People can look so different when they sing versus when they do other things. They can look impassioned, silly, angry, happy, hurt – you name it. Today, thanks to a suggestion from Scott Damgaard, I’ve pulled together a dozen faces of people as they sing. I hope you enjoy them. Many of them are from the Bone – a bar in Framingham that I go to every week. It’s where I met Scott actually and a bunch of other people who are now good friends.
I ended up going there kind of by accident. Matt Searles and I were looking for a place to have a beer and I suggested we meet at the Bone. It’s pretty close to both of our houses so it seemed like a good idea. It happened to be a Wednesday night which is pretty critical to what ended up happening. The two of us were sitting at the bar drinking Dogfish. I’d just come back from Austin where I’d taken photographs of strangers in bars. It had been a lot of fun and I was telling him about it and thinking I’d like to keep working on it. (I ended up taking pictures of two women at the bar, Mel and Fallon, whom I still see here and there.)
The music was bar music – stuff everyone knows. I noticed though that while the band stayed the same different people were singing. It turned out that Wednesday night was “Bone-e-okee” a live band karaoke. A lot of people were getting up and singing and everyone was having a pretty good time. I ended up talking to a bunch of people, taking a lot of pictures and deciding it was worth checking out again. I don’t think I went every week at the beginning but I went often enough that I got to know several of the regulars and the next thing I knew I was one myself.
Over the years things have changed. Old faces have disappeared and new ones have shown up. No matter what there are two things I know – first is that there’ll be someone I know and will be glad to see and the second is that people will be taking turns getting up on stage to sing. Sometimes people are better than you’d guess and other times – well, other times they’re not. Whether they’re good or bad people have a good time when they get up there. And it’s not just there – people like to sing. I like to sing (though I’ve never really done it at the Bone). These 12 photos are examples of how people can forget themselves on stage, share something, sing a song that’s special to them, celebrate a friend and just have fun. I hope you’ll enjoy them.
And if you’re near Framingham on a Wednesday night, come to the Bone. Don’t come too early and be prepared to stay late. Find me. You’ll have a good time.
This is Scott Damgaard, the host of Bone-e-oke on the first night I went to the Bone. He is great. There’s not a mean bone in his body and he makes everyone feel welcome on stage.
This is Brendan. His band is Shotgun Wedding. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them play but I’ve seen another band he’s been in Metallaham – a few times. This is an uncharacteristically mellow photograph of him.
This is Pete. His band is The Peasants. He’s awesome and a very wonderful guy. Pete started playing at the Bone a couple of years ago and became a regular band member on Wednesday nights.
This is Karyn. She looks like a nut. She’s someone that went from a face in a bar to being on of my closest friends (even though she’s moved to Nebraska now). Karyn loves singing Tom Petty and does a nice job of it – she also loves being up on stage. Over the years she’s sung less and less but still from time-to-time.
This is Eric Andersen. I did a tweetup at the Bone a few years ago and Eric was one of dozen of so of my social media pals who came and got up on stage to sing. I wish I could recall what he sang but it escapes me.
This is Chuck. Also, as it turns out, a member of Shotgun Wedding. I clearly could have used this photograph in my recent hat or rectangular glasses sets. Chuck is great fun to watch on stage. He throws himself around, dancing and singing and sweating. He’s a maniacal drummer as well.
This is Mel. It took a while for her to get up on stage if I remember correctly – a lot of encouragement. She doesn’t sing very often and is shy up there – but in a very sweet and appealing way.
Not every singing face has to be from the Bone. This is Jonathan Richman. Wendy and I saw him at the Somerville Theater in March ’11. I’ve been a fan for a couple of decades and it was fun to see him on stage. He is very tentative up there and very appealing.
I don’t remember this woman’s name. She took singing very seriously and has a beautiful face.
This is Jen, who also takes singing seriously. For many years she was a regular but moved a bit too far away for the Bone to be her regular. She would often sing “Me and Bobby McGee” or “Angel from Montgomery.” I played fiddle on that a few times with her. She got married this year and asked me to photograph the wedding. It was a lot of fun.
Another non-Bone singer. This beautiful woman was a backup singer for Stephen Marley. It was a good show and it was great watching her move and sing. The lighting was really cool – from red to blue to gold – and each color changed her appearance as she sang.
Pete up there used to be in a band here in Boston called Beefy DC. A year ago I guess the lead singer died and to help out his family a bunch of friends and local bands did a benefit in Boston. Here’s Chris Cote, a pro singer who is in many, many bands including The Giant Kings w/ Duke Levine and The Upper Crust.
Maybe I haven’t done justice to this set with my personal notes and digressions but what can I say? All I know is that I like watching people sing. I like the ways their faces change and do things they’d never do if you were just talking to them. I like seeing the singing side of someone’s face. It’s different and good and interesting. Check it out next time you watch someone sing.