“Probably not, since I played that wrong anyway,” Cantor replies.
(It also didn’t help because the mike wasn’t on.)
Halfway through their set at Bowery Ballroom, the men of Michigan band Tally Hall announced from the stage that the next song would be their last. People checked their watches; this seemed very odd. Concurrently, a man with a trumpet began making his way from backstage through the crowd and up to the balcony. Also odd. Three minutes later, the congenial musicians were following the trumpeter’s lead, as a recorded voice played over the sound system, gently encouraging the audience to take a seat on the floor. (And don’t think too much about how dirty it may be.) Murmurs and giggles broke out and the crowd obeyed, eagerly and earnestly. Amidst all the excitement, the band began setting up shop on the ballroom floor.
Illuminated by an array of floor lamps, four men of Tally Hall, along with special late addition and stand-in, Casey Shea, began the second half of their set tucked under the balcony on the side of the Bowery Ballroom floor. They were unamplified, whether they knew it or not (my bet is they didn’t), which required a greater focus from the audience and also allowed for every individual voice to be heard floating around the now intimate feeling space. Unexpectedly, the rock concert suddenly turned into a sing-a-long (with an occasional trumpet blasting from above). The only thing missing was the campfire.
Those of us unfortunate ones who didn’t know the songs or the words had to strain to pick up the complexity of the compositions, but the creative ambience made our efforts more than worth it. It felt as if these guys had invited hundreds of us over to sit in their living room while they played some ditties they’d been working on. Despite the technical difficulties (or perhaps thanks to them), the performance was a novel and singular experience of the band's contagious music that will not be easily forgotten or replicated.
Photo courtesy of the band's Myspace