$10 for music discovery. An angel’s voice. A shock of purple hair. Drums clashing with guitars in instrumental battles.
I was listener for sounds from guitars that had traveled next to van radiators from both New York and Kentucky. The ice storm didn’t keep the strings from yielding notes.
I sat at the bar with two friends I met while hiking in the woods a year ago. One sat with rapture, same as me. The other had a crinkled brow. Maybe not his favorite lineup.
I was perched on a bar stool, my feet tapping a rhythm into the basement flooring of a Columbus Donato’s on a Friday night.
It was 16 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Inside, it was warm. Low lights and the smell of pepperonis on crispy dough. A whiskey and ginger leaving condensation kisses on my fingertips.
The set list was a piece of notebook paper with Sharpie scheduling.
Parking without an Ohio University student permit stole time away, but our trio still managed to arrive an hour too early. So we left on a small adventure to find pierogis in the freezing cold. We walked from the ‘Main Street of Happenings’ in Columbus to the quiet of Bourbon Street.
We found Pierogi Mountain. A hole in the wall of sorts. A dive bar with biker gang vibes. I loved it. Every beam decorated with bumper stickers. Guy Fieri’s signature and rainbow painted hair on the wall by the entrance.
I ate three plant-based pierogi’s for $5. I forgot to order a drink.
Potato, Kraut, and Mushroom. Buffalo Potato. Misir Wot. Topped with drizzles of sour cream. Yes.
My friends and I talked of where our dream houses might be situated. I decided on a split life: A small loft in the city and a tiny cottage in the trees of the countryside.
We walked the 15 freezing minutes back to the venue to hear the bands. Overgrown screamed a bit more than my mind could comprehend.
Marigold was my favorite. He had a melancholy voice to narrate his thought process between songs. He wrote verses on wintertime and how much it sucked. But it was so beautiful. It conjured up scarves hugging my neck and frosty pine boughs. His songs were ones I could see myself waking up on Sunday mornings to.
Pale Lungs filled the stage with a handful of musicians. Their instrumental bits were soothing to me. Their mellow lyrics indistinct.
Looming was a boy with spectacles and a girl with lavender hair. She had an interesting warble to her voice. I sipped a whiskey and ginger that left condensation kisses on my hand, and I appreciated how well the duo onstage harmonized.
We didn’t stay to hear Absinthe Father, so I can’t even guess as to the artist’s nature or sound.
We left Columbus. Excitement clinging to our souls in sharing a night of music exploration.
There’s something about seeing a musician first start to spell out the name they will make for themselves. People who are sharing their work for an audience to find a bit of themselves that connects to the lyrics and rhythm.