This is a review I’ve been looking forward to writing. I never know for sure what I’m going to get when I go see a band. Yeah, I can listen to the new single from a band, stream the album online and even enjoy the music on a CD (Yes I still listen to cd’s)…
When you go see the artist live, however, you can feel let down because the show absolutely sucked and didn’t do justice to the music you know and love…luckily the show tonight didn’t fall into this category.
This review takes us to a great SF bar/venue The Knockout. When your logo is a luchador pounding’ back a bottle of suds, you know I’m going to like the place.
(Annnnnnnnd for the full disclosure…Kendra attends Balanced Breakfast and so do I.)
This Evening’s opening act…Kendra Mckinley
When a show starts at 9 and there are only 2 bands….this is my type of bill. Why shows with 3+ bands start at 9 in this city is insane to me, so I was already happy it wasn’t going to be an all-nighter. I first saw Kendra play a live set a Coast Recorders and was absolutely floored. The music is reminiscent of an era gone by, a throwback, a classic presentation. The singer/songwriter had a full band for the evening along with back-up dancers/singers and it honestly felt like you were watching a vintage performance from the decade of doo-wop. This is why I was surprised when I heard that Kendra would be playing the Knockout, for as much as I love the place, it is a dive-bar where all shows I’ve seen performed there are punk/rock music. I wanted to know how Kendra would translate.
There is a thing in wrestling called the “it” factor. You can have a wrestler with the Hulk Hogan body, teach him all the moves in the world, give them the best entrance and video packages, train him how to talk, and sometimes the crowd just doesn’t buy it (see Lex Lugar). That wrestler lacks the “it” factor. The elusive factor that before you say a word on stage, do a move in the ring, you walk into a room and the room stops to take note of that person. It can be a small guy, not 6 ft weighing 200 lbs soaking wet and if he has “it”, the crowd will get behind him whole heartily. (see Daniel Bryan)
Let me ask you something when was the last time you heard a soundcheck get a round of applause??? Last time, I’m sorry, let me rephrase that, Have you EVER seen a soundcheck get a round of applause? If you were at the Knockout on the 26th you did. The combined voice of Kendra with backup singers Allison and Sharon sound checking made a punk dive bar shut completely up to complete silence, turn around, take note, and watch in AWE (the true sense of the word AWE) because there was no other choice in the matter. When soundcheck was finished everyone in the bar gave a round of applause. Not a note had been played on an instrument. That my friends is the “it” factor
It’s no hyperbole when you hear Kendra McKinley has the voice of a siren.
During the course of a set I wish never ended, Kendra performed songs in the styles of Jazz/R&B/Bossa Nova/Psychedelic/Country Western(not shitty pop with a slide guitar/violin that calls itself Country, but Country Western, Country) even disco thanks to thumping bass-lines by Kendra’s big brother/Battlehooch’s own AJ McKinley.
I want to share with you everything that makes Kendra McKinley so damn special to see live. How the music of an era gone by has been updated and improved for the times. Not updated meaning “hey we put a lot of reverb on classic song structures so its sounds new”, updated (see Shannon and the Clams). Updated meaning if you listen to the music alone its timeless and very well could be straight from the 50’s all sweet and innocent. Kendra’s songs are merely updated with lyrical content to make anyone from the original time period blush with how “intimate” the words are and what stories she’s telling. (I swear that song about honey is alluding to something much more provocative than bee treats.)
I want to be able to write the words that express to you how Kendra tells the stories of her music with her eyes alone (another gift of the McKinley clan…what do they put in that water?) and when it comes to music not just in a recorded setting but in a live performance setting she HAS IT ALL, IT ALL! How Kendra is the total package and next show SHOULD NOT BE MISSED.
And I am telling you that, but my words cannot do justice and mean nothing compared to feeling it and experiencing it live and in person.
So folks all I can say and I mean this with all conviction in the world, see Kendra McKinley NOW, at an intimate setting before you missed your chance. Of everyone, I’ve ever seen play, any style of music live there is no one who does a better job. (this isn’t a locals only statement, ANY NATIONAL TOURING ACT AS WELL) Kendra McKinley is the total package. Kendra McKinley is IT, has IT, and will be IT. Do yourself a favor and see her perform before she’s filling the Bill Graham to capacity and tickets are being scalped for over a hundred ahead.
The Second Act Logan Greene
Here’s the deal Logan Greene was good. He is a singer/songwriter with good songs and a good voice. His partner in crime Lucy singing alongside him on stage had a great voice too and when they played an acoustic cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” she hit every high note in the “she run run run ruuuuuuuunnnnnnnn” part and that is NO easy feat whatsoever. It was good. The problem is with how the show was booked. Having an acoustic act on after a full band played doesn’t make sense when booking a show. I don’t know who booked the show or had an agenda against Logan, but that lineup just didn’t give Logan Greene a chance to make his mark. I still got his cd, again the music is good, but as far as performance goes, he was behind the 8-ball from the get-go, and I’m sorry but when you are competing with a siren, you’d better be one yourself less you get drowned out. Tonight I hope Logan knows how to swim