Leaders of the Pack • Konebra Kai

Best Rock Band • Best Female Rock Vocalist

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, , Artist Feature, Review Music Awards,   From Issue 898   By: Matt deHeus

24th June, 2020     0

Sometimes, when you are a guy, there are questions you'd really like to ask a girl if you had the chance.  When asked to profile 2020 winner of the Review Music Award for Best Rock Band, Konebra Kai, I realized I had one of those opportunities.

“Do you get requests for Mustang Sally and Summer of '69?”

Yes, this was seriously my first query for the only all-female band gigging in the area at present.  The answer:

“No,” indicated lead vocalist Nikki Lynn, who also picked up the win for Best Female Rock Vocalist.  “We get Heart, Vixen, Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks.”

Bassist Robyn Grimsley chimed in, “We did get Freebird.  We played Hole instead.”

With that comment, you can understand a little bit more of what the band is all about.

While this combo is still relatively new to the bar circuit in this area, the members are all familiar faces to the region's music fans. For anyone that has been at their craft awhile, it is nice to get some recognition and even better when you get to enjoy it with a group that has accomplished it together.

As Nikki explained, “I am beyond grateful that we won. I have been singing in different bands for over 15 years.  It's nice to be seen and to have a great band of awesome ladies.”

The band, whose line-up is filled out by guitarist Cheryl Lyons and drummer Amber Foster, got their start in a gig at the Shot n Shell in Bay City.  They play a mix of hard rock, hair metal and pop, spanning 40 or more years of the rock and roll canon.

There are a few things you definitely get at a Konebra Kai show.  The first is that they are not just going through the motions.  They put on a tiny little rock concert, right in the same space that other bands only find room to stare at their shoes.

As Cheryl Lyons put it, “We are unique.  Hair, make up and  stage clothes.  We are fab and damn fun.”

Added, Amber Foster, “We are high energy and have a wide variety of music.”

One thing this band does not take for granted is the fact that they have had a lot of support in getting the band up and running. Anyone who has ever tried to coordinate a full time band staffed by four full time adults knows it is no small undertaking.

The band members mentioned any number of people and venues that have made a difference as they launched this project and got it established as what is now an award-winning operation.

Venues like the Willew, The StablesScotty's and Bemo's were mentioned by all. 

Grimsley also pointed out the support they have had from “all the people who come out every week and from all our musician friends.”

Among those named by the band are the members of the Savior Machines, who call Konebra Kai their “sister band,” and Steve Enciso (Mama Mokey, Six Pack Crush, etc.).

Recognizing the value of good visuals, they also mentioned photographers Dwayne Keller and Lisa Goulette as key unofficial members of their team.

The band also pointed out the special contributions of Bruce Lafrance, who is colleagues with Grimsley in the professional sound and live production company, Level 47.  There is no firmer foundation for a band to build on than sounding great.

The band's last gig before bars went on hiatus was at O's Pub in Auburn on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Though the members all certainly share all of the concerns that the rest of us do going forward, the role that playing live music holds for them is not lost in the current circumstances.

Said Amber Foster,“Getting up on stage and doing what I love and have always loved makes me feel beyond grateful.  And to have the support of our fans and community is amazing! And it is so much fun!”

Echoed Nikki Lynn, “Singing is my heart and soul, so being able to share my passion for music with our fans and community brings me so much happiness. I feel extremely grateful to rock and roll with my Konebra Kai ladies, who are extremely talented and awesome all the way around.  To win Best Rock Vocalist at the same time – it doesn't get any better.”

To which Grimsley agreed, “To play is completely the best! Adulting sucks and this is a fabulous outlet to forget about it all.”

But when asked to sum it up, guitarist Lyons described playing live shows with this band as  “Unity magic, intoxicating, it makes me feel like I'm vibrating at the speed of Love." 

If that doesn't make you want to go out and see a show, I don't know what does.

Watch the band's Facebook page for updates and events as they unfold.




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