There have been many musical adventures to report in the past week or so. Blame it all on our lovely new friends Barmaljova, who are incredible at seeking out live music. We finally met legendary American-fiddler-gone-native Dumneazu. We’ve met an Argentinian Jewish hurdy-gurdy player who lives in Budapest but only plays Brazillian music. Thursday we went to hear the Ukranian gypsy Tecso band, and ran into Matt Dariau (who I’d never actually met before but have been to hear play a million times in NYC.)
But alas, not all musical adventures are positive. Last night we went to see a jazz band.** Now, I love a nice, active drummer. I love drummer toys like llama toes (llama toes!) But last night’s drummer, well… it wasn’t just that he had a lot of geegaws: chimes, rattles, woodblocks, bells, a triangle, an ocarina—no snare drum, mind you—a metal water jug, and, of course, llama toes (llama toes!) That wasn’t exactly the problem. He was just so busy picking up geegaws and putting them down that he couldn’t be bothered to listen to anyone else. If I was playing with him, I would have been furious:
IMAGINARY BANDMATE: Say man, I don’t want to be a drag, but you gotta lay out a bit, brother. I’m over here trying to solo on “The Days of Wine and Roses,” and every time I look up you doing some other type of ridiculous shit. You got sticks, brushes, a piece of rebar, you got some piece of metal tied to a pipe, you got a turkey call, you got a dreidel spinning on the snare, you hitting the wall with a whip, you chewing a bunch of sugar cubes with your mouth open, you got a can of peanut brittle that shoots a snake out of it. Then you gonna act like the snake surprised you. You know you did that on purpose!
My lady just left me. I mean, I loved that woman, and I’m trying to capture a moment, and you’re over there hitting the cymbals with a Styrofoam pool noodle. You’re dragging a chain over the cymbals, like the jazz is in hell trying to escape! I’m trying to play my heart out, and you over there hitting a watermelon with an icepick. That’s some Gallagher shit! You like Gallagher in prison, killing his old comedy partner in the shower! Damn.
Are you trying to make fun of me? I don’t get it. My lady walks out, I’m trying to express my sorrow, man, I’m trying to communicate it. I’m trying to do something sparse, like Miles, you over there tapping a cheeto with a thimble. And don’t try to help me out by running outside the club, calling your friend’s cellphone in the front row, shouting “bap bap bap bippity BAP!” crinkling some cellophane to make it sound like a long distance call, that’s not helping express the distance between me and my lady.
And I don’t care how good you think it sounds, you don’t bring a washing machine on stage, throw some rubik’s cubes in them and let them bounce around. It don’t matter if they’re solved when you pull them out. That’s not the point, man, that’s not the point. I’m over here trying to paint a picture in sound, the audience wondering about the state of a bunch of wet Rubik’s cubes. I try to block it out, and just go back to the changes, then I look up and you ain’t even playing the drums, you just silently juggling! It’s distracting, man!
You don’t need to use a turkey call on Autumn Leaves. You over there using the turkey call, I look up and we got seventeen wild turkeys in the club! They knocking over drinks, flying all over the place, and instead of trying to rectify the situation you grab one and start making it peck on the snare! How you gonna destroy your own snare with a wild turkey? It ain’t practical! You sold all your ADD medication to buy that snare! You ain’t got no more, that much is obvious. How you going to finance another snare? Don’t hold up those llama toes, man, that ain’t no kinda answer.
Anyway, the night wasn’t all for naught, as Rick got his first glimpse of a tanchaz, a type of crazy folkdancing party where Hungarian hipsters, dancers and party animals drink and smoke and perform complicated folk dances:
Sing-along outside Tanchaz at Reviczky in Budapest
This is actual video of what we saw at the tanchaz Friday. High tech!
P.S. Hooray America!
**(Our friends in Barmaljova and their visiting bandmate, great musicians all, did NOT second my emotion about this drummer, and they probably know better than me. So comedy aside, there is controversy on this point.)
6 months ago