Chris Turner and Logan Richardson (Rockwood 01.13.18)
I stood in the back, perched on the second or third step of a staircase with my scarf draped over my shoulder and a heavy sweatshirt unzipped in the warm of the bar. Holding a third glass of wine, and leaning against the railing to my left, I could see the band on stage over the audience.
Rockwood Music Hall had a sort of gothic look. Not gothic in the way European architecture can be gothic, but rather in the way that moody teenagers can be gothic. A great black drapery hung in folds from the ceiling over the band. Black slats crisscrossed the wall behind the band in a sort of diamond fishnet pattern and the entire room was bathed in blood red light.
Under the light stood a stocky man wearing a thick long-sleeved shirt underneath a pair of overalls and a heavy winter coat. He wore a knit winter cap placed delicately atop an enormous and unruly collection of frizzy curls, parted down the middle and resting on his shoulders. His eyes closed behind thick-rimmed circular glasses as he pitched his head back and sang into the rafters.
The band grooved and churned as he cried into a microphone separated from the PA by a collection of effects pedals. His ethereal falsetto floated in the balcony dragging an electronic facsimile an octave below. The bass guitar thudded out an ostinato in circles. Four notes, then four again. Then again. Space dripped from wood each time a stick struck the rim of the snare drum.
For a moment it seemed as though a sip too much of the alcohol might cause the room to waver like the silhouette of the bridge through my window in the rain, but as the thud of the bass lifted dust from the floor and the metallic rake of distorted guitar cut the air, the whole room started to glisten. The saxophone wailed into the electronic mash of voice and synthesizer and the fuzzy feeling of an alcohol buzz on a frigid night in January started to blend seamlessly into the feeling of being at Rockwood Music Hall, stage 2 in the back left on the stairs by the bar.