I’m sure no-one has ever made a baseball joke about this music venue, but in any case I wouldn’t know how to make one. Sorry America, your sports suck (and don’t make me call real football soccer, either), thankfully this DIY venue does not.
Shea Stadium is a recording studio/performance space located upstairs at 20 Meadow Street in “East” Williamsburg about a 5-minute walk off the L on Grand Street. Once you get there, be aware that you don’t go in the door that has the number 20 on it, but the one to the left of it! To be fair, the outside does not really look like much of anything.
Time to head upstairs!
The main space is like a fairly large apartment, maybe 1,000 square feet. The stage sits about 18-inches off the ground on the far side and is big enough to fit all the members of Diarrhea Planet which you might not be able to say for most spaces. I’m not sure how many people could squeeze in here for a show, maybe 350 going elbow to elbow?
The whole vibe reminds me of those times when you’re about 16 years old, your parents are out of town and you’d throw an impromptu party, find someone who could score you cheap beer and just wait for the inevitable chaos to ensue. That sounds incredibly juvenile and maybe a put down but we all know those are some of the best parties you ever had and you still talk about them.
There are two bathrooms near the table that gets used for merch.
Some sage advice is provided.
And remember, buttman is watching you.
Now, the other toilet doesn’t have such an instruction, I don’t know if that means it’s cool to take a dump in there or not (bro) but then I thought rule#1 of altruism was try not to take a shit at a music venue.
It’s fun watching people sit down on this sofa, it looks solid but you’ll be instantly swallowed up when you sit down. There are probably untold treasures forever lost in the cushions. There are also some other sofas and chairs around the edges of the room but none have the comedic people-watching value. Air con has recently been installed, the unit is over towards the back so head over there if you’re struggling with the heat, there is also a balcony for those addicted to carcinogens.
Lets get to the heart of the matter, because the venue is also a recording studio, you would expect a keen level of detail for the sound, which is thankfully the case. Those two speakers on the stage don’t really look like a whole lot but they offer clarity and a substantial punch. There are some pillars in the main space which might cause a few sightline issues but they aren’t big and fairly easy to avoid. The stage lighting is, shall we say, unpretentious.
One great thing is that sets a band’s set will be recorded and posted online at Shea’s website, this is truly a thing of beauty (example: Diarrhea Planet). How many concerts have you been to and wished you could relive? Live albums seem to be a dirty word these days but I’ve always loved hearing live recordings.
Most of the bands I have seen come through here have been garage-rock types, giving their all onstage, the audience gives it back, too (I’m more of an observer than a mover, myself!) and there’s a great energy in the room when everyone is in sync.