A big thing happened last night. A thing big enough to justify this blog coming back from the dead. Jamie, Jim Bernard, and I trekked down to the Entry to see Girlyman play. It’s hard to explain why this is such a monumental event, but I’ll try…
Hadar is a guy that all three of us know. I think I’ve only met him once and it was a long time ago, but he’s still a guy close to my heart. He and his wife are some of the sweetest, most caring people that I’ve ever known. They commit random acts of kindness on a regular basis and judging by their wide circle of close friends, others feel the same way.
Hadar and his wife Lois are very successful people. They live in NYC, work hard and play hard. They love to see live music. They see live music more than anyone else I know. Hadar has a blog that he keeps mainly for the purpose of recording the details from all of the shows that he and Lois see. Most every time they see a show, Hadar writes a lengthy wrap of the show on his blog. Jamie, Jim and I all read Hadar’s blog. Hadar and Lois frequent many different bands, but the nexus of their relationship with live music seems to be Girlyman. They love a lot of music and a lot of musicians, but they LOVE Girlyman.
Until last night I didn’t realize that Jim is a bit of a Girlyman fan himself. After having dinner with Hadar one night long ago and hearing all about the wonder of Girlyman, he bought all of their CD’s and listened over and over. I guess Jim is like that with music. Jamie and I are armchair fans. We own a CD or two and listen from time to time, but neither one of us has ever been captivated by the band.
Last night when we hit the club I was there more for Hadar than I was for myself. The night felt really big. Finally it was time to see this band that Hadar writes so much about, this band that Hadar and Lois have seen 21 times in 3.5 years, this band that Hadar and Lois have backed financially when they’ve been in a tight spot, this band that even though Hadar and Lois see so much live music, is still their favorite band. Yes, it was a big night. I think Jamie and Jim felt sort of the same. Being able to see the band with other faithful readers of Hadar’s blog also made the night seem more special.
The other big part of the night was being able to blog about it the next day the way that Hadar always does. Jamie, Jim and I were all really excited about this part of the experience as well. It’s like everything coming full circle.
I felt odd at the show. Both like a spectator, watching diehard fans belt out every song, and like an insider, having read so much about them and knowing Hadar.
The show opened with “See to See” which is off their new album and it was one of my favorites of the night. Ty (Tylan) sings lead vocal on this song and I really liked her voice. She’s an alto and I’m partial to altos. I found myself digging the songs best when she sang lead vocal. For the record, Ty is the woman in the middle, Doris the woman on the left and Nate the guy on the right. Their drummer J.J. is back behind Doris, but from the photo it’s hard to tell. She was set back pretty far from the others due to the configuration of the stage.
The second song of the night “Joyful Sign” was too bouncy and poppy for my taste. ”Easy Bake Ovens” came next, which is one of Jim’s favorites.
After these first songs, Doris told a story about her recent struggle with Leukemia and how she suffered from depression afterward. It was a very honest and raw story and while she shared it was obvious that the whole band had been a real and integral part of her struggle. It struck me that they were very cohesive, very together, very much like a family, very different in this respect from any other band I’ve seen. Today I spent some time reading about the band and discovered that the 3 original members of the band were roommates for 8 years in a 900 foot apt. in Brooklyn and two of the members have been friends since 2nd grade; guess that’s where all of the cohesion comes from.
I enjoyed the rest of the show, especially the encore which was an awesome rendition of the BeeGees “Staying Alive”, but I enjoyed most getting a first hand take on Girlyman. After reading about them for so long, it was gratifying to see them in person. Nate has a great stage presence, he’s definitely the one leading the charge with the quips and stories, but they all blend and fit so well together that it’s more like getting a glimpse at a private conversation than it is the typical stage banter. Ty struck me as the most reserved of the group, but also the most surprising. When she smiled her whole face changed and she really lit up. I loved Doris’ dress (like I wanted one for my own) and admired her for being so vulnerable on stage talking about her cancer and depression.
Girlyman isn’t quite my aesthetic in the land of music, but they’re close and I can see why Hadar loves them so much and why they have such a devoted fan base. Seeing them live was magical in this weird amalgamation of so many words read, so much admiration and love for Hadar and Lois, and then finally getting the concrete evidence of seeing their favorite band live. I think because I’ve only ever seen Hadar and Lois once, it was a way to get to see them through their love of music. I don’t know exactly, but it was a great night.
When Girlyman return to town, I’ll be at the next show. They are growing on me. Jamie and I listened to their music this afternoon and I’ll listen to more of it again soon. In true Hadar fashion we stole away with the set list and had it signed by the band members. This is a classic part of most of Hadar’s posts. He almost always has a picture of the setlist. We also grabbed a picture with the band.
Hadar we saw Girlyman last night! Thanks for turning us on to a great band and for sharing your love of music with us all!!!
*One explanation given by the band as to their name. It’s a commonly asked question and one that I’ll admit to having asked in my head whenever I thought of their name.