I can’t remember the last time I listened to live music. It was in some dark, ramen-scented catacomb in downtown Kichijoji that seemed too clean to be credible, as if the performances were meant to be observed rather than absorbed.
I was there to see a friend’s band, only they weren’t up just yet. Holding their place in line was a girl with a bowl haircut, a polka dot dress and candy-striped stockings. While she looked like a pop star, she kept this mean-ass guitar slung over her shoulder like a guard dog, and I felt like if I reached out to touch it it’d bite me.
So I kept my distance as the lights dimmed and the crowd gathered around her. She said a few words and backed off the mic, waiting for the chatter to fall to absolute zero. Then she went to work, strumming her tiny fingers across those taut steel fangs. And when she played, I got all sorts of feelings. Even if the music was bad.
I like to think that same combination of electricity and magnetism flows in Amalee. She’s got charm and she’s got style, but she’ll bite your finger off if you wag it at Dibella. She’s not the most technically sound bard, but she’s got passion and drive and hope and belief and that makes up for any notes she misses along the way. You could say the science of Amalee is a cluster of positively charged protons, and that pure energy will force you to have a good time, even if you’re a negative person like me.
For whatever reason, I don’t remember hearing my friend’s band play. The lasting memory from that night was the girl in the polka dot dress. But the best part wasn’t even the music. It came before she began her set, when she stepped up to the microphone and made a request. When she was done rocking the joint, and you were done smashing that beer can on your forehead, she asked that you place it in the appropriate, recyclable bin.
I thought that was kind of, well, neat.