Last night I had my first New York live music experience since moving here two weeks ago. I had thought about staying home after working an eight hour shift at the restaurant, but hearing the sounds of Saturday night festivities outside my window eventually convinced me that it would be beyond lame to shut myself in, especially when I had the following day off. I had heard that the Upper East side’s Session 73 hosted live music, and since it was in walking distance with no cover charge, I decided it would be worth at least briefly checking out.
I wandered into the crowded bar around 12:30 a.m., where alternative rock cover band Daddy Nobux was nearing the end of their first set. I pushed my way toward the bar as the band was kicking into the Violent Femmes’ “Blister in the Sun,” and was immediately thrilled at the fact that people were actually dancing.
It felt like it had been eons since I had properly danced, despite attending a decent number of shows during my last year in LA. My hometown is notorious for being a bad audience when it comes to music, and as someone who has seen many bands throw all of their energy into a set where all the crowd does is stare in the direction of the stage, I’d have to say we totally deserve that reputation. And while dancing is one of my favorite pastimes, it always feels awkward to be the only one moving when I’m surrounded by almost statue-like still bodies, so I can’t say I haven’t foregone the desire to move because of peer pressure. But this crowd had no problem properly reacting to the music, so after grabbing a drink, I made my way to the front of the stage, and joined a group of grooving girls for the end of the band’s first, and most of their second set.
The second half of Daddy Nobux’s performance included popular rock hits spanning recent times, to a few decades back, such as Sublime’s “Santeria,” The Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done,” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.” Session’s patrons seemed to enjoy the whole set, but especially got into it during a sing-along of Oasis’ “Wonderwall.” It was fun to be able to see a band I had never heard of and know the words to what they were playing, but frankly, I would have liked to hear at least one original song. Then again, their website advertises them as a cover band, and being critical of that seems like reviewing a horror movie and complaining about too much gore. For what Daddy Nobux does, they are pretty good at it, and they seemed like cool guys as well.
Between sets, I struck up a brief conversation with their bass player, Jason, who asked where I was from. (I think the look on my face as I gleefully observed the room of intoxicated New Yorkers must have screamed, “She’s not from around here.”) When I responded, “California,” he excitedly asked what I was doing in Manhattan.
“I moved here to be a music journalist,” I said. “Really?” he replied. “I would think that L.A. was the place to be for that.” That was the second time someone has questioned my decision to uproot from La La land in the past week, but it has not made me doubt my choice one bit.
That doesn’t mean life has suddenly become a cakewalk, or that I haven’t been given reason to be pessimistic. I have only applied for a few jobs in the past week, and I continue to hear about native New Yorkers who haven’t received any callbacks about positions in the arena I hope to some day have a career in. And I have definitely encountered some rude people since my last post. (Thus far, however, it has only been from a handful of customers at work, and I think that’s more of an indication of the occupational hazards of working in the food service industry than the general demeanor of New Yorkers.)
Something about this city just makes it feel like “my city” more than Los Angeles ever was, though. Maybe that’s because I can finally be mobile enough to go out whenever I feel like it. (At home, if I didn’t make plans by 9:00 p.m., I was in for the night. Since being here, I have already met up with friends twice after making spontaneous arrangements to hang out around midnight.) Maybe it’s because I am no longer dealing with the stress of an impending foreclosure on a day-to-day basis. (Though I still worry and desperately hope for my family’s situation to improve, especially after recently learning that the sale date of our house has been moved up.) Maybe it is simply because such a dramatic life change has forced me to adjust my attitude and approach to the way I interact with people. (I always describe myself as shy, which still holds true, but I am forcing myself to strike up more random conversations nowadays.) Or maybe I don’t need a specific reason for why I am so deeply in love with New York.
Perhaps all that matters is that I am having a blast being here. Whether or not I manage to accomplish the career goals I came her to pursue, I am enjoying the moment that I am in right now, even if my plans haven’t fallen into place just yet.
As I said in my first post, I am only going to guarantee bi-weekly updates on this blog, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see anything new here this time next week. Hopefully, I will have tracked down some original music to share with all of you by then. So until next time (because New York hasn’t beaten the corny West Coast hippie out of me yet), good vibes everyone!