~ Sunday, April 06, 2008 ~
I've Found a New Band Crush
and its name is Baby Soda.
First of all, the name. Baby. Soda. Were they begotten of preexisting soda-related bands? Is there a band out there called Papa Pop? Did he mate with Ms. Fizz? On their myspace they say they sound like Prohibition, a tent revival, pots and pans, and Felix T. Cat's orchestra, and it's true, all of it.
Secondly, the people. Two of them I recognize from separate ensembles. One is the souped-up-washboard/drum-kit player who plays with Stephane Wrembel at Barbes, and wears thimbles on his fingers and is the highlight of every show I've seen him play. I spurn the lead guitarist guy and gaze at him all night. The other is the earth bow bass player from River Alexander & His Mad Jazz Hatters, who would be the show-stealer of that band if it weren't for how much I also like watching River on his guitarmonica and the fiddler on his fiddle. Both the bassist and the percussionist are great, is my point.
Thirdly, my mode of discovery. The name was tossed about at Frim Fram and similar events I've attended, and once you become aware of a new word or a new concept or a new band, you suddenly start recognizing it when people talk about it and it seems like everyone else discovered it at the same time you did, which is what happened in this case, and so I wondered, who are these people whom everyone is suddenly talking about? But I didn't go dance at their shows those weekends. I was too busy or too lazy or too tired or too stupid or something. Then I saw a video of them depicting some people I know dancing to them while they busked in Union Square's subway station. There were the Zig Zag Mini ad campaign posters behind them and there were the dancers I see at fram and there were the guys playing, and they were great, and they had an accordion, and they sang, but really most importantly, they were busking, and anyone who is that good and still goes out and busks has my affection. It's a public service, really. Besides, and more importantly, there's something totally romantic about busking, something like being a wandering minstrel, which everyone should really admit is the most romantic lifestyle anyone could pick, and one I'm sure I'll be living in my next life, if I haven't already lived it in a past one, and maybe regardless of whether or not I have already. So anyway, I saw them on YouTube busking, and then I forgot about them, but today I was on my way uptown, and I usually transfer from the R to the 4/5 at Atlantic/Pacific when I have to go to Grand Central on Sundays, because it reduces the number of transfers, because transfers and MTA and Sundays and being in bit of a hurry do not mix, but as it happened, I got off the R at Atlantic/Pacific and there was the N waiting right across the platform, so I figured what the heck, I'll transfer to the 4/5/6 at Union Square; it'll be at least as fast if not faster to go over the Manhattan Bridge on the N, provided we don't stall over the water, as we sometimes do. So I took the N, and I got out at Union Square, and the doors slid open, and suddenly there was this GREAT music, taking me right back to the Sacramento Dixieland Festival my parents used to take us to hear, only more down and gritty. I couldn't believe my luck, or the absurdity of my being on a schedule and needing to go and not being free to stay and listen. I climbed the stairs and got a good look at them--earth bow bass, no way, I thought that only existed in River Alexander's band (and come to think of it the bassist looks a little familiar), and banjo, and trumpet, and a bunch of other instruments I don't remember (I was in a hurry) and who ARE these people, they're great! Usually the already-established musicians hang vinyl-esque posters behind them proclaiming their names so that we can all hurry home and google them afterward, but there was no name here. Dangit. I kept walking past them to get to the uptown 4/5/6 platform. I went about 100 feet when I actually stopped dead in my tracks and thought to myself, this is ridiculous. You're letting this amazing band you clearly love go out of your life forever. This is New York! When do you suppose you're ever going to see them again? Chance like this doesn't happen twice, you idiot! Keep walking past them now and mourn their loss for the rest of your days!!
Well, I'm getting shockingly regret-averse in my --- age, so I went back and looked harder for a name or something. There was nothing except for the CDs they were selling. Brown lunch bags folded over with a single staple, with a CD inside. Cute. I walked up to them and knelt down in front of their stage area (feeling strangely worshipful, like being at an altar or something) to drop my $10 in and pick up a CD-in-a-bag, and dashed back to the 4/5/6 platform, and as I walked I examined the bag.
It took me a minute to find, but there it was, stamped faintly on the brown paper: "email@example.com" I laughed. I guess sometimes coincidences do happen, even here. Now I know why everyone else was talking about them, anyway. And now I am listening to a great CD that claims it Cures Everything But the Blues, and I can't say for sure, but I think it might even cure them.
Oh yeah, and they are playing in four days at Barbes. Man I love this place.
~ prattled by Miriam at 11:29 p.m. [+]
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