No more than enough

Kenley doesn’t usually get nervous before a show, but he admitted to having a few jitters before his first gig in Los Angeles at The Cinema Bar on Sunday night. It was the first time he had taken the stage since leaving Columbia about six months ago.

Only a couple of people in the room had ever heard him play before: his Fling drummer — Ronnie Cleland — and me. (Fling was Kenley’s first band formed while he was still at Georgetown High School, and featured Ronnie Cleland on drums, James Touzel on bass and Justus Jagger on lead guitar.)

But Kenley had nothing to worry about.

The Cinema Bar is probably one of the most laid-back and least pretentious bars in the Los Angeles area. The self-proclaimed oldest bar in Culver City is often cited as one of the best dives. It has wood paneling and neon beer signs and seems to host more regulars than hipsters. Best of all, it is just a couple of blocks from our apartment and features live music almost every night of the week.

Kenley also had plenty of support from his co-workers at, including his boss and a former editor at The State, Steve Miller.

The food night group — hosted by Kathy Bryja, former editor at The State, and her fiance, Justin — had their weekly Sunday dinner early so they could come to the show.

Greg Wertz, who graduated from Irmo High School and now lives in Los Angeles, came to the show sporting a Manifest Records T-shirt.

Kenley kicked off the show with “How to Bite Down,” which is the lead track on his most recent record, “Standard Candle.” He also played “It’s Over When I Say So” and “Any Closer” from “Standard Candle.” You can listen to all these songs (and buy them) on Kenley’s website or iTunes.

His set also featured:

  • “Kristen,”  his ode to “Veronica Mars” star Kristen Bell, who lives in Los Angeles. Had to remind Kenley that he is married and she is engaged to Dax Shepard.

I promise, Kristen, I’m a standup guy,
And I think I could make you smile.

  • “Firefighting,” from Fling’s album “Made.” You can download the song for free here.
  • “The Outdoor Type,” a cover from The Lemonheads, which he dedicated to the Food Night group because several of us are taking a road trip to Yosemite in July.

I can’t go away with you on a rock-climbing weekend.
What if something’s on TV and it’s never shown again?

  • “No Good to Me in Pieces,” a new song he debuted
  • “No More Than Enough,” an old Fling fan favorite that he doesn’t play very often, from their record “The View From the Valley.” You can download the song for free here.

I’m no survivor.
I haven’t stood up yet.

Everyone sang — and some screamed — along to Kenley’s last song, a cover of the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer.”

Kenley really appreciated everyone’s support, and hopes to book another gig in L.A. soon.

We’re also working on reuniting Ronnie and James, who lives in San Francisco, and is coming to visit in July. Anyone have a drum kit?


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