This never happens anymore, on account of I’m extremely old. For a while I tried hard to find new music I enjoy just for the sake of not seeming so old, and to some extent, it worked. But Spotify is my primary means of music consumption these days, its auto-generated radio feature seems to just shuffle among like five bands, and I find myself listening to the same stuff over and over again. In the rare instance Spotify presents me a song I like that I’m unfamiliar with, it is far more likely to be an Otis Redding deep cut than some new cool band I might check out when venues re-open.
But YouTube did me a hell of a solid today. I’ve been toying with the idea of buying an electric mouthpiece pickup for my trumpet so I can run it through guitar effects and make up for the fact that I suck at it. So I went looking for people playing electrified horns, and I came upon these dudes:
This Car Alarm song… it’s kind of a jam! And I like that these guys, though obviously trained and talented musicians, clearly do not take themselves seriously.
So I did some digging and learned that Too Many Zooz blew up online when a clip of them busking in Union Square went viral in part because of the sax player’s sax gesticulations, which are enviable.
This made me think about subway-station buskers and how I miss them.
Not too long before the shutdown, I watched a beautiful scene unfold at the 86th St. stop on the Q Train. There was a delay for some reason, but this young guy who called himself Eyeglasses (and turns out to be a medical student and mega-achiever) was absolutely wailing on the electric cello. He had a loop station set up and was building incredible, multi-part covers of pop songs. Also waiting on the platform was a group of high-school kids on a field trip, and they apparently knew all the words to all the songs he covered, and they sang and shouted and danced along.
It’s an amazing thing when a subway performance turns magical like that, because even the most transit-hardened New Yorker lets his guard down for it. Only the high schoolers were dancing, but everyone on the crowded platform was watching or smiling or tapping their feet, and the dude’s cello case was overflowing with dollars.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I can’t wait to ride the subway again someday.
Here are these dudes again: