by Evan Litwack
images by Ryan Stark
Last Sunday, the staff of Amoeba Music Berkeley was brought together for their annual Amoebapalooza holiday party, which combined the talented musicianship of many of Amoeba Berkeley’s key figures with some good-old fashioned celebrating. The concert party was hosted at the Stork Club in Oakland, which provided the perfect intimate atmosphere and stage setting for Amoeba’s diverse personalities to perform and interact in. Amoebites of all age groups and walks of life were in attendance with friends, including past employees and long time fans, and every room of the Stork Club was buzzing with the energy and enthusiasm of a hundred hardcore music heads in unison. Excitement lingered in the air as weeks of waiting to see colleagues and friends show their true musical colors built itself to a head. Thankfully, none of the bands disappointed.
People were still arriving and buzzing amongst themselves when the evening’s first band, Maestro’s Choice, set their equipment on stage and started the night off on a moody, downtempo note. Michael Henning worked the percussion and looping while Kai Keya complimented his arrangements on flute. There was some curiosity in the crowd surrounding Kai Keya, who hadn’t performed in public for years, and folks were impressed by his playing and by the chemistry between the two musicians. Those who know Michael’s band The Why Because would have been certain to appreciate this set.