GOOD EVENING, & GOOD LUCK // Listen closely.
Someone in some movie once said, “Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.” And a German philosopher was again perverted in his words. Weston Rose might nod, thinking sadly of Heidegger’s legacy. Alyssa Martinez would smile impishly and then do a gypsy jig in a circle, maybe quote Nietzsche. The point being: who cares who said what when there’s good music?
Rose and Martinez are the heart and soul behind the Chicago music group Good Evening, gracing New York City Friday, August 6th, at Rockwood Music Hall. I won’t say which is which, who is who: heart, Martinez, soul, Rose.
Chicago is a city that seems concrete, wedged more or less in the center of the sprawling United States. And so many nicknames: Chi-town, The Windy City, Second City, The Chocolate Bridge (actuallly the last one I made up, and I’m curious to know what others might think this refers to).
Second City is significant in that it seems to denote an overlooked footnote to the supposed first city: New York. But Chicago is far more than a footnote. The natives, or adopted natives, know this and quietly celebrate its culture, history, and urban punch without the aggressive bravado or entitled cynicism characteristic of New Yorkers.
Good Evening then takes Manhattan and the outer boroughs. So 2010, Martinez sighs. So “wquite [sic],” Rose improvises.
I had the pleasure to engage with these musical magicians through what can only be described as the music journalism model for the 21st-century, born of love and determination, not unlike the music Good Evening gifts us with. Weston Rose and Alyssa Martinez are, for the most part (full interview forthcoming), two sincere musicians—they formed out of a shared love of creating music. When they’re not making music, or before they were making music, their interests involved linguistics, dancing, post-art school traumatic stress disorder, and a dash of indifference to the rules of law school.
The last paragraph seems so cliché as to deserve an editorial cut. Too bad it’s the truth. Insofar as an effort to pin down musical inspiration wars with the musician’s urge to jettison the cerebral, the logical delineated by words and numbers. I know this is the part where I might type: I sat down with them… cafe… rumpled shirt… batted their eyelashes and ordered an espresso, dark circles under their eyes from a late night rehearsal. Rather unglamorously, Good Evening and TNI had various multimedia explosions on the world wide webernet in the days of May, often past midnight—Skype conversations that included chat overlap, confoundment based on the lack of inflection or facial expression, file sharing (songs, pictures), and a reigning lack of coherence collectively, perhaps the most honest articulation of a musical group’s promise.
Good Evening’s exuberant, almost slap-shod ascent is reflected in their music and collaborative spirit. Martinez and Rose sound out their music through hedging desires to: tap your feet, mesh Ella with a bit of Sinatra, sit and stare at a wall while thinking about how a song makes you want to jump up and live a little, car dance, be social, share. Now, tell me you haven’t felt this way before?
I’ve only ever passed through Chicago on a Greyhound. Didn’t say good evening, didn’t even know where I was. (I was five, OK?) It was the middle of the night and all I could see was the city illuminated by a Minute Maid machine. I then feel it’s okay to romanticize her; it’s okay to romanticize all that you are not, to a point. Romantic is then the top of my Top Five words to describe this music.
Good Evening are Romantics. Even their name suggests a local sincerity, yet the collaborative communion brought to the city they sing good evening to is unpredictable. Unpredictable as that person in the audience listening with a cocked ear, stubbornly starting to sway.
With the release of their album In Public, Good Evening is posed to give a contrary wink to the text overload necessary in promoting musical acts. I sometimes have the suspicion that music journalism comes from the twin impulses to criticize with celebratory writing whilst eschewing absolute silence in the background for a constant stream of melody. I am not a rock journalist, I am a music enthusiast. All hail amateurs!
After all, talking about music might just be like dancing about architecture. It’s sometimes unnecessary (unless you’re Greil Marcus, Noemie LaFrance, or Lester Bangs) but if you’re in New York listen in on Good Evening’s shows. We all just want to shut the laptop sometimes and sway mindlessly to inspired sound.
Good Evening can be found at their home site here, and also on MySpace and Facebook.