice space to drop everything off.
I end the night with a chicken quesadilla from Union Pool at 2 AM before heading back home.
Delicate Steve plays guitar. Follow him on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Noisey US.