Although you should never, ever, need any other reason, but for the music, to show up on any given night at the Bowery Ballroom, on Tuesday night, I had the immense privilege of attending the acclaimed New York City venue’s celebration of all things jolly— turning in my beloved button down for an ugly reindeer sweater—my Halloween costume (which was a penguin-horse, in case you were wondering) for shiny ornaments and elf shoes—my Rum & Coke for thick milky eggnog. And what better way to act all giddy in your Christmas attire, along with a crowd of saucer-eyed Christmas lovers, than to be serenaded by the sweet, sultry tunes of LA-based acoustic-crooners, Johnnyswim?
Aside from the hilarious cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling”, the overarching theme of the show was, for obvious reasons, Christmas. So as 9 pm approached, the stage, which was dressed from floor to ceiling in string lights, candles, and little knick-knacks, filled with colorful smoke and dimmed a bit. Out from a corner floated the married duo, Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez, itching to perform their lauded Christmas themed album from 2014, A Johnnyswim Christmas.
“Raise your hand if you were here with us last year”, Ramirez calls out.
The crowd roars.
Then Sudano cuts in, “Now raise your hand if you were here two years ago”.
The crowd roars even louder, and the pair beam at each other—A perfectly posed moment just seconds before the show begins.
Humbled that the sold out audience battled the not-so-cold December air to get there, Ramirez spoke only with his heart; hollering about his adoration for this city— calling it one of his many homes away from home.
Then he goes on to explain, while gulping down whatever liquid was in his teacup, that, to him, their musical relationship was basically “just a way to hook up and be near each other”, but it blossomed into something so much more powerful– A whole-hearted love that plays tribute to the happily-ever-after formula that shapes their songs, but more specifically, the evening’s chosen Christmas ballads. Which, I guess, is why the band has made this event an annual occurrence. After all, what better way to sing joyous love songs than to do it with the one you love?
The night ended with a rare and phenominal moment that saw the pair leaping off stage, running up to the balcony, and playing a few more unplugged tunes for the restless crowd. And once the show ended, we shuffled out of the venue, ears still ringing, and I acknowledged one very special thing: I’m definitely coming back next year.