Full Value Review Info


Keenwild Beatnik Cafe show review 5-15-04


For those who live outside So Cali, since this is viewed worldwide via the 'Net, and for those who don't travel much inside the 'Inland Empire' as this area is known to locals, there is an area that you see in enough movies to recall it when I mention it. It is the 'valley of windmills' although they are actually wind turbines, and there are hundreds, if not thousands of them, tall and white in row after row, with propellers spinning slowly against the hills in the background. These wind turbines have been the back drop in a number of movies and never fail to catch your attention as you drive along the ( I -) '10' east. Taking an exit and turning into the wind, the Full Value Van reacts like a small plane in a wind shear, but Bill, one half of the present KEENWILD lineup, keeps a steady grip on the steering wheel. We are headed to the 'high desert' to a place called The Beatnik Cafe located in the town of Joshua Tree. If this is starting to sound like something 'Californian', well, it is and it gets better.
We tool along the 29 Palms Highway along a highway that looks more like Colorado with all the mountains, finally coming to a town called Yucca Valley that reminds you of some small country town you'd find in Iowa, except for two things. First, there is a lack of 'taps' or taverns on any corner, there is no grain bin resting beside a railroad track, and there are mountains. OK, so there's three things. This area is known as the high desert because these desert valleys lie between mountains not at the base of them as is the case with Planet Hemet. Joshua Tree is just six miles up the road at this point, and I do mean up the road.
It is just after dark when we pull into Joshua Tree and on to a frontage road that runs past a long frame building that houses a number of businesses, one of which is The Beatnik Cafe, serving up good food, cold beer, souvenirs, and ice cream. The narrow cafe which runs from front to back in 'shotgun' fashion (the slang term for a house which has all the rooms in a single line), offers a tiny front stage under a large pagan wood carving, and the latest in Internet technology. I half expect to see an aged Maynard G. Krebbs stroking a laptop on the cafe's wireless hookup. What I see is a tall dark man with dreads working in front of twin flat screen monitors, watching the sonic patterns of music float horizontally across them. Behind him and his electronic cocoon back in the ice cream parlor section is the only other working person there. She is tanned, slim, in a white lace jacket with platinum blond hair, a MILF, if she did in fact ever have children. Her name is Kitty and I'm tempted to play Matt Dillion.
However, ever the professional, I am there to view KEENWILD, the solo act this Saturday night. The crowd is light due to the local high school prom taking place the same night. Still the people who do come in enjoy the show and the songs, as applause comes strong from the first song on. In this place people listen to lyrics and KEENWILD is a lyrics oriented duet. The first set is relaxed and flows well. We start to break in the outside front to but our lovely hostess points us to the back outside patio, their Green Room. So, relaxing between sets as fragrant clouds of smoke rise from our greens, we ponder on just what a unique and surprising oasis this little cafe is.
The second set finds a new group of folks gathered in, including one Shawn Mafia, a recent performer at Madlin's Coffee House down in Temecula. By the end of the night KEENWILD had the foundation for a new CD, recorded on the spot, LIVE from the Beatnik Cafe, and a desire to play an encore performance again some night in the 'high' desert. For more info about this quaint Internet cafe and who's appearing there next, you can call 760.366.2090 or go to , 'worth a trip from anywhere'!

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