The bass was drowning out the highs, the saxophonist’s mic didn’t work, and for a minute the acoustic-electric guitar was silent till the sound man straightened that out and the performerman in a getup he said made him look like the hypothetical offspring of Johnny Cash and Elton John played his song. The outfit, he said, clarifying, not his skin color. People took pictures of themselves and hashtagging filled air that ten years ago would’ve been filled with smoke from the cement floor to the old tin tiled ceiling.
A man in a one-unbuttoned-button-too-many white oxford tucked into dad jeans leaned on the bar and bellowed something about shots of Jägermeister to the small flock of overdressed and over-dolled women around him while a bartender that looked like Outshined Chris Cornell from 1991 hurried around picking up empty glasses from the wooden ledge on wall across from the bar and everyone stood because there were no chairs and they held their non-empty glasses because there were no tables.
One jolly dim brute in a BEARS t-shirt found a black water pipe running up the centennial brick wall beside him and instinctively grasped it, seemingly shaking it with the rhythm he couldn’t keep. We’re all such monkeys, I said, thoroughly enjoying myself, and this dumbfuck is blocking the sight line for my picture #move. I suppose I could’ve moved but movement is the kind of thing I tend to keep to a minimum when I’m out somewhere in the wild trying to watch.
The neon lights in the front window were covered with thin curtains that made it seem like daylight outside at half-past midnight and the show still had a good ways to go before we spilled out timeless into the sultry summer night filled with more than enough artificial light to significantly disrupt our circadians and into that once the show was over we carried with us from the preceding four hours enough sights and sounds and smells and feels to be several shuffling sidewalk steps more than just ok with it all.