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Hair of the Dog

May 18, 2012

Wednesday night saw the inauguration of VoiceBox's live event series.

I am choosing to call it the inauguration of a series because it came off stupendously well and I am gagging to this again. And again.

The basic premise for the series was to find a way to create truly immersive, interactive live experiences for VoiceBox listeners as a way to create a more engaged sense of community around the weekly, syndicated public radio and podcast series that I host and produce, as well as potentially forge a revenue stream.

I believe Drinking/Songs: A Night Of Beer and The Music That Goes With It succeeded on both counts.

The venue, 50 Mason Social House in downtown San Francisco, was packed and there was a line out the door and around the block at 7.45pm. We had to turn folks away. (As Katy Newton's photo above illustrates.)

The audience got to taste seven beers inspired by seven different global brewing traditions from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware (e.g. a Chinese beer, a Finnish beer, a Scottish beer, a Belgian beer etc...) and join in with the six-member professional vocal ensemble (we dubbed the group The Fill A Steins) on a few of the drinking songs that the singers paired with the beers throughout the evening.

We had a discussion led by a beer cicerone (Sayre Piotrkowski) and the singers about the ancient, global link between ale and song. And we recorded the whole thing for radio and podcast. An edited version of the show will be available starting next Friday night on KALW (and a few other radio stations) and iTunes.

It was an incredible thing to see 200 people crammed into a Tenderloin bar all swinging beer glasses and singing along with the refrain of a raucous Finnish drinking song. And when the singers performed the melancholy Chinese drinking song, the room was entirely hushed. You could have heard a maltworm creep.

Also, the event also generated a decent profit and a lot of goodwill. Plus it was a lot of fun, albeit a lot of work, to put together.

Cheers and on to the next.


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