In San Antonio right now watching the biggest collective sadface in quite a long time. Wow, Memphis.
The Rebirth Tuesday-night gigs have been colossal draws for years, crowded, sweaty, throbbing, disorganized affairs packed with Tulane students, downtown hipsters, stiff-collar types, and soul brothers.
It is so energetic, so in the groove, so diverse, and so perfect that it almost looks contrived, like if a director wanted to create the quintessential bar scene for a movie, this is what he would make.
But Hollywood could never make this. Not on a Tuesday night. And not in any other town.
It’s organic. Sexy. Maybe even mildly dangerous—all that sweat. In the ultimate act of self-absorption, I’m going to quote myself, from a tourist guidebook I wrote several years ago, trying to capture a moment at one of these shows: “Loud. Fast. Free-falling. Funky. You’ve got 10 new friends. The girl in your arms—what’s her name? Who cares? Dance. If you saw yourself in a mirror at this instant, you wouldn’t recognize yourself. And that can be a good thing.”
I couldn’t say it any better myself. And this past Tuesday night, that’s what it was. Good medicine. As I knew it would be.
“Bounce” is the name of another kind of New Orleans music, our unique and commercially successful ghetto rap scene, but it should be the name for brass-band music, too. Because that’s what you end up doing. Bouncing.
It’s impossible not to. If you can’t dance to this, you are on life support or maybe already dead.
If I don’t feel better after doing this, I told myself on the way to the Maple Leaf, then I am irretrievable.
But I did. In the thick of a too-hot crowd full of strangers and old friends, watching ten, eleven, maybe a dozen guys packed on a too-small stage under bare lightbulbs and a pressed-tin ceiling, feeling the release of the fist-thrusting call-and-response, staring into a wall of horns whose music is so muscular that it almost takes on a physical manifestation and reaches out and beats you about the head and grabs your collar and screams in your face, “You are ALIVE, boy! Do you understand?” And I do. I am home again.” —Chris Rose, 1 Dead in Attic (via beatpoetess)