2,763 miles separate San Diego, CA and The Glasslands Gallery, an art and music venue on Kent Avenue in Brooklyn, NY—a perfectly intimate space. A relic of pre-highrise Williamsburg, Glasslands has kept its street cred by continuing to attract both the generically weird and inarguably cool hipsters alike. For brothers Andy and James Ralph the location is both a creative outlet to celebrate a Gotham City arrival and a job, the first of many to hopefully come, as new residents of NYC.
There’s a Honda Element with California plates parked in front of a small group of smokers who have, in turn, parked themselves in front of the entrance to Glasslands. For the Brothers Ralph, or Writer as they’re known on tonight’s scheduled lineup, I imagine the mileage count is closer to 4763. The brothers, who left behind sunny San Diego weeks ago (their home for the last nine years) have been playing venues state-to-state as they made their way to the East Coast. I make my way inside.
Tonight, Glasslands—as strategic locale or accidental gig—is a proving ground of sorts. As a few thousand feet of converted warehouse it’s equal parts connection and separation to things the Ralphs have left behind—a devoted San Diego fanbase, a national tour opening for Cults—and the opportunities that lay before—their full-length debut Brotherface, a “ghetto-tech garage-rock” sound that fits quite nicely into their new neighborhood.
E. B. White wrote that “the City is always full of young, worshipful beginners.” Andy and James, who have been gifted musicians and artists from childhood, are hardly beginners to music or playing in bands or moderate success, but, as they take the small stage as Glasslands in front of a gauzy textured and glowing wall, they shine with the fresh exuberance you really only get to see in a new New Yorker, and, as a girl in the audience pulls out her Moleskine and starts to live-paint their set, it’s obvious they’ve made a step 2,763 miles in the right direction.
ANDY AND JAMES RALPH, WRITER | writertheband.com