Saturday February 1st.
This was the first 2020 Night at The Mojo Bar.
At 8:30 pm, Callum Wylie grabbed a chair, put the chair on stage, grabbed a beer and put the beer on the chair. Then he took his guitar, his voice took the mic and the show began.
Man, guitar. Voice and beer. With a voice like that it did not take long for things to take off. I went back in time to the days when me and my dad listened to James Taylor on the radio.
Callum Wylie. Singer and guitar player. Strummed most of the time but it was when he fingerpicked the strings that I found music the most touching.
«Won’t you kiss me before you close your eyes», he sang and us listeners and time travelers went searching through our memories. Some of us travelled further than others, I assume.
Donovan and Dylan were also there during this nostalgia trip on time. Callum played some covers, I was not able to recognise any of them. But that didn’t matter. Didn’t have any effect on the music he was playing.
Me and the music were somewhere else.
Near the center of my childhood, perhaps.
Tears were on their way.
A group of girls were sitting at the bar watching Callum. «It’s hard to find a good woman», he sang to them. That was his last song on set.
Then a guy dropped his drink to the floor and someone else clapped.
That’s the way the world goes, I guess.
At 9:30 pm people at the Mojo were taken on another kind of trip.
Psychodelia. Funk. Sex.
«What’s the name of this band?»
More than a question, it was a demand from one of the girls sitting at the bar.
«Dalai Lager», I said.
«Like the beer?»
«Yes, like the beer.»
She wrote down the name of the band on her phone.
Her eyes were red.
All the way from the rings of Cronulla, this band brought a spaceship and threw everyone at the Mojo on board. They were only playing their second song and we were already half way to Jupiter.
Inside the spaceship everyone was floating.
Floating and dancing, somehow.
The voice of the singer floated as well, bounced around.
Echos came from everywhere.
By the middle of the set, the sounds of the synth opened the door of the spaceship inviting everyone for a space walk outside. We accepted the invitation.
Luke, the drummer, was smiling.
«This next song will be a bit long, so hold on to your drinks», the captain announced.
The bartenders were smiling as well.
I was not sure how long or short that song was.
Not only were we lost in space but also in time.
How are we able to listen to the music on such a situation?
How far can music travel?
How many rings does Cronulla has?
Who controls the Sun?
Who took my drink?
How come Luke is still smiling?
Will he smile forever?
I only smile when I lose focus…
That’s where my thoughts were going at that moment. At least the thoughts that I could be aware of. Multiple directions were being taken by them.
«Prepare for collision», said someone who looked exactly like the captain, but was not the captain.
Am I losing myself in the sound?
I looked around and noticed everyone’s eyes were white. They were probably on a very similar situation to me. So I assumed my eyes were also white. I smiled.
We were all about to lose our minds, but needed one final push to get there.
Aware of what was going on, the rhythm section changed the pace of the song from one second to the other: the spaceship, that was waiting for us to come back in, exploded. Our minds exploded too. Finally.
And while we, with our white eyes, watched the pieces of spaceship being scattered away through the universe, the captain whispered into our ears:
«We have one more song to go».
I couldn’t think anymore. I didn’t try hard, but I did try.
I didn’t who I was. I didn’t care. All I was doing was feeling. And I was feeling great.
I was feeling the electricity, to put it someway.
I didn’t want to go back home.
Something started pulling us. It was the drums. It was the bass. The guitars and keyboards. The captain’s voice that was a thousand captain’s voices.
All the sounds of Dalai Lager turned into a black hole and sucked us in. Or out. Didn’t matter.
We let ourselves go, dancing into oblivion.
Not sure how, but at some point that last song of Dalai Lager must have ended.
We were floating in relative silence now.
Somewhere, it was 10:30 pm.
And it was then that it happened. We bumped into a trio of virtuosos.
It had to happen.
Who knows which planet saw them being born, but they didn’t play their instruments as regular people do. They introduced themselves as «The Midnight Infirmary». Then they picked up our blown heads and took good care of the remains.
Here’s is a list of things I saw at this infirmary while I was having my brains fixed:
– a wah pedal
– a tremolo bar
– a slide guitar
– a Rickenbacker bass guitar
– some jazz
– some reggae
– lot’s of blues
– very tight skins
– flying cymbals
– Luke sitting at the bar smiling
Where am I?
I had been here before but I could not recognise the place.
Is this what nostalgia sounds like?
As if they knew where we have been before and how affected our perception of reality was at this stage, they played not one, but two songs by The Doors.
«blood is the rose / of mysterious union»
Brains were fixed. We were ready to keep moving. Going deeper.
But then, at 11:30 pm, after a drum solo that should have lasted forever, the universe collapsed.
That’s the way the world goes, I guess.
Text and photos by Abel Ibanez G.