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  • Tracy Heck

Kaleido rocks AB&E stage

On Friday, September 4, Kaleido headlined the first night of the Royal Oak Arts Beats & Eats festival drive-in shows.

More than 200 acts were announced for the 2020 installment, dubbed "The Beats Go On."

The shows were a mix of live stream events and drive-in setups with the crowd-funding and drive-in revenue being distributed among the area artists, who have been struggling since the shutdown of the music scene due to the pandemic.

Friday's installment kicked off the Labor Day weekend festivities with 3 separate drive-in shows that culminated with the third set, which was opened by Cast Iron Cornbread, who got the crowd warmed up with a mix of alt rock and pop hits.

It had been a long nine months since Kaleido had rocked a stage and the band was more than ready to play for the lucky fans who scored one of the limited tickets for the show.

Some of the crowd stayed in their vehicles, while others sat outside their cars or stood next to it to welcome the band, but whether honking their horns, clapping and cheering or singing and dancing along, it was clear that the band had been sorely missed.

Kaleido moved through a furious mix of tracks that included all of the songs from their last release, the EP No Rly... I'm Fine,"Blood," Eating Me Alive", "Pretending" and "My Fire."

The band also unveiled a new track, which will be released soon called "Dead To Me."

The day after the show, I got a chance to chat with Kaleido vocalist Christina Chriss, who was still riding the high of being able to get out and perform.

Q: How are you doing?

Christina Chriss: Tired. I stayed up all night watching videos from the show and just hanging out with my band. I stayed up way too late! I couldn't come down from that; I was high off of that show.

Q: You've been working on some music and you debuted a new single last night. Do you know when that will be released?

CC: I don't have a date. We'll probably be choosing a date this week, but it's done. I just have to decide when we're going to drop it. I actually just need to get back a video we had made too so I think this week will be the one that determines the actual date that it will come out.

Q: And is that the track you were in the studio working on recently with Ty Stone and some others?

CC: No, that is something else.

Q: So, there is definitely some more stuff to look forward to as well?

CC: Oh yeah! We have a lot of songs and new stuff. It's just a matter of releasing it. Some of it is not completed yet. We just have to get some final recordings, but we have a lot of new material.

Q: With everything that's been going on, has it been hard to get it all together?

CC: Yeah, it definitely did. It's been such a strange year, but hopefully, now that we're back together and things are kind of starting to calm down a bit with the re-openings and stuff, my team and my production team will be able to get rolling a bit quicker.

Q: And how did the new track "Dead To Me" come together?

CC: Well, that one has actually been done for quite awhile. We actually did that song with the same person, Michael Martenson, that did No Rly...I'm Fine and we've just been sitting on it for a minute. We've just been waiting to release it.

Q: After nine months away from the stage, what was it like to get back out there last night?

CC: Oh my gosh, it was amazing! It was so much fun and all of us have missed performing so much. I was in my element and even in that short, little half hour, I was high off the energy so quickly.

Man, did I get a rush of endorphins! There were all kinds of good chemicals happening in my brain from that.

Q: It was definitely a bit different, but it's great that everyone is trying to think outside of the box to hopefully get music back out there to the people.

CC: Yeah, totally! I think that the drive-in thing is a great idea. You can do your social distancing and still get to perform. It's different, but it's better than nothing and I'll tell you what, I hope more people start doing that.

I was really happy with how seriously and conscious that whole Arts Beats & Eats team was with everything. We had a couple of shows that we thought we were going to be able to play that we ended up dropping off of because I didn't feel that it was right.

I didn't feel that it was going to be safe and it was just too soon, but I knew I could do this one because the consciousness of the COVID and the social distancing was right on. I felt fine about doing it and I was really impressed with how it was handled. They are awesome and they did it right, so I hope more people were paying attention and will follow.

Q: Do you feel the band will probably wait until next year to try to do any type of touring?

CC: Yeah, I think that it's going to be 2021. Like I said, we had tried back a few months ago to book some stuff and as they approached, things just weren't getting better and I was just like, we can't do it.

We had all of the best intentions and hopes and figured it would be fine by then. It's just weird because we were always playing so many shows and now not to be playing at all has turned my whole life upside down. I'm used to playing hundreds of shows a year and now to only have played one since last December is just weird.

It's just so sad that our industry has been so impacted by all of this, but you have to do what you have to do to keep everyone safe. It's a terrible thing and I understand why it's being done, but it just sucks. Even just the crews are completely thrown into a tailspin. There are a lot of down days and it's just like how long can everyone hang on?

Q: You've done a great job of at least staying active with the fans and keeping your name out there.

CC: Yeah, but it had been so long since I'd been onstage that it was like man, I felt nervous and I don't ever feel nervous. I was a little rusty. I'm used to being like tour ready and you have that muscle memory and especially with that heavy level of singing, it's rough to keep that together. Even being in the studio is just not the same.

Q: Well, you would have never known it!

CC: Thank you! I was really happy with it and everybody killed it in my band. It was a lot of fun and it went so great. I'm still kind of riding that cloud 9 today.

Q: And what's next besides the new single?

CC: Well, we're just playing it by ear. Hopefully we'll get some more opportunities like Arts Beats & Eats that is safe for everyone. Besides that, we'll just be recording and writing and doing what we can do.

Q: Halloween is coming up and that will be very different this year too, but I know it's one of your favorite times of year.

CC: Yeah, it is! It's Halloween everyday in my world, but this time of year and this grey sky outside is giving me all kinds of vibes. I do think it will be different this year, but I don't trick-or-treat anyways and like I said, it's Halloween everyday in my head so I'm going to enjoy it and hopefully we'll have some haunted houses. Maybe some drive-thru ones.

Q: And with having all this extra time off, has there been something you've been able to do that maybe you wouldn't have if you were on the road touring?

CC: Yeah, I got to do a lot of, as odd as this is going to sound, a lot of traveling to nature spots. I got to see a lot of things I never have, even with all the touring. I got a lot of places, but I often don't get to see stuff where I go because I'm on such a tight schedule. I see it out of a van window so I had the time to really explore and discover some new things. If I had to look at the positive side of all of this, I was really forced to take a break from something that I have literally never vacationed or taken a break from in ten years. So, that's pretty cool!

Also, I've done some painting and home renovation type stuff.

Q: And anything you'd like to say to the fans?

CC: Yeah, I miss you! Hang in there and we're still kicking; we're not going anywhere. I can't wait until we can do shows again. I just miss everybody and just look out for new music because it's coming!

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