Jump to content

The Set List

Recommended Posts

The Home of Sid and Clara Epstein in Brigantine, NJ. Saturday, December 24th, 2016. 8:45 pm


With her girlfriend gone to investigate the mysterious, spontaneous Christmas celebration downtown, young Gretchen McDaniels found herself alone with Lynn's extended family for the first time ever. True, she was fortified with a great deal of wine (both kosher and treyf) and a bellyful of Lainey Epstein's famous latkes, but it was still a bit sobering once the full impact had sunk in.


Thankfully they were about to have a jam session, so Gretch could throw herself into the music and blot out the fear, or so she hoped. Lynn's Uncle Sid was an amateur drummer who had a full kit down in the basement, and his son Frank left his bass at home, so it was just a matter of gathering everyone else's instruments, a task made much easier thanks to magic.


The Line Up


Butch Epstein - guitar and vocals

Gretchen McDaniels - lead guitar and vocals

Sid Epstein - drums and backing vocals

Frank Epstein - bass and backing vocals


Everyone present had at least a little experience playing New Jersey weddings (gag!), and soon it became clear that there was a common corpus of material they could all draw upon.


Bon Jovi - "You Give Love A Bad Name"


It took all of Gretchen's willpower to steer the band away from 'Livin' on a Prayer', a song that held a special place of loathing in her heart; she knew there was no way to avoid the Garden State's second favorite son, but she knew to pick her battles. The assembled adults and kids ate it up, even though the young barista played it fairly mechanically. Still, it was a good warm-up number, and it was a chance to see Butch go to town on his little Traveler guitar, which apparently was a lot easier to play in a wheelchair; Gretch wanted one badly.


Billy Idol - "White Wedding"


So apparently, Uncle Sid was quite the sex symbol back in his day (ick!), and he requested, nay demanded, a chance to do his favorite karaoke song, which as the oldest son, he was able to push through. But he couldn't drum doing it, because he had to cradle the mic stand and 'work the room' (double ick!), which meant a bit of juggling instrument-wise. Frank shifted to the drums, which left Gretch on bass, which was a bit challenging because it as strung for a rightie, but she managed. Luckily the bass line was pretty straightforward, so she could take in a bit of Sid's performance, which she had to admit wasn't too bad; must have been quite the ladykiller, once upon a time.


Radiohead - "Creep"


This one was a bit of a surprise; Lynn's big sister Eddi requested a chance to take the mic, and sing one of her old favorites. Lynn had told her that Eddi did a little lounge singing on the side (she was a CNA at a nursing home during the day), but Gretchen had no idea what a set of pipes this girl had! Drawing upon who knew what personal pain from her own life, she turned it into something between a tortured torch song and a mournful wail, and it sent shivers down everyone's spines. Gretch also enjoyed the chance to take on Jonny Greenwood's visceral guitarwork.


k.d. lang - "Constant Craving"


Emboldened by Eddi's impressive performance, Gretch asked the rest of the band if they were familiar the work of the Canadian singer-songwriter, and was happy to see that even young Frank was a fan. Even though part of her felt like it was a bit of a cliche for a bi girl to sing this song, she was compelled by a strong desire to sing this song in this moment, with these people. Eddi and Lynn's mom Lainey (of all people!) flanked her on either side of the low stage to sing backup, and to everyone's delight, 'baby brother' Uncle Karl joined in on the bongos! Seeing so many Epstein rocking out at the same time was surprisingly touching and cool.


Grand Funk Railroad - "The Loco-Motion"


It was starting to get late, so it was time to start winding down; not wanting to go out on a sad note, Butch suggested they finish the night with a real barnburner, and offered up the hard rock cover of the Little Eva classic, and it proved to be a fortuitous choice. Inspired by the loss of one of the the all-time greats earlier in the year, Gretch went full-on Prince for the solo, and blew the room away with her impressive fingerwork. By the end of the song, everyone was singing along, and Butch and his wheelchair were leading a conga line around the basement.


Exhausted, delighted and pretty damn drunk, the young newcomer dropped to her knees on the last chord and whooped with delight. Butch rolled over to her side, wrapped an arm around her shoulders and said into her ear, just loud enough to be heard over the applause of the extended Epstein brood, "Welcome to the family, kid!"


She had to wipe away happy tears; so this is what having a family felt like.


Edited by Heritage
Link to comment
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...