The tumbleweed-strewn desert of music venues in Utah Valley has a new oasis on 800 S. in Orem with the opening of a new venue, The Kage.
Owner Kage Ahanonu, a long-time rap and hip-hop artist out of Provo, has been dreaming of this opportunity for years. Finding adequate space for the right price and the correct zoning has obviously been a challenge, as The Kage is located in the upstairs suite of an office building.
While he assured they will soon be moving downstairs to a more spacious suite, the grand opening was held in what appeared to be a vacant phone room stripped bare and replaced with musicians, gear and a crowded audience.
The all-ages venue featured seven bands on grand opening night, including The Sports Coat Assembly, a punk duo consisting of a guitarist /singer and one hell of a drummer who got more out of his budget kit than most big-name drummers get out of their 60-drum sets.
Following their stint was Josef Huntington, performing on an acoustic guitar and with spellbinding Blind Melonesque vocals.
Also playing was the Delphi Quorum, referred to as “the only acoustic death metal band” by frontman Glenn Goss, also known as “Judas.” He played bass, autoharp and banjo alongside Angela Moore on violin, Matt Gholdston on djembe and Adam Bean on didgeridoo.
Next up was Just A Face, whose name seemed rather ironic as two of the members strongly resembled Beavis and Spock. They were theatrical and entertaining, their songs catchy and somewhere between rock and punk.
At the end of the evening, Ahanonu himself took the stage and jammed with Moore on another band’s standing bass. His melodic, lyrical version of rap ended the evening on an optimistic note.
Opening night was not drama-free, however.
“Is it just in Utah that people expect to get a free show?” Ahanonu asked. A dozen people had crowded into the venue without paying the $5 charge, and he had to get a couple of the more intimidating musicians to shoo them out. “They have so many excuses. One guy even said, ‘Well, my girlfriend’s pregnant…’ ”
Unfortunately, one of the people told to pay or leave happened to be a friend of the lead singer of a major band, and said musician was rather irritated at the no guest list policy. He refused to perform, so the rest of the band was forced to pack up and leave.
Everything considered, the evening was a success. All the musicians and everyone who paid to get in had a great time in spite of the limited space and the initial fleeting tension. Ahanonu’s reputation of putting on a great show remains intact, Locals can expect new life being injected into the music scene with the addition of The Kage.