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The Ying and the Yang, or the Worst Band Ever

In this life, there’s always a ying for every yang, and especially in New York, a city of extreme dichotomy, this is apparent.

Per my previous post, Diesel and I finished up the night listening to live music in one of the LES’s tiny venues, the Rockwood Music Hall. When we walked in, a trio of guitarists was finishing up their set, and the little that we heard was good enough to make us stay and check out the next act.

A petite brunette with a pixie haircut and a vintage 70’s glam dress dotted by a bejeweled collar climbed up on the stage and introduced herself as Julia Darling. Sometimes it’s hard to get into the music of an unknown artist whose songs you’ve never heard. This singer-songwriter, however, dazzled us with acoustic renditions of heartfelt lyrics and catchy choruses, all delivered by an always in tune voice and genuine emotion. The audience loved her, and clap, clap, clap we went.

But alas, Julia’s performance came to an end, and soon, the stage was taken over by a 7-member band. They had a piano, two saxophones, your usual guitar and bass, and… melodicas. For those of you who have never seen a melodica, it’s basically one of these instruments that ends up in the hands of those whose dreams of rock stardom are greater than their ability to play an actual instrument. It’s like that musically-challenged kid who gets stuck with the cymbals in junior high just so he can participate in the class band.


During the sound check, the portentous sound of not one, but THREE melodicas aroused in me a distinct feeling that this was not going to be pretty. And then, the next omen: one by one, the band members starting pulling out cheat sheets with lyrics to their songs. Not good. And as if this wasn’t enough, I noticed the only girl in the band: Thick, wig-like hair with an equally thick broom of bangs, she wore a sweater that had the picture of a house stitched in muticolor threads, complete with free-moving crocheted window shutters add-ons that flapped as she fiddled with her melodica; all of which came together in a wide, self-ripped collar, à la (but not nearly as cool as) Jennifer Beals in Flashdance. Uh-oh.

Then, it started. A slow, but stabbingly painful cacophony of instruments, vaguely, I mean VAGUELY, reminiscent of long David Matthews Band instrumental intros; only bad, like REALLY, REALLY BAD. Compounding the mess the that was this sorry act, weird lyrics that didn’t make any sense whatsoever were blurted out without any attempt to be in tune. “I’ve thought of everything from A to Z,”–in this particular song, the girl forgot the lyrics, but I guess that’s understandable, given the fact that the song made no sense at all, which made memorizing the words something like learning a phrase in an unknown foreign language– “everybody goes out, but I’m a fool,” and worse, rhyming “I’ll be your bed” with “You are dead” in a bizarre song about a person who is long gone and buried under the ground. But what killed me was watching half of the band theatrically close their eyes, dissimulating emotion, in a reverie that only blinded them to the audience’s suffering and made them deaf to their own lack of talent.

I had had enough! Turning to Diesel, I said in Portuguese: “Não é bom,” (It’s not good). What I really meant to say was that it was horrible, but I haven’t taught him how to say “horrible” in Portuguese yet. Still, he understood and nodded with a “sim” (yes). Diesel, who was reluctant to leave after the first bad song out of “respect” for the band, had no qualms about running out of there after the torture of three full songs. And run out of there we did, literally.

Let’s focus on the ying here; check out Julia D. in action singing one of the songs she performed last night, “Photographs”:


One Response

  1. They were SO SO bad. Julie was amazing. I would take the subway 23 stops to see her again…

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