Other stories filed under In-Depth
We’re Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, we hope you will enjoy the show. – The Beatles, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
June 6, 2018
A long purple light casts a dreamy glow on two performers in the corner of Brix Restaurant and Pizza Bar as they sing “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac.
One plays the guitar, dreary purple shadows are cast down on him. The other keeps the beat on her drums, using brushes on the snare and cymbals, the bass drum illuminated by little white lights.
Christopher Palmerini and Annie Masciandaro, also known as Annie Mash, are the Annie Mash Acoustic Rock Duo.
Located in a strip mall, Brix Restaurant and Pizza Bar hosts the performances of this rock duo. The windows are paned with dark, wooden panels and framed with strings of little white lights. The walls are a creamy, off-white color in a dimly lit room. One can look into other rooms in the restaurant through arches that are lined with bricks.
The restaurant is strewn with wooden tables and chairs, as well as tables with brown cushioned booths. Cloth napkins are rolled around utensils and placed on top of plates. A lantern illuminates each of the high-tables. The rest of the tables are decorated with dainty white flowers in a gold Mason jar. The bar is outlined by bricks, and boxed, wooden shelves hold various bottles, also backed by bricks. Light fixtures hang from the brick lining like glowing, upside-down ice cream scoops, and high chairs are placed in a line at the front of the bar. The bar has clusters of thin, red straws spread about, and several beers are displayed on tap. People start to gather at the bar, but the restaurant does not get crowded until later in the evening.
Palmerini and Mash play songs they love, the songs they grew up with. Palmerini grew up in a musical family, as everyone around him played instruments. His mom played the piano and sang in the church choir, while his dad played the saxophone, flute, piano, and clarinet. One of his main influences is the Beatles. Palmerini was in a house band for 25 years, and the musicians would come to attend the convention to sign autographs. They would rehearse together in his hotel room. He’s played “Can You Hear Me Knocking” with Mick Taylor, the lead guitarist for the Rolling Stones. He’s played with keyboardist Keith Emerson, as well as the keyboardist for the Doors. Palmerini played “Daydream Believer” with Davy Jones, a member of the Monkees.
Mash did not grow up in a musical family, however she was exposed to the drums by watching different family bands on television, such as The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family. She also grew up watching the Beatles cartoons. The moment Mash laid eyes on a drum set, she felt “completely drawn” to it. She took drum lessons from when she was nine until the age of eleven. When Mash was 15, her uncle came to live with her family, and her uncle’s best friend lived across the street. After school, Mash, and her uncle and his friend would go up to her room and jam on the guitar, saxophone, and drums. One of her main influences is Led Zeppelin, especially drummer John Bottom.
Mash and Palmerini have been a duo for 12 years and mostly sing songs from the 60s and 70s. While performing at Brix, one crowd pleaser was “Ruby Tuesday” by the Rolling Stones. When they sang “These Boots Were Made For Walkin’” by Nancy Sinatra and Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain,” people started to sing along, and one woman even got up to dance.
Both Palmerini and Mash noted that the music industry has changed. Palmerini misses the good old days when he used to take a trip to the record store to purchase a brand new album. “Nobody buys records or CDs anymore,” said Palmerini. Now, musicians do not have the chance to grow and improve. Back then, an artist could make an amazing second album if their first album wasn’t that great. “Nowadays, if your first album’s not amazing, you don’t get second chances anymore.” Palmerini also notes the lack of live musicians at events where more DJs are popping up. He hopes that more live musicians come back to the party scene.
Mash notes that music has become the “flavor of the week.” “There’s not as much substance to it anymore,” said Mash. “It’s not as deep as it used to be.” Led Zeppelin and the Beatles were around in the 60s and 70s, and their music is still relevant today. Compared to them, Mash does not think that Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift will be “relevant in 20 years.”
Palmerini witnessed the power of music just a week before his father passed away from Alzheimer’s and dementia. “He couldn’t remember the word pizza,” said Palmerini, yet when Palmerini played the piano for “Over the Rainbow,” his father played the melody on the saxophone perfectly.
Mash said music “makes you find your soul.” Music can heal people and also bring them together. Being a drummer and a singer makes Mash who she is. “Without it, I’m lost,” said Mash.