Don Pedro went out with a bang this past Sunday thanks to a 10-band lineup that went till 4am. The music rocked, beer rained overhead, and cigarettes from the basement made the place smell like a pre-Bloomburg punk paradise. The goodbye had been in the works ever since it was announced in March that the Williamsburg property had been sold.
Saturday’s concert was the last in a string of shows that started on Wednesday. Brian, who had been running the door ever since the current owners took over the venue seven years ago, told me that Friday’s hardcore punk show had been especially crowded and that he expected even more people on Saturday.
The evening started at 7pm with the well-dressed and finely tuned ensemble of Rubi. Their classy American and Latin music had fans dancing in a place where they would normally be moshing. Lyricist Jose Garcia gave a heartfelt goodbye speech, saying they had played their first show at Don Pedro almost a decade ago and were happy to have played so many others there. By the time they finished with a warm rendition of “Light My Fire” by The Doors, some had arrived for the grittier bands to follow. As both the denim jackets and the dinner jackets moved to the music, you felt the mutual love for music that had made Don Pedro a success.
At some point, I was introduced to James Dale, founder of Captain Smolders Smoked Salmon, who has been storing his fish in the restaurant area in the back of Don Pedro. His office was originally the kitchen of Don Pedro, which started out as an Ecuadorian restaurant. James, a big fan of the venue, showed off his outfit and said he “dressed for a funeral.”
The marathon of bands included local favorites Cash Registers, The Naked Heroes and former house band Foster Care. When they finally wrapped up, everyone ran to the bar for one last drink. Co-owners Mitro Valsamis, who was in the audience for much of the show, was surrounded by a sea of friends that each showed more gratitude than the next.
Next to him were concert host Jake Noodle, who flew back from his new home in Los Angeles to be there, and Andrew Redmond, a DJ that night, who saw Don Pedro’s first show, with Black Lips, in 2006. Manager Danielle Giaquinto served them the last of the Rolling Rock cans and then went over to help co-owner Steven Solomon count out the mechanical register one last time.
It was a healthy goodbye at Don Pedro. Everyone got to express their love, blow out their eardrums and drink their fill of beer while finishing the night drama-free. In their little slice of heaven, all was right with the world.