MAYYA at the Rickshaw Stop, by William Wayland

MAYYA (photo: William Wayland)

Bands are allowed to come out and play again, and I hope we never forget this new appreciation for live music that everyone is feeling.

After over a year of bands trying some form of livestreaming from their bedroom, Scruff of the Neck, an upstart music company out of Manchester, UK, put on their first-ever ticketed show in the United States and one of the first live shows this year at Rickshaw Stop on Friday, July 16th.

They tapped into an eclectic mix of Bay Area bands and musicians, including MAYYA, Kevin Pesto, Uncle Chris, and The Happys for an audience (including several masked) ready to restart live music. A man at the bar told me he didn’t know any of the bands. He just wanted to be at a show again.

MAYYA took to the stage with the poise of a veteran performer. You may have heard Mayya and the Revolutionary Hell Yeah!  Tonight she performed solo playing guitar and keyboard. She’s a strong lyricist and was supported by fans who came out to sing along, an experience that MAYYA describes as “dreamy.”

I heard her play “City of Fog” for the first time, one that Mayya Feygina wrote on her return to San Francisco after a six month trip abroad. For me, it felt like an appreciation and a love song to a city that too many are leaving.

Multi-instrumentalist, alternative pop musician, and producer Kevin Pesto took to the stage next with the support of Uncle Chris, a band that formed and evolved after the musicians met in their freshman year at the University of San Francisco.

Uncle Chris brings a jazz-inspired sound that’s more upbeat on stage than their recordings. Sue-Ling Kaiser, vocals, keyboard, and flute for Uncle Chris, expressed what everyone was feeling about the show, “I couldn’t really ask for more. [It just] felt good to finally play in a venue after a very very long year.”

The night got louder and more raucous as the evening progressed.  The Happys closed the show with their upbeat melodic pop-punk surf jams including the first live performance of the band’s new single, “Spider”.
The Rickshaw Stop’s festive atmosphere was complete when I looked out to see the crowd bouncing smiley face balloons that the Happys had thrown out into the audience.

Stay safe everybody. Let’s keep this going.