Back To the Future?

Years are passing, and our kids are growing up. The Milkshake project is fulfilling its original purpose, which was to write and record songs that reflected our kids’ journey through childhood. 12 years have passed, and Mikel and I have watched as our babies have turned into our almost teen friends. So it seemed fitting to now revisit our catalog of adult tunes as we release the fifth and probably final Milkshake CD. Mikel and I decided we’d see if the music we had written years before Milkshake, for our adult alt-rock band Love Riot, would still sound great. We gathered some of our favorite musicians and booked a show at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore. Thinking it would be especially fitting to have a date around Valentines Day, on February 10th at 2 PM we invited old and new friends to come hear us perform.

After a few rehearsals and many changes, we set up on the Creative Alliance stage, and decorated the theatre with candles, flowers, chocolates and Sweet Tarts.  I was excited about these old tunes, and to sing love songs again. Some of Milkshake’s songs are, as The Washington Post says “…more like love letters from a parent to child.”  But most are simply describing the world from a kid’s point of view, and singing love songs from an adult point of view would be refreshing. I added a favorite Donna Summers song, “On the Radio,” a new song called “Disaster,” and then even some Milkshake songs that work on an adult level while still being love songs (“Enemies,” “One of a Kind”), which of course, was our theme.

The band was a mix of old and new, featuring Love Riot violinist Willem Elsevier (who also played on the latest Milkshake CD), and Milkshake drummer Tom Moon, bassist Cord Neal and keyboardist Brian Simms. We added acoustic guitarist extraordinaire and good friend Howard Markman of Palookaville, and even my husband guitarist Miles Anderson, who joined us on a couple songs. To round it all out in almost retrospective then-now fashion, Mikel’s son Eric played drums on a song called “One of a Kind,” and my daughter Jesse performed her original song “One Day“. The show would be a perfect blend of Love Riot/Milkshake creativity.

New friends Bumper Jacksons opened with a short and incredibly captivating set, playing their blend of swing, jazz and Americana. We took the stage and it was as if we had simply taken a short break, and despite initial nerves, I was just as at home, tutu-less with my guitar, chatting and singing to an adult audience as if it were 12 years ago.  Yes, the band was different, but they brought a new intuition and musicality to the old songs, and capability to the set in general. I know it might sound totally ridiculous but love permeated the air in the room that afternoon. Old friends we hadn’t seen in years came out and it was very much like a gathering of good friends and good music. Everyone wanted to stay long after the show was over, and the good folks at the Creative Alliance had a hard time kicking people out.

Afterwards, we all said it was so much fun, we should do it again.  Perhaps we will 🙂

Special thanks to good friend and photographer Steve Parke for these pictures.  And big thanks to the Creative Alliance – what a great place for the arts!, and the musicians and friends who made the afternoon so memorable. xoxo

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