Women of Rock taking the stage - by Stefan
(Left to right, Tak, Diane, Michael, Keli, Caroline)

Women of Rock

Conyers' Pavilion

Conyers, Georgia
Friday August 20th, 1999

by Stefan

Every once in a while the stars align and something extraordinary happens. Several people in Conyers got to witness just such an event as Caroline Aiken, Keli Mercadante, and Diane Durrett performed at the Conyers' Pavilion courtesy of Java House. The Women of Rock show, which brings together several local artists, was performed in the outdoor pavilion as thunderstorms passed by to the East providing welcome cool breezes.

I had a little trouble finding the place and it was further away than I had planned, so I missed the opening band. But they were still setting up and doing the sound check so I didn't miss much. [ A map for you ]

Pix - Shelley from Java House
(Shelley from Java House - Photo by Stefan)

Pretty soon Shelley came on stage and introduced the women. There was some interesting and funny feedback coming from the speakers, so Keli led them on a series of chants, mocking the feedback hum, and everyone laughed. Eventually the problem was resolved and the show began. Each women sang one song then gave the stage up to the next singer. They each did about six songs which lasted almost two hours.

Caroline Aiken - photo by Stefan First up was local cult icon Caroline Aiken. Although an underground folk heroine nationwide, she is never so well received as when she's playing her hometown of Atlanta. She played several of the crowds favorites as well as a few new songs and one or two cover tunes too. She made a point to plug Mother's Finest who she announced is on tour in Europe and with popular support could return to Atlanta soon.
Keli Mercandante - photo by Stefan Next up was Keli Mercadante without her band, the Wild West Picture Show. She performed several of her own songs and some of the WWPS songs. On several occasions Caroline Aiken joined in singing backup vocals.

Batting clean-up, all the way from Nashville Tennessee, Diane Durrett took the stage. Her style of blue-eyed-jazz really had the crowd going wild. Her song in memory of her mother had Keli rapt in awe.

What's most memorable about Diane, besides her great voice of course, is her movement. When she sings she expresses her feeling by moving her whole body which brings you into her music.

The show at the Conyers pavilion was sponsored by Java House and several others. It's part of a summer program that brings music out to the people. The pavilion was set up with close to 200 lawn chairs and many people brought their own blankets and had picnics. It was a real family atmosphere. There were even several little children dancing in front of the stage.
Gary - the soundman

There are people behind every fun event that don't usually get recognition. But Caroline made sure the thank Gary several times throughout the show. He did a pretty good job scarring the gremlins away from the equipment.

When I took this picture he was in total darkness. But the flash makes it look like he was under the lights doesn't it?

Meanwhile Karen and Cheryl collected the money for tickets and helped sell the many CDs available. But they swear they have no affiliation with Java House. Hmmm, it makes me wonder?

Money launderers

After the show everyone stayed around to talk to friends and meet the singers. Many collected autographs. It was a really fun evening, and even though it was 11pm, I don't think anyone wanted to leave.

Keli and her guitar player/husband Michael Koepenick

Several people commented that Keli wasn't as active during the show as usual. No real dancing and high kicks - looking at this picture I wonder if there's something I don't know? Do you?

Keli and Michael
Diane Durrett and her guitar player Tak Nakazawa try to collect up all their stuff.Tak Nakazawa

Questions, comments, and corrections always welcome.

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Updated 3 Jun 2002
© 2002 By Stefan Oestreicher
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