I was in the middle of something. It was a story. I am still in the middle of it, I think, but I was compelled to write of something else.
Tonight I went to see a rock show. It was Kaitlyn, myself, and a gaggle of her friends. I had seen all the bands that were playing previously, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed all three sets, for different reasons. However, I was not compelled to write because of the bands. I was not compelled to write because of the awesome dinner I had earlier in the evening. I was not compelled, to write about my five year old son, holding on to me in a dark kitchen, crying.
His grief was genuine. I cannot be sure what prompted it, but he told me of his sense of loss, and how he has felt abandoned these past three years, and how badly it hurt. He “missed something”. It broke my fucking heart all over again. None of that made me feel like I had to get home, open a new entry, and just say something about how I felt.
We went to see Moose Moose, Kaitlyn and I. We are friends of the band (well, her really), and it seemed like a fantastic way to top off an already enjoyable evening.
The trio consists of Phillip Belcastro (drums, vocals, guitar), Derek Smith (guitar, bass, vocals), and Joe James (guitar, bass, drums, vocals, kazoo?). All members rotate during a set, and at any given moment you could have any of them playing, singing, and/or banging away on the kit. Tonight the set started with Joe James on the drums, Derek Smith on the bass, and Phillip Belcastro on the guitar. It must be said that all three play their respective instruments very well, whichever it happens to be at the time, and they are all competent vocalists, and backup vocalists as needed.
Now, with that out of the way, I give the reason why I write at 5am.
The moment I heard the slam of percussion, I knew something was different.
I actually moved across the bar and settled myself amidst a cluster of amplifiers and cymbals just to get a better view of the drum kit. Joe James didn’t just play the drums, he destroyed them. This is no slight on Phil, his drumming is very skillfully done. There is simply just another element that I do not think can be reproduced simply with ability alone. Every crash and snap echoed with something that felt like pure happiness, and somehow at the same time, screaming, ripping pain. Fu-u-u-uuuuu-u-u-u-ccc-c-c-c-c-cc-cc-cc-ccc-k-k-k-kkkk!!!!…!!…!!!!!…!!!!!!!!
Just like that. A long, angry staccato swear that makes you high because it gets it out.
His whole body twisted and contorted around the kit, furiously keeping pace at the loudest possible decibel level his blurred hands could coax forth. At one point, I looked over at a spectator seated by the side of the stage, who saw me gesture towards James. He nodded and gave an expression of what appeared to be mild surprise. A percussionist who is able to convey that much feeling is not something I have come across very often, and likely not many others.
He did switch to guitar in due time, and provided lead vocals for several songs. His vocals were reminiscent of his drumming simply for the fact that they were filled with those same things I described earlier. When his mouth opened to sing, or scream, or growl, it didn’t feel like an ‘effect’. It was loaded with a tangle of emotions, primarily pain, and it spoke in much the same way the angry thuds and cracks did earlier. It felt like before to me, sitting in that dark kitchen.
Every time those sticks made a cymbal crash, or a snare snap. Every time that foot slammed that pedal into that bass drum. Every time that voice growled a phrase, and chewed those words to bits and pieces. Every time, I felt something scream inside me right along. I felt my heart break like it did just a few hours earlier. I felt my sons little hands clutching on to my shoulders, grief-stricken, confused, and just so, so, so, so, fucking, angry, angry, angry. The music gave it form, and release. It just couldn’t answer that one word question that little voice kept asking. Why, why, why?
I didn’t ask for this. So I don’t know why. I don’t know if Joe does either, but I heard him asking, over, and over and over. And it sounded fucking glorious.
Perhaps by their standards, the performance was not as well done as they would have liked. I say this only because they, like the others playing before them, ran into a few technical issues. However, the show was nothing short of memorable for me, and that had nothing to do with equipment.
Well done Moose Moose (Meese?).
And a special kudos to Joe James. Who, in my opinion, is a vomit-induced asphixiation away from Bonham.
So until a desperate Jimmy Page auditions a Moose Moose vocalist,
Live it, Love it,