By Narcissa Lyons
Been silent for a little too long, forgive this writer her lapses, but Hello and Hail regardless. Thought I’d send a reminder on the importance of going out for night life as regularly as you can, because I went to a bad ass band performance the other night, a musical, scintillating, almost mystical one. I realize this is not earth-shattering or a noble proclamation by any definition, but sometimes, particularly as we get older, we become too much of a home body. There is something exquisite and comforting about staying at home on occasion, but it is still living a little less if you do it too much. If you get complacent in your complacency.
Walking into the establishment I did not expect mundane, because even bad music never gets you a mundane crowd unless it is really mellow and really bad. I also did not expect what I walked into. We went with another set of hockey parents with whom we have become close. I think most people are aware of what it means to be “hockey parents” or “soccer parents”, etc. As it happens, we ventured out because another friend, also a former hockey parent, is the drummer of the band in question, and we’d for a few years been promising to see his band play. Some friendships remain and sometimes reblossom just by a run-in, and sometimes totally disappear because that is what life is. You appreciate life, the very cool beings you get to meet and party with, but then there are fading relationships as well, particularly if you have children whose interest/talents meander from the original path. The memories of these great people (and I suppose also the assholes) embed themselves in your brain and enhance your perception of the world, educate you in subtle and sometimes important ways.
By no means can I define normalcy, and one day when I am older and ideally less vulnerable, I will chat on that line, but for the sake of my happy observation last week and the drug-like good music, I’ll leave that alone. But it was not a normal Saturday night. We went to Waxy O’Connors in Woburn, MA, because the band “Totally Inappropriate” (who should modify that name to “Totes Inappropes” with a valley accent per me), was playing. As I mentioned, we had kept intending to go see them, but like everything in life, something got in the way, or we got lazy, or the shower soothed us to the PJ path. I think you know what I mean.
PJs didn’t happen, lipstick smacked, cologne slapped on and a bit of snazz put on all around. We got as hip as we could, and met our Saturday night with the avarice we felt and it deserved. I can’t tell you exactly why this band-at-a-bar Saturday night was better than most, and maybe the fact I don’t go out as much romanticizes it, but I have a skinny feeling that isn’t it. It was wall to wall, not a frown to be found, and as usual, when everyone has a slight tingle from whatever elixir embraces their ice cubes, it was mesmerizing brief friendships.
And the music. How can I now only start the main reason for the success of that evening? The music, performed 98% on key, was acutely perfect in its reverence for the evening, and the fact it was not professional, was get-down-dirty-fun-to-perform-to- people-I-love-and-people-who-just-happened-to-walk-in–was ecstasy. I saw women acting like teen-agers and looking like teenagers because of the unbound happiness and loss of reality thoughts. I saw young men laughing and smoking and drinking too much, and interacting with the rest of them. I saw slightly older men, one in particular sitting stoically as if a shade too cool for this foolishness, while who might have been his wife danced him into a sitting reverie of appreciation of her and the rest of the loons she provoked. I saw bartenders bending rules and spectacled onlookers loosen ties and begin to sweat to things they only started to realize they recalled. I think I might have seen everything. OK, exaggeration, but it felt like I saw everything, that’s how well it hummed.
I am not your biggest country fan, but Zac Brown Band’s “Chicken Fried” came on and the place went a shade maniacal. A big part of the success was just how broad the spectrum of music they played was. From a few Tom Petty hits, of course, to “Billie Jean” to the Violent Femme’s “Blister in the Sun”to Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me” to The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” and it goes on. Part of being a sought-to-see cover band is playing familiar songs, but too often they are TOO familiar and become background instead of what T.I. performed.…which is the buzzy shit that gets people up and thrilled to move with others on a too crowded dance-floor.
Sure, you can say, it was just a Saturday night. Sure, you can think, that happens all over the place, and sure–you would be right. But it was here, and it was lit up electrification (redundancy I know), and the way skirts flounced or rose, the way men bowed and shook their heads, was not any ol’ Saturday night. Or it was and I’d just forgotten. PJs are comfortable, and watching movies or binge watching an exceptional series is a calm sweetness on its own, and I don’t advocate its erasure. But I do advocate getting the hell out there on a Saturday Night as often as you can. Life is short. Take all the music and dance that you can afford and muster.