Noe Venable Trio and on bass…

Tonight was a great evening visiting Berkeley.

We started out at the newly opened Saturn Cafe on Allston Way, having dinner with a friend. Then we headed a few miles away to Cedar Street and saw a great concert with Monica Pasqual and Noe Venable and awesome guests.

Back in 2003, we saw Vienna Teng perform at Borders in Stonestown with three other artists. They were all there to support some USA Songwriter’s Showcase. One of the performers couldn’t make it, so Monica Pasqual stepped in. It was the first time we had ever seen her perform. While not the remarkable artist in our eyes that Vienna has been, we’ve crossed paths with Monica several more times since then.

Tonight was the first time we’d seen her perform solo material though since that time at Borders in Stonestown back seven years or so ago.

Likewise, in 2004, we first saw the Noe Venable Trio (featuring Alan Lin and Todd Sickafoose) open for Vienna Teng. I hadn’t seen them all together since, but our paths have crossed with all three of these talented musicians since then.

Tonight was the first time since then that we’d seen the trio together in one place.

We knew going in that tonight was going to be a special occasion.

We left for Berkeley a bit early and had dinner with one of our friends at the newly opened Saturn Cafe on Allston Way. It is the same food as the Saturn Cafe in Santa Cruz, but is also just a block away from the Jupiter Bar and the Venus Restaurant on Shattuck, which is pretty odd.

I had a grilled cheese. My wife had a side of macaroni and cheese. Our friend had an order of steak fries. We split a piece of chocolate silk pie for dessert. It was a good dinner.

After dinner, we said goodbye to our friend and headed to the Hillside Club for the show. We got in and seated and I noticed Monica Pasqual talking to someone familiar. After a moment I realized who it was but didn’t mention anything because I figured the person was just a spectator for the show because they live in town.

Monica took the stage around 8:10 and played her first song along, then brought out Pam Delgado on percussion and backing vocals and in my wife’s biggest “OMG” moment of the night, the guy I saw her talking with, Jon Evans on bass guitar.

My wife prodded me to take photos and video of Jon. He’s the touring bass player for Tori Amos. I took a couple of videos and a ton of photos during Monica’s set, which I liked a bit more than her work with Blame Sally. Most of the photos were focused on Jon Evans though due to the nudging and prodding of my wife.

Her set was about an hour and not bad for an opening act. We got a quick picture of Jon packing up to leave the stage as Alan Lin took the stage, with the two of them in the shot, which is cool, but there was no Todd Sickafoose/Jon Evans Bass Master photo opportunity.

Jon left before Noe Venable Trio took the stage.

The main attraction of the night for us, the reunited, potentially just for one show, Noe Venable Trio, took the stage a little after 9. They played a good mix of old and slightly newer songs. Noe also recited a cool poem around 2/3 of the way through the set. I was happy to hear the mix of songs (Juniper, Prayer for Beauty, Boots, Julia, Woods Part of When, Pleiades, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Feral) played by the great trio. They made some minor mistakes and the sound wasn’t the greatest, but overall a wonderful show.

Post-show, we left and went to Frozen Creations for a frozen yogurt flavor mixture of chocolate, red velvet, cookies and cream and strawberry yogurt with oreo cookie crumbles, minature chocolate cups, strawberries, mini chocolate chips, chocolate syrup, caramel, cheesecake crumbles and marshmellow on top. It wasn’t as good as the flavors written out should have been.

It was odd to get home as early as we did. It was a full night and again a good weekend escape.

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