Sunday, March 2, 2014

you might like to hear my organ

A few months ago, Sly joined the Marketing Department at work. Sly is the web master and spends his day... oh, I don't know... web mastering, I suppose. Whenever I walk by his open office door, I catch a glimpse of his shaggy, salt-and-pepper hair bobbing over the top of the two monitors that span his small desk, his brow furrowed in deep concentration and his fingers flying frantically across his keyboard. I can only assume that he is busy. Heck, we're all busy.

But Sly, like Bruce Wayne, has another life.

Last night, I met a couple of co-workers at the mysteriously named Kung Fu Necktie, a bar-cum-concert venue in Philadelphia's renaissance Fishtown neighborhood, to witness Sly's "other" life. Kung Fu Necktie was presenting a three-band show — the first band being fronted by none other than our pal Sly.

"Did someone lose their key?"
As the clock ticked towards nine, the tiny performance area, just a few cramped feet from the bar and pool table, began to fill with beer-toting audience members. Sly and his band mates entered from the bar, cut through the mingling patrons and easily climbed up onto the darkened stage. The guitarist and bassist each checked their respective amplifiers, fiddling with knobs and securing plugs. The drummer impatiently twirled his sticks and gave a few sample thumps on the kick. Sly took his place behind a massive vintage Hammond organ, his last-minute adjustments hidden from view by his instrument's considerable bulk. Suddenly, Sly grabbed his microphone and screamed out "ONETWOTHREE!," in true ass-kickin', rock-n-roll bravura. The band obliged by bursting into a raw but funky beat. Sly leaned forward and, with the same focused intensity he exhibits while tapping out HTML code on his Microsoft keyboard, took the lead by banging out a sensually playful riff on the Hammond's keys. With the sound mix at full blast, Sly's garage-y voice was just another instrument, the actual lyrics indistinguishable. The band tore through one song after another, most paying deep homage to the incomparable Booker T., with lyric-less organ-heavy leads and 60s funk-drenched bass lines. All through their set, Sly was pounding intensely on the organ. As he pummeled those keys, he kept repeatedly sucking the tip of his right ring finger, obviously trying to accelerate the healing process on a fresh contusion. He laughed and displayed his finger to the bass player, who smiled and acknowledged the wound by shaking his long, grey dreadlocks in the affirmative. At the song's conclusion, Sly apologized for a few sour  notes, citing a broken key. Then, he violently yanked the culprit from among the other eighty-eight and lobbed it into the crowd, where it disappeared into the swirling mood lighting.

Sly and his cohorts wrapped up the set and thanked the crowd above a round of approving applause. As the piped-in, between-set music swelled, the band began to break down their equipment to make room for the next group of performers. Sly and another man wrestled the organ off the stage and sequestered it to a far wall where it would be dealt with at the end of the evening. After, shaking hands and sharing hugs with a few members of the audience, Sly made his way over to me and his other co-workers. He thanked us for coming and we told him how much we enjoyed his set. 

But we secretly wondered how our minds would envision Sly at his desk on Monday morning.

* * * UPDATE * * *
 The organ has been repaired and lives to funk another day.

No comments:

Post a Comment