Amid the chaos of the first day of the Republican National Convention — the yelling, the calls for rules committee votes, Utah Senator Mike Lee throwing his credentials on the ground and then picking them back up again because life remains but a fleeting illusion — there was one constant, one shelter in a storm of controversy, one dock in a shifting sea of white people losing their fucking minds:
The Republican National Convention house band.
Led by G.E. Smith, the former bandleader for Saturday Night Live, the RNC house band shuffled through a number of wedding reception hits, including The Beatles’ “Eight Days a Week” and The Turtles’ “Happy Together” (which they did not ask permission to use! Apparently the “law and order” party does not include “copyright infringement” among those laws and orders needed!).
They played each song with the air of a band that definitely brought its own sound and lighting equipment. They were men, men who post requests on Facebook asking people to come over and “jam,” men who attend the lightest of light-rock concerts and go to the very front and then proceed to wobble back and forth in a dance that puts one in mind of a bumblebee having some sort of dissociative episode as a result of an awful divorce. Men of honor, men who wear blazers with jeans to mildly formal events because they're still cool, and no one can tell them any different.
The RNC house band even attempted to liven up the festivities by playing David Bowie’s “Station to Station,” a song that is:
1. 10 minutes long
2. About cocaine (there is a line of the song that reads, “It's not the side effects of the cocaine”)
3. From an album Bowie had no memory of making*
Notably, the C-SPAN cameras did not pan to the audience during this performance, perhaps because the Venn diagram of “people who are at the Republican National Convention” and “people who know David Bowie songs released as a seven-inch single in France” would be one very confused person. But those of us who watched the festivities on television saw, and recognized, what it was: a cry for art, for joy, for David Bowie’s second-best album.
Rock on, sirs. Rock as hard as you are permitted to do so, which, after performing a song that is basically an ode to cocaine, might not be very hard. You are not alone, for we the people are with you, the Republican National Convention house band, our port in a storm of stupidity.
* There was also a bit of a “Nazi iconography” phase there, too. And some concerns regarding witches.