It's going to feel unfair the first time I hear someone say Eyes to Space broke up last Friday night. Not in a tragic but-I-loved-that-band sense, but because that's not really what happened—at least as far as I could see, hear or tell.
Sure, bands break up all the time, but not all bands break up. And Eyes to Space is one of them: Friday night, when keytarist Jay Cartwright peeled the mantle of electronics mounted to a piece of plywood and a shoulder strap from his chest one last time, he threw it against the 506 stage as hard as he could. No one was mad, just surprised. Indeed, it was a happy night centered around a gleeful seven-song, 45-minute set from a band that simply felt they had their chance.
Eyes to Space simply stopped playing music together as a band Friday night. There was no breaking up, no hard feelings, no shattered ambitions. They moved on without breaking apart. Bassist Wendy Spitzer and Cartwright will go on living together out in Bynum, and Cartwright and drummer Dylan Thurtson will still go see Live Free or Die Hard together this weekend. Every time they see someone in a headband, especially on a stage, they'll each think of Andy Spain, the stage-right headband-wearing guitarist who gave Eyes to Space so much of its metal-hinting, prog-skirting likability.
And speaking of likability, who deserves that tag more than Eyes to Space? Every ounce of kitsch they had as a band came matched by dexterity, imagination and a real enthusiasm for the music they made together. Sure, Eyes to Space had ambitions, but they had a better time. And if you've ever seen a band really break apart—just rip right through its own seams—you know that having fun can be harder than becoming famous.
After all, for their last show, Eyes to Space didn't stage a headlining spectacle. They took the three-slot on a four-band bill, thanked the other (younger) bands, Local 506 owner Glenn Boothe, and barreled on. Cartwright smashed his keytar. No encore, just exiting stage right, hanging out and, then, going back home. You have to think they were happy.