Kahoots on Island-wide tour

Kahoots, from left: Elisha Wiesner, Sal Esposito, Rob Myers, and John Larsen, played at Katharine Cornell Theatre August 1. — Photo by Susan Safford

Island band Kahoots kicked off its Island Tour this week, complete with posters and tee shirts emblazoned with all six Island towns at which the 16-year old band will appear between August 1 and August 7.

Interesting things are happening along the way. Band aficionados are flocking to the shows and several dozen people have scheduled vacations to be able to attend every night of the tour in which the 16-year-old group will play every one of the hundred or more song it has ever written and recorded along with new, unreleased material.

Former Islander Rosemary Hoeft runs a 225-acre farm in Sunderland. These days and returned for the week. “I will go to every concert. We are good friends, the band members and I vacation together so this seems like a good way to vacation,” she said earlier week.

“I’ve been listening to Kahoots since 1997 and this didn’t seem like an event you’d want to miss. This band is an Island institution, along with Johnny Hoy and Entrain, they have persevered.

“Good guys, great experience. And the idea of playing a different album every night is a great opportunity to have the whole Kahoots experience.

“I believe that anyone’s who’s been on the Island for the last 15 years should go, it’s so much fun for the young and old. I’m wearing my tour tee shirt right now. If you’re in the know on the Island, the Kahoots tee shirt is it this year,” she laughed.

For Mike Barnes, impresario of Aboveground Records in Edgartown, the band has earned its following. “They are my fave because they have always done it their way, they don’t rest on what they’ve done. They write great songs and its about the music for them, not about getting famous. They have no ulterior motive,” he said

“You know, this tour would have made a great documentary. The entire concept, setting it up, replaying the music,” he said, adding “I’d bet 100 people have made the trip to the Island for this tour. It’s an ambitious project, they are doing stuff they haven’t done in a long time. I like the idea that you can pick your show. You don’t often get to hear music in Aquinnah or on Chappy and no two shows are the same,” he said.

For band founder Rob Myers, the sorta, kinda, tongue-in-check definition of a tour on the Island has produced a different awareness, now that they are actually on stage doing it.

“We did it before a few years ago but we didn’t play every song we’ve ever done, in sequence from the beginning to today,” he said.

“I notice in our performance now that we’ve changed some from the early days and, yeah, there’s an elevated feeling for us to this tour, a sort of theater performance aspect to it for us. What I think has happened is that we are more grown-up, we think about the audience more. We are rockers, that’s what we do, but when we were kids, we were doing our music and didn’t care what anyone thought of us. But unless you play at home, alone, you have to include the audience. On this tour, we are focused on playing, there is less chatter and joking on stage.

“And we’ve noticed the change in our music -writing. We are known for unexpected and quirky musical treatments but what we’ve seen in performing the early stuff is that we sometimes made the music unnecessarily complicated,” he said, indicating that the tour experience will inform the band’s song-writing going forward.

Mr. Myers credits Island artist Jill Walsh with sparking extra enthusiasm for the tour among the band. “Definitely. You know, we’re big Beatle’s fans and I just did a word sketch of an idea to incorporate my van in the design, sort of the yellow submarine idea.

“Then I saw her rendition of our vision and it was perfect. She got it perfectly just from an idea,” he said.

Maybe Ms. Hoeft is on to something.