Melodious refuge

Nicole Hennessey

On “alternative music” stations across the country, tired bands such as Green Day ride frequency modulation waves, still hoping that you’ll have the time of your life.

New bands pour out of speakers sounding as though they took classic rock rifts and contorted them to fit their idea of edgy. Indie scenesters, who whine into microphones that probably wish they could reject their saliva, pluck three chords on acoustic guitars. Bands that must be punk because of their black T-shirts, torn jeans, piercings, tattoos, Mohawks and supposed disdain for the very industry they perpetuate, ramble, not too angrily, about nothing in particular.

And 15 years later, one-hit wonders cling to the 15 minutes of fame that Andy Warhol once promised everyone.

For reasons like these, I often question the state of modern music, which seems like nothing more than an endless series of sounds intended to diminish the spirit of music itself.

The soulless bands, which corporations like Clear Channel push at a public that’s become accustomed to consuming music as a novelty item rather than an art, eat away at my mind. And it seems that all any cynic can do is escape the mainstream or drown.

So, a few weeks ago, in an attempt to fight the current, I headed to the Beachland Tavern to see “The Ever-Expanding Elastic Waste Band.”

People of all ages, ethnicities, classes, and convictions compiled within the small venue. They intermingled at the bar and near the stage, where the opening band had just failed to produce a compelling vibe. Holding beers and drinks that end with the word “bomb,” their voices combined, becoming the sound of anticipation.

When “The Ever-Expanding Elastic Waste Band” finally began to play, Dana Colley’s saxophone whined, Jerome Deupree’s drums thumped through the room and Jeremy Lyons sang “I feel lucky,” while strumming his guitar. “I just feel that way,” he said.

A smile spread across the crowd’s face and its limbs began to flail as this mass of mouths mimicked the lyrics that Lyons recited.

The bar’s temperature increased as the band progressed through the set list and pores opened to accommodate perspiration.

The crowd became increasingly manic. Its strained vocal chords seemed incapable of screaming. And its previously malnourished eardrums absorbed the sound of Colley playing two saxophones simultaneously.

Music radiated from the tavern, moving away from it in each direction, until its resonance was swallowed by distance.

After the show, a dismemberment of the crowd sat on the cracked pavement, smiling. Two of his fingers formed the letter V, denoting the sentiment of peace being offered to passersby. I smiled back at him, shouting “The Ever-Expanding Elastic Waste Band!” toward the dead stars and born-again moon, letting the cool air slide over my sweaty skin. Sucking down a cigarette, I felt happy to the point of oblivion.

Nicole Hennessey is a senior news major and columnist for the Summer Kent Stater.

Contact her at [email protected].