I went to this art party. It was Boston kids, with the usual festering ganglion of Brooklyn transplants. The place was grungy, with a black-lit smoking room, stuffed to the brim with bums and floozies. The floor was strewn with half inflated, half-painted balloons stuck between anvil army boots and crumpled up business cards, forgotten, and never to be followed up on. With much effort, I craned my head above the smug and noticed the elevated corner stage, oh’ sweet reprieve, something to do besides feign appreciation for bloody collage heaps. The bands were to be expected; metal, noisy, pointless, banging on trashcans with drumsticks (the meat kind). I was about to make my sincerest exit, perhaps by jumping off the roof, when I saw the next band take the stage. There were 15 of them and they were all carrying what looked like real instruments, and sheet music? They were formally dressed, some more elaborate than others, but they were a good-looking crew with their cellos, saxophones, boas, and top hats. Needless to say, I decided to stay a moment longer to see what madness would ensue.
They set up, taking their time to properly squish their entire ensemble on the tiny corner stage. The leader of them was scrappy and dashing, the kind of rock star that is born out of a tuna can. He wore circle sunglasses and a slung guitar, weaving across the stage with an intoxication for his fretted baton. They started off with a tuning. Ah’ lovely! A tuning! I had never been so impressed. They jammed into their first piece; an instrumental funk, with a polka up-swing. The wonted diva entered next. She was a fragile blonde, off-kilter and poignant, but her voice boomed. She ornamented the music with drops of Calexico fragrance, blipping the sonar high notes on a dime. It went, cantata after symphony, getting noticeably sloppier as they downed their libations between entrances. Even in their waxing drunk, they swept the building with musical pheromones, captivating the stuffy loft of disgruntled art types. I, being one of them, loved it.
Afterwards, I approached the maestro to get the scoop. Turns out they were students from the New England Conservatory, hence the obviously borrowed NEC music stands. The frenzied frontman spoke with a pinned grin as he orated their mission to bring a new setting of classical music to the masses. It seemed, so far, they had been successful in this endeavor, judging by the audience’s clamor of hooves and heels and what I read about them later. I was impressed. I told him, with a mixture of jest and jealousy, I may be interested in auditioning for a spot. He politely informed me I must attend the school to join the band. Oh well, we trade one barrier for the other. Still, I am pleased I stayed a bit longer to witness this band, even if it meant I had to endure a few more moments in the pit of artistic despair.