Today Allison and I had a wonderful day. We went to Billerica, MA to attend a Kiva House Concert. Kiva House Concerts are pretty amazing. Tim and his family open their home to performers and a very small group of fans. They have done over 50 of these concerts.
Pulling up to the house we see that it is in a perfectly normal neighborhood, kids playing out on the uncluttered streets, well manicured lawns, an average everyday suburban home. Walking in we see Ellis and his manager, we say hello and “See you inside.” We head inside and meet Tim, his two dogs Jake and Jasper, beautiful black labs. Tim’s wife is upstairs with their two children in this cute split level home.
The basement playroom is a dream, there are headshots of all the performers who have been to the house including Antje Duvekot, Christopher Williams, Dido and Letters to Cleo. Ellis has been to the house a few times over the years. Also in the basement there are about 20+ folding chairs, a large leather couch, a bar with two stools and sound system that would be fine outside but very imposing inside. We sat in the second row but decided to move to the front for more room. And when I say the front row I mean I could reach out and touch the keyboard. We were no more than four feet from Ellis at any given time.
A Kiva House Concert is unlike any concert you have ever been to. It is an intimate afternoon of incredible music and interesting people. Prior to the start of the concert we learned a great way to make hummus from scratch and various other things. Some people in the room had been at Ellis’ first paid gig, so we are talking longtime fans. We also met some really nice people.
When Ellis began to play we knew we were in for a very different type of show. It was so casual and fun. Ellis and the crowd riffed and chatted. In the first part of the concert Ellis used the sound system, he played the keyboard, harmonica and two different guitars (if I was a more musically inclined person this would be more accurate). While we listened, Tim’s two beautiful black labs, Jake and Jasper wandered the room looking for pets. We were only too happy to oblige. There is nothing like scratching the ears of a beautiful black lab and listening to the raw passion of a song by Ellis Paul. It is something akin to a religious experience.
During the break between sets we had some snacks. Part of the key to being a participant in these concerts is bringing something to share with everyone. There were many fine and eclectic treats. I’ll have to make some of my Choco-Nutty-Bacontastic Cookies. Allison picked up a coupe of CDs including one that we got signed, later.
The second half of the concert Ellis opted to stop using the sound system and moved even closer to the audience. Allison even got to hand him a pick. Ellis took requests during this time and he played both God’s Promise and Words. God’s promise is an important song to us because it is what I used on the Hold On To Hope video for the Machinski family as well as on the DVD that I made of Grandma Theresa’s photos. Words is an important song to us as it was our 1st dance wedding song.
The afternoon was one experience that I’ll never forget, it was amazing. Simply one of the most amazing musical times we have ever had. We’d like to thank Tim and his family for creating The Kiva House Concert series. We’d also like to thank Ellis for being so gracious, funny, passionate and talented.
After the concert we had our photo taken with Ellis and he signed one of the CDs that we bought as well.
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