The excellent David Keesey — guitarist, singer, and all-around huggable dude — is playing tonight at Webster Hall with one of his bands, The Elephants. Which is huge. It’s a giant New York venue that holds over a thousand people, has great acoustics, and, most impressively, looks like a proper concert hall — and not, like most venues in this town, like a burnt-out bomb shelter that just happens to have a stage and a bar and a guy in the front who looks like he could beat you up who’s politely checking IDs.
“Yeah, it’s Friday night,” Keesey giggled. He was telling me about it a few days ago, and he sounded like a man in the middle of a religious dilemma — which is, of course, exactly what it was. Playing at Webster Hall is amazing, and it’s one of the highlights of a professional musician’s career, but it’s not exactly Shabbat dinner.
It’s a Battle of the Bands. And it’s actually a pretty big deal. “So,” he continued, “I’ve been telling all my friends who don’t keep Shabbat, or who don’t live too far from the place, about the show. The good news is, we’re scheduled to go on first, so we’ll actually be playing before Shabbat starts.”
“That’s awesome,” I gushed. “I wish I didn’t live in the dead middle of nowhere of Brooklyn.”
“Oh!” he said, remembering something. “It’s also the second day of the Three Weeks.”
“So I guess you’re not telling the shomer Shabbat people after all,” I said.
Glumly, he shrugged and went back to watching the music.
So, this is a Jewish blog and all, but I figured I’d still give the guys a shout-out. For now, though, even the shomer-Shabbosest of the Shomer Sabbateans can download the Elephants’ entire album Live at the Bitter End for free…and, if you’re like me, you’ll be counting the days — 19 — until you can listen to it.
Pronounced: shuh-BAHT or shah-BAHT, Origin: Hebrew, the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
Pronounced: sho-MARE, Origin: Hebrew, a guard, usually referring to someone who sits with a dead body before the funeral.