It started summer of '13 when I was working as a lazy supervisor at a Sheraton hotel bar in Harvard Square. When I say hotel bar, it is absolutely correct to assume quiet and empty place for locals to drown their loneliness in 15 different kinds of whiskey. On this particular summer night, I was slumped at the end of the bar chatting away with the bartender and a regular customer, all of the while hawk-eyeing the clock for closing time. In my boredom, I had invited my rather unsocial and young mom to come by and have a drink, which with her Japanese genes, means I'd be driving her home at the end of the night. By the time she showed, I was already running around closing up an hour and a half prematurely, so in my new found task killing mode, I looked at my mom, back at the empty bar with our quiet regular, and demanded he entertain her in my absence.
This convenient coupling landed me at a brilliant show nearly a year later here in New York City. My mother doesn't tend to take well with people, with her quiet awkward attitude, but she found herself a friend in my bar, and this past weekend they carpooled down to NYC to see their replanted Boston-bred children. My mom's new partner has a son named Nick Bush, who happens to be the frontman of Brooklyn garage band Telephone Company
. In a throwing together like-minded characters, my mother and I tagged along last night to see his show at Pianos with fellow bandmates Myles Heffernan and Patrick Estabrook.
Now let's just address the fact that all day New York City had taken the crossing of Easter and 4/20 and created a confusing haze of munchies driven Peeps consumption and bunny-costumed children. Emerging from that confusing mess of holidays and into the normalcy of a Sunday Lower East Side bar was like exiting Disneyland into the relief of the real world. After a few margaritas we made our way into the small back room of Pianos; it felt like a musical treasure hunt, exploring the deepest caves of New York City for fresh tunes.
From our previous encounters that weekend, I had gotten to know Nick as an incredibly amiable, but mild mannered guy. His stage presence though was a whole other story, filled with personality and charisma, Nick was a captivating shadow bathed in psychedelic flickers. In addition to a great set, Telephone Company employed some strange visuals that altered according to the music, which harkened back to my childhood when using the iTunes visualizer was the most exciting part of a new Mac. The best feature of seeing the band perform live though, was their ability to absolutely nail the builds. Quiet taps of the snare and gentle guitar riffs would blast into perfect punchy explosions, which when watching live you can't help but be physically involved as you feel the vibrations aggressively enter your ears. A highlight was when they busted out a nearly tear jerking cover of David Bowie's "5 Years". Their own songs were performed with equal power, as they teared through tunes from their recent EP Better Nutrients of Tomorrow
. As the catchy verse and angsty riffs rolled in, I assumed ignorance and thought it was just a Nirvana cover, but when I asked Nicks girlfriend, I realized it wasn't Nirvana, it was just a really good song. The recorded version doesn't even begin to do the live version justice, but catchy nevertheless.
A little more than halfway through the set, drummer Patrick threw out a faint apology as he had to take his shirt off. He didn't just take it off though, he threw it into the audience with showy extravagance, it was received with more than a few laughs and one joker claiming "a souvenir". The band finished up their set with a "Question Mark"...perhaps the first group to literally punctuate their sets. The marching beat's build in "Question Mark" is the perfect example of their spotless growth. As they climbed off stage to resounding applause, I could see Nick's Dad light up with pride. It was an endearing family moment to witness, and despite my guilt at spending a churchless Easter, I at least found some bomb music and made some new friends. It's the important things right?