Photos by Charlie Englar
Charity, beer, the Kyle Hollingsworth Band, food, friends and a String Cheese Incident memorabilia auction. Not much else really needs to be said, but for the sake of this review, let’s get at it.
The Kyle Hollingsworth Band teamed up with New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, CO for what was dubbed the “Holiday Folly for Charity.” It was a glorious combination of charity event and jam show. Using proceeds from ticket sales and from the auction of SCI material (along with a custom-made bicycle/cruiser and a signed copy of Kyle’s new CD Then There’s Now), the event donated to the Larimer County Food Bank.
Along with the donations, the night was chock-full of goodies. The event/show was held in Brew House 2 of New Belgium and provided a perfect atmosphere. Dimmed soft lights, high ceilings with minimalist wooden architecture, the bread-like aroma of yeast prevalent in the air and beer vats coming through the floor that were hot to the touch and had looking glasses for viewing (Fat Tire Ale was being brewed in said vats as the event was going on). All the while, Kyle and his band mates were cruising around before the show shaking hands and chatting with folks, while the patrons were munching on complimentary subs provided by Cheeba Hut and sipping free beer out of their free pint glass with a KHB logo printed on it … yeah, good stuff. Not to mention that Kyle brewed his own beer with the brewery specifically for the event — just a heads up, it was damn tasty.
About an hour or so after the event started, Kyle and his band strapped in for an hour and a half show that was energetic and just plain old fun. Due to the early start time (doors at 6pm), and probably also because it was a bit of a different set-up (no stage, just the equipment on the floor) the smallish crowd was a bit slow to get moving (think decent size house party in the sickest house imaginable). But by the time the band pulled out the SCI nugget “Yo Se” four songs in, it was on. Kyle let loose during this song, extending the jam with various distorted and screeching notes on the keys. It was also around this time that Kyle urged the crowd to take off their shoes, because he was going to do so. And he did, showing off his mismatched socks in the process. “Way That It Goes,” a great song off the new CD, followed. As the set was coming to an end, the band was told they had more time, and took advantage. Starting off the encore with the first half of the Beatles’ psychedelic odyssey “A Day In The Life”, the group built up the screaming crescendo perfectly just as they transitioned into the crowd-pleasing cover of the Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody).” Playing one of his favorite covers with zest and zeal, Kyle eventually led the band back into the finish of “A Day In The Life”. A genuinely badass way to end a great night.
Kyle and his band are a solid draw no matter when and where they play, but this night turned out to be a great experience for all the reasons listed above. The focus, while certainly on the Kyle Hollingsworth Band and the awesome beer being served, was constantly directed towards the donations being made. It can feel cliche and at times over-played, but the truth is it’s always worth pointing out coming together to lend a hand to the less fortunate is always a positive.