There's a stage set up at the south end of Union Square, a semi-permanent fixture which exists for the Summer in the Square program. Passing by on a Thursday, New Yorkers and tourists alike may witness the stage playing host to all sorts of entertainment (as if there wasn't enough already in Union Square). From yoga classes led by local studios to dance shows for kids to rockin' concerts at cocktail hour, the stage breathes a diverse life into the corner of the park usually reserved for skateboarders or protests.
I happened to be passing by last Thursday night at aforementioned cocktail hour and there was a huge crowd gathered around, a song ringing out from the stage that I knew somehow and figured to be a cover, though I couldn't quite pin it down. As I got closer, I recognized the drummer on stage, in his typical black square framed sunglasses: Jesse Kristin from the band Jukebox the Ghost.
Let me explain the reasons for my ensuing excitement:
1. It was a hot day, there were too many people in a small area, but what a pleasant surprise to unexpectedly stumble upon one of the most talented bands playing the indie circuit right now.
2. Jukebox, a band out of Philly, seems to travel around the country more than many of their contemporaries, so to find them back in New York is a treat.
3. These guys are incredible musicians and word is still not entirely out. A gig in Union Square will most definitely warrant them much deserved attention and a whole slew of new fanatics.
4. Their poppy music and playful energy (particularly Ben Thornewill on piano and vocals, whose theatricality is irresistible) brings a smile to my face every time. Simply put, they make my day.
Although I only caught the end of their hour-long set (much to my chagrin), I left no less satisfied than after jamming along with them through their longest show. Once again, they made my day.
Jukebox will be back in Brooklyn August 20th at Studio B, and again October 2nd at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Don't wait to run into them in Union Square: do yourself a favor and go see them in concert.