“Because of music the passions enjoy themselves.” When Nietzsche wrote this in the late 1880s, he was talking about music as an art form and an element, without delineations of genre or era. Still, the contemporary music enthusiast has to wonder what Fred might’ve written about rock ‘n’ roll, had he lasted a few decades longer. Even if his adage applies to rock, it doesn’t sound very rock. For our idiom, then, we can look to Jerry Lee Lewis for a more contemporary translation of that high sentiment: “Y’know, there’s nothin’ like tearing up a good club now and then,” Lewis once said.
Likewise, there’s nothing like being in a good club when someone’s tearing it up. Those who have been to shows both great and small can vouch for that special feeling of being in a dark little room with a handful of audience members and a band that’s rocking everyone’s faces off. In that space, good bands get even better. Case in point: seeing Scissors for Lefty play at Velvet Jones on Sunday evening. It was an intimate setting – there were about 20 people in attendance – and it only took 10 minutes for the set to turn quickly into a private dance party between the crowd and the band. It was refreshing to see fashionable indie rockers with cool hair play with such unpretentious, good-natured enthusiasm. Pop without pablum, synthy without sounding too much like a Faint rip-off, juicy with gratifying hooks and playfully intelligent lyrics; Scissors’ music was catchy as hell, and they felt it as much as anyone else there.
Impish lead singer Bryan Garza danced, posed, and showboated it up with the gleeful, half-sheepish abandon of a child putting it on for his family – or at least one who knows that all eyes on him are approving. Garza and his chops may well have stolen the show if his mates didn’t play their instruments so dang well, and if the whole group didn’t have such an easy chemistry that disallowed any real upstaging. And while Scissors for Lefty have an impressive tour history – they’ve played to huge arenas with heavyweights like the Smashing Pumpkins – it’s hard to imagine it tops seeing them up close, all friendly-like, and putting on a show with infectious enjoyment. Nietzsche better recognize.