My wife Jessica surprised me with tickets to see Snarky Puppy (only my favorite modern instrumental jazz-fusion band) at Irving Plaza in NYC. I was thrilled! And then on top of that she told me the date was on New Years Eve!! What?! We haven’t really done anything big for New Years, at least not in a while. Only a few days prior I was just thinking to myself “gee, I wonder if we should try and find something to do for New Year’s this year. Perhaps we could attend a small party or something of that sort.” And then BAM. Snarky Puppy tickets. New York City.
Initially we had no idea what to expect. After some thought and asking around, we weren’t even sure if we would be able to make it into the city with all of the traffic. Thankfully it all worked out. We took a train down, and Grand Central Station had plenty of walking space when we arrived. Honestly one of the best parts of the trip was just strolling through the city with Jessica. Taking the train together, navigating the subways, finding a bite to eat before the show started… It’s little things, but it was so fun and exciting for the both of us. Being parent’s of a now two year old little boy, this was sure an adventure.
When we arrived to the venue after our venture through the city, the admission line stretched around the block as the show was sold out. We were a bit concerned that we might miss some of the show, but they were running behind schedule so it was all good (surprise! Guess that happens in NYC too). Since we were kind of winging it and not sure what time we were going to have to leave, we opted for no coat check. I grabbed a beer, and we headed up the stairs to the concert hall.
The opening band was interesting. Not quite my cup of tea, but I’m also pretty new to this kind of music scene. They weren’t bad, they put on a fun and engaging show and seem to be great at what they do, I am just not familiar with their style. But man, Snarky Puppy killed it! They were among the tightest bands I have ever seen. Corey Henry, their usual keyboardist, was not there unfortunately. But the keyboardist that was playing did not disappoint. One thing I absolutely love about this band is their heavy use of keyboards and synthesizers.
There was a guy in the audience holding a sign that said ‘Celebrities’ in big letters. Initially I thought this particular sign-holder just had high thoughts of the performers, referring to them as celebrities. But then I realized that they were asking for a song. Bassist and founder Michael League took notice and said something to the extent of “I got you covered tonight, man! Every time we play New York City this guy brings his sign. We haven’t played it for him yet because it’s an older one, but I promise we’ll play that tonight.” It was a pretty dang good song, too.
As I mentioned earlier, Snarky Puppy was instrumental. Trumpet player Mark Maher did sooth us with a bit of scat for a song or two though. I enjoyed watching as certain instruments periodically take the spotlight. Overall they were a really fun band to see, with musicianship skill on another level. Jess and I had to leave a little bit early to catch a train, so we unfortunately missed them playing “Lingus” into the New Year. But I don’t mind, we had a fantastic adventure! I couldn’t have asked for a better way to bring on 2017.
Other highlights include:
- The bouncer yelling at me for hanging my coat on something instead of coat checking.
- Countless girls trying to be cute making sad puppy faces and saying “pleaaaaase” to said bouncer, as if that would convince him to allow them to place their coats on the ground, or under a platform next to him.
- Bouncer continuously having to ask the same girls to pick up their coats from the floor.
- Bouncer just giving up after aforementioned females had placed their coats in the same spots on the floor approximately 7 times.