Back to the future
As three lime-green spotlights shined down on 17-year-old singer Kyle Riabko, it seemed as if he had been transported down to us from somewhere else. More likely, he was beamed to us from somewhere in the future when he would be famous and probably would not be playing in our small town at Levelz on a Thursday night.
We came to see Blue Merle that night, but everyone left talking about Riabko, the opening act.
Riabko had so much confidence and stage presence that it seemed perfectly natural when he broke into an acoustic version of Michael Jackson's "Thriller."
As he performed, I tried to compare him to some of the other teenage boys I know. It was hard to make the mental leap.
The next night, we returned to Levelz to see jazz/punk band Banyan -- the latest Jane's Addiction spinoff band led by Steve Perkins.
The show was a drummer's dream. Perkins' kit was pushed up front to the edge of the stage, and the guitar, bass and trumpet player played off the sides.
There were no vocals, just the voicing of Willie Waldman, who played trumpet like some jazzy Johnny Rotten.
With Mike Watt (formerly of Minutemen/fIREHOSE) on bass, Nels Cline (of Wilco) and Perkins rockin' on stage in a small venue for $10, I was surprised to see so few people there. At the height of the show, there couldn't have been more then 30 or 40 people in the crowd. But the band was cool and gave us a good show with the same energy as if they were playing to a packed house.
Behind the turntable
Levelz was the place to be this weekend. On Saturday, we returned for the third night in a row. DJ Cocheze, aka Cody Smith, returned to Steamboat to give us a lesson about hip-hop. Since February, Cocheze has been touring with KRS-One and learning about the world from behind his two turntables. At age 20, he just came off a European tour and is planning to hit the road again with the Temple of Hip Hop. Visit its Web site to keep track of Cody: www.templeofhiphop.org.
-- Autumn Phillips