Singing to Jesus

“It’s Monday again. I’m calling to invite you to the concert that I invited you to last Monday. The one I’ll probably invite you to next Monday. The Reeve Carney band. Molly Malone’s. 9:30. It will change your life.”

Joey has been leaving these voice mails every Monday for the past three weeks. This week, I give in and decide to see what he’s so pumped about. I get to Molly Malone’s early, grab a Jack and Coke, and score a seat in the front row. The band is just beginning to set up, and I get my first glimpse of Reeve Carney as he does his check-one-twos. Right away I see that Joey is onto something, and already feel that my $5 cover has been well-spent. Allow me to elaborate: I would have paid $5 to watch Reeve Carney open a can of soup. The guy is that gorgeous. His white, button-down shirt drapes gracefully over his skeletal frame, and his pinstriped pants make his lanky legs appear even longer. He slinks about, plugging in certain things, unplugging others, and beaming beatifically at his equally stylish bandmates.

“Reeve, Reeve, Reeve,” chants a chorus of voices. I turn to see the formerly empty room now packed with Reeve-lovin’ hipsters — the women in their requisite ensemble of baby-doll dress over leggings with a massive belt and a pair of ballet flats, the guys in tiny vintage polo shirts, blazers and tight black jeans. There are enough black, high-top Converses in the room to outfit an old-school basketball team. Seriously, Silver Lake must be a ghost town right now.

“Hey,” exclaims Joey, as he slides into the seat I saved for him — his hair appropriately tousled, Converses adequately filthy. Carney approaches the mike and Joey whispers, “There’s one thing I didn’t mention on the phone. They’re kinda religious.”

“What do you mean?”

“Just listen. Sometimes, when you think Reeve’s singing to a girl, he’s actually singing to Jesus.”

Oy vey!

Carney kicks off the show with a few love songs that daintily tread the line between sweet and haunting. I’m definitely digging these tunes. My personal favorite is the band’s rendition of “Jealous Guy.” But when the band starts in on a tune called “I Think of You,” I reach for my Christ Detector. The first verse could totally be about a girl/me: “When I’m lost, you bring me back/When I cry, you make me glad/When I think I have it bad/I think of you.” Then, Carney goes on to sing, “Each night you wait outside my door [Okay, is this chick a stalker?] . . . You’ve always been and you’ll always be/Even to the end, I’ll think of you [What’s up with the whole eternity thing?]/You are the way, the truth and the life . . .”

The way? The truth? The life? Case closed.

Is anybody else hearing this? I spin around to see hordes of hipsters bellowing along with Carney from beneath their shaggy bangs. Do they have any clue what they’re saying? Am I the only one who notices that Carney is singing to Jesus?

Beside me, Joey looks positively entranced. He’s even mouthing the words. What would his rabbi say?

Finally, I give in to the power of the band. A few verses later, I’m chanting “I will testify” along with the rest of ’em.

After Carney’s encore and final farewell, the crowd still isn’t ready to leave. The aisles crowd with people, but nobody moves toward the exit. Truth be told, I’m not pushing to get out either. Joey and I discuss the show, mirroring each other’s Buddha-like half-smiles. We languish together in the calm that permeates the room. I’ve been converted.


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