We all go to shows, and we all fall in love with people we meet there. We buy records, and we listen to them while we make out. This column, Musical Chairs, will be a personal diary, written by Anonymous, of love connections made and unmade, all with a little help from the writer's favorite music. We start with recollections of 2011, running this week.
Friends, Friend Crush 7” (Lucky Number)
My relationships start similar to my close friendships: with an all encompassing, completely unhealthy crush. “Jack” was no exception. We had about a million mutual friends in common (the group of people who find themselves on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg more than a handful of nights a week) and I met him briefly. He had a goofy smile, always wore shirts about six sizes too large, and though we were frequenters of the same social circle, I met him at a Friends show in February and then didn’t see him until South By Southwest.
When we did reunite, coincidentally, it was at a Friends show. It was in Austin, at a house sponsored by WNYU radio. It was a few days after the Brooklyn band dropped their Friend Crush 7″ and “Jack” purchased it for me. We started dating shortly after that, adopting the sexual intensity of the band. But as spring turned to summer, the fling ended shortly after my affair with Friends did.
Iceage, New Brigade (What’s Your Rupture?)
“Hey, Have you seen my shoe?” Those were the first words “Peter” spoke to me. Now, any rational, self-respecting woman (i.e., someone who hadn’t just consumed their body weight in whiskey) would have ignored him. But I didn’t. He was blonde (I think). The important thing was that he was in a hardcore band and he wrote poetry and I was drunk.
I spoke with him for a bit (I believe the topic was Sacred Bones Records and how much better the evening would be if either of us could remember the other’s name) and while he sat leaning against the walls of Public Assembly, I ran inside.
I’d been in love with the band Iceage since the beginning of the year, so when I caught wind of their first ever U.S. performance earlier this summer, I attended every performance I heard about in the greater New York area. But the first, as they typically are, was the best.
After their performance, they were not the final act, and after their vacant post-punk, I went outside to find “Peter”. He somehow managed to sober up a bit (or, at least, more so than I) was still sitting where I had left him, this time talking to one of his many straight-edge vegan brethren. When he saw me approaching, he quickly gave his farewell and grabbed my waist. He touched my ear in a whisper, “Hi.” He paused so I could smile and, “Do you want to do some blow?” as close to Prince Charming as I’ll ever get.
I marched with him into Public Assembly’s bathrooms. They were beyond crowded; we were beyond drunk, and somehow stumbled into the largest stall. He grabbed my waist again with his left hand, his right to retrieve the tiny baggy of white powder. He held the key and I snorted. The bathroom grew silent of human interaction. I could hear the drums of the band (The Men?) playing next door. He grabbed my waist again; I forced myself against him. He kissed my
mouth; I kissed his neck. Maybe a moment passed and our breath grew heavy. Heaven knows where my dress went. I removed his pants with my teeth. And then—-
A knock at the door. The venue was closing. We quickly dressed, I gave him my number and bolted. My friends had been waiting for quite some time. Ond one told me he was no Cinderella, and I would be wise to ignore all further interaction. He texted me cute things about punk bands and his hometown upstate. I ignored them.
I met him again the following evening at a secret Iceage gig in a Bushwick loft. The sound was awful, I managed to get belligerently drunk – again – regardless of the venue’s strict no-drugs no-booze no-fun policy, and I kissed him again. We began dating, and after a few weeks, completely ran out of things to talk about. He was smarter than I, but also lonelier. Looking back, it feels like the Danish punk quartet’s 25-minute explosion New Brigade lasted longer than “Peter” and me. I wonder if he ever found his shoe.
Cloud Nothings, “No Future/No Past” single from the upcoming album Attack on Memory (Carpark)
I met “Ben” through a mutual music nerd friend who told me about a karaoke outing with some of his other pop culture nerdy acquaintances. I tagged along.
It was mid-afternoon karaoke and the whiskey drinks, much to my pleasure/dismay were $2.50 a pop, making for one very drunk, very friendly group of music obsessives at about 4pm. It was my first time doing karaoke – ever – and just when I thought I had conquered all lingering adolescent insecurities, I could hear the voice my mother saying, “You’re lovely, dear, but you were not born to sing,” as she often did.
Then, a girlfriend turned to me and said, “Did you pick this?” as my bud and his incredibly striking friend “Ben” stood up to sing the 2002 pop-punk single, “Cute Without the E (Cut from the Team)” by love-able Long Island-based emo band Taking Back Sunday. The evening proceeded like that. Anytime a song vaguely tinged with the oh-so overused and abused Hot Topic© approved power chords, the girlfriend would turn, ask if it was my selection, and then realize it was “Ben's”.
“Ben” dressed sharply minus his unfortunately outdated Converses. He had librarian glasses that made me weak at the knees and he asked me if I wanted to sing Blink-182’s “Dammit” with him. I couldn’t help myself. When I realized I made dinner plans with a friend who’d recently returned from tour, “Ben” accompanied me in a cab (which he paid for) and we proceeded to make out for the entire ride from Midtown to Williamsburg.
When he realized how drunk I was (mainly by the fact that I kept forgetting his name) he dropped me off, kissed me goodbye, and began his long trek home to Astoria.
I ran into him a few weeks later at Shea Stadium. He was covering an event for his job and this was his first time at the venue. He was completely frightened by the seemingly isolated area of Bushwick where the DIY space is located in. I don’t remember much of the evening, but I can honestly say that was the first and last time I’ll ever make out with someone whilst listening to Ted Leo play a two-hour set.
Devon Williams, Euphoria (Slumberland Records)
We’d met earlier this year at beloved DIY space Monster Island Basement before it shutdown. Lord knows what show, but we were there a cool three or four hours after the last band performed, sitting on the couch, chatting about the future.
I told him half-heartedly that I was planning on writing the first academic text on Green Day. (I’m not entirely sure if this is fantasy or reality.) “Alex” invited me to his apartment with a simple “Do you want to make out?” The silliness and the adolescent charm of this guy was too much to handle, and, well, shit went down.
We saw each other on and off, almost always spinning one of our favorite records of the year: Devon Williams’ Euphoria. The album was almost as sweet as we were, and under the cloak of darkness, as sensual.
Not long ago, his band played to a sold out crowd at a larger Manhattan venue. My brother was visiting at the time and he kindly listed both of us. My brother, who recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan, ran off with some lovely ladies he met earlier that day, leaving “Alex” and I to our own devices: the lonely booth in the corner of Daddy’s on a weekday night.
When he came over that night, something felt off. Our boy Devon was on the turntable, and yet, the magic was gone. We’d burned out. It was over.