Friday, April 23, 2010

A Little Night Music

I had a friend in town last weekend, so of course the voice in my head telling me I really ought to update my blog (the voice has an English accent, kind of like the one that seems to be used for all GPS systems) became softer and softer until it was more like a British ant squeaking unintelligible gibberish at me from a far-away corner on my dirty kitchen floor (thus further muffled by dust bunnies).

So, long story short, here I am sitting at my computer, guilt-ridden and eager to make it up to anyone who noticed my week-long lapse.

My friend Tyler and I spent the weekend drinking cheap red wine out of champagne flutes (recently broke my wine glasses… all two of them…sad, but true story) and preparing for his big-kid job interview on Monday. We’re hoping he lands a gig in finance up here and we can be roomies and have entirely too much fun living together. It will be probably the most beautiful train wreck ever seen.

Looking forward to it, Tyler!

One thing I noticed this weekend between suit fittings and hipster parties in BK was the awesome and eclectic music scene up here. It’s not something I really think about a lot (I’m tone deaf and, at best, a horrible karaoke singer so I’m not exactly equipped to be a proper music junkie) but New York really has some highly talented, highly underappreciated artists, and Tyler and I stumbled upon several over the course of one of the evenings he was in town, some purposefully and some randomly, but all were noteworthy in their own quirky ways.

Take the “saw lady” we discovered in Union Square subway station. There are actually a lot of musicians down there, including a pretty impressive tap group, but I’ll focus on the one with the sharp instrument (couldn't resist) for obvious reasons. She was pretty amazing and after looking her up I discovered she has a blog where she writes about what it's like to be a busker in NYC.

We were heading from the subway to a party in Brooklyn, and then after that to the Lower East Side to see a band my friend is in, The Eliki and Lalo Project, play at Nuyorican. I found this youtube video of them at rehearsal, not sure if they're rehearsing for the gig that they played that Saturday, but they're singing a song they sang that night and sound just as awesome (even if the camera work is a little off...) She has a really throaty, Amy Winehouse/Sara Bareilles-ey voice I could listen to all night long, and Lalo's guitar accompaniment was perfect for her sound.

After their set, Lalo, a friend of mine from my first job in NYC (a waitressing gig at a Mexican restaurant) came out with us to a nearby bar.... my memory's a little fuzzy as to exactly which one, but, other than that, I remember this next part of the evening perfectly.

A street band I later found out that calls itself The Stumblebums crashed the bar unscheduled, unannounced, and, out of nowhere, commenced playing their horns and belting out lyrics at the top of their lungs. The bartendress and patrons looked confused at first, but soon everyone was caught up in the energy of it and started yelling right along to lyrics they never knew they knew. Here's a video of them singing the song they graced us with that evening.

They only played two songs, and when they were through the crowd chanted "One more song! One more song!"

"Can't," explained the frontman. "Gotta go to the next bar."

And a part of me wanted to follow.

So, all in all, it was an evening of very varied, very original musical talent. And, next weekend I get to go see Ill Pastel, another friend's band, play a show at Connolly's Klub 45 from 9-midnight. Anyone in the area who can make it should definitely come out!

***I'm dedicating this post to my brother, a student and busker down in New Orleans where he plays for tips in the French Quarter. Though he may now change his tune (again, couldn't help it...) he once told me he wasn't interested in the NYC music scene. Too commercial. Well, Haydon, I think the Saw Lady might see things differently. And you should probably listen to what she has to say. I mean, she does carry around a saw...


  1. I love your writing style - it really flows.
    Thanks for the introduction to the 'Saw Lady' - wow. Did you see the link on her page to the annual musical saw festival in NYC? That sounds wild. There's a video there from last year's festival when they had 53 people play the saw together and they got into the Guinness book of records. The festival is July 17th - if you go please tell us about it!

  2. I love all of the different venues in NYC too! With a great band and an awesome concert hall, everyone is bound to have an amazing time! I love your posts Leigh!

  3. Thanks, Michelle! That festival sounds like a blast! I'll definitely have to make it out. So grateful for the heads up!

    Kaci-- as always, thanks so much for the encouragement! Love you and let's hang out soon. Looking forward to dragging you to see Ill Pastel! :)

  4. best weekend ever! be back soon!!!

  5. Haydon can't leave NO yet - Joe will be in BR next year and your mom needs an excuse to drop in on him when she drives down to see Haydon - LOL!