Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Night At The Q!

Only a couple of weeks since his last show, my friend Kyle Stevens played last night as a place called the Q Cafe. Not a club or bar, the Q is a... community center, of sorts. Because of this, the show was All Ages, and I do mean "All Ages", allowing for Kyle's No #1 Fan to attend: Mackenzie Meredith. Being only 7 years old, she's never had a chance to see Kyle play live, but she does love his music and she listens to him all of the time. (NOTE -- Sorry for the crappy pictures... cell phone camera...)

Kyle went on stage around 9:15pm (A little late for Mac, as it was fast approaching her bedtime, but she was so excited that she ended up staying awake until almost midnight). The first half of his show was his usual solo stuff, just him and a guitar kicking ass. The best part for Mac was when he unexpectedly dedicated a song -- "PIGS!", a fun little song that he doesn't play a whole lot anymore -- to her. She was ecstatic (and still is, as she is still talking about it as the Best Day Ever!).

Kyle then turned it up a notch and brought up his new backing band to play out the second half of the show. It had been a while since I had seen Kyle play with a band (back in his Layman's Terms days) and what a difference it made. Kyle has always been amazing as a solo act, but was even better at fronting a band. I was also amazed at the spike in the energy level in the room. The crowd was very attentive and pleasant, but once the full band got started, they were really getting into the show. All in all, a rousing good show for Kyle and for everyone in attendance, including a little girl who got to see her first music show.

Oh, and as a bonus, The buttons that I designed (using a simple logo I worked up) for Kyle arrived from the "printer" just in time for the show. They turned out to be a big hit with the crowd, and especially with Mac, who immediately put both versions on her shirt.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A Musical Surprise!

Last night, my wife Amy and I had the rare chance to both go out at the same time, sans children. Our plans for the evening were simple; we were going to see our friend Kyle Stevens play an early show down at the High Dive in Fremont and follow that up with dinner and a movie.

We arrived at the High Dive about 30 minutes (around 6:30pm) before Kyle went on stage. We caught up with Kyle, grabbed a beer, and settled in for the show. As always, Kyle put on a hell of a great performance! This guy has a hell of a lot of talent and it shines through every tiime I see him play! After his set was done, we talked a bit, followed by more beer, until it was time for Kyle and his crew to head on out. Amy and I decided to hang for a bit longer, grab a snack before taking off for the rest of our date. It's a good thing we waited about.

As I was finishing my beer and chomping on some fries, Amy was off making new friends, one of which was the friend of a very familiar person. This person was jumping about, along with others, as they set up gear for their show in a couple of hours. He looked strangely familiar to me, but I wasn't sure it was whom I thought it was until Amy brought him over to the table to meet me.

The man in question turned out to be Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States of America. He was playing that night in one of his side projects, the Feelings Hijackers.

This, of course, came to me as a complete surprise. Especially since I am a huge fan of all of his music, I like to keep on top of his various shows. To think that he was playing there that very night was a hell of a good coincidence!

Those that know me, know I do not play the "fan-boy". I'm not one to go all ga-ga over someone famous. But, there are always a few exceptions to that rule. Chris Ballew would have been one of those exceptions.

Notice I said "would have been". Thankfully, as Amy can attest, I did not geek out or make an ass out of myself (at least, not too much...). He said hi, we talked for a while, we finished off my fries, and then he went about his business, getting ready for the show.

This cinched it. Dinner and a movie went out the window and we stayed for the show, which was just amazing. As anyone who has seen this guy play knows, whether by himself or a side band or with the Presidents, Ballew puts on an exciting and energetic show. Hell, his sound check hours before going on was better than some shows I have seen. Amy and I had such a great time.

Our night out was a bit longer than we planned, nor was it what we planned, but it turned out better than we could have hoped.