Page One

Free concert, sunshine draw listeners dowtown

Friday June 07, 2002

Somewhere between home and work is the BART station, an area transit, a there that is not there. Today, it was the unlikely destination for over a hundred people who gathered around Brenda Boykin and her backup band to enjoy some blues and jazz in the sweltering afternoon heat.  

The event was presented by the Downtown Berkeley Association, and is part of free concert series that will bring music to the Downtown Berkeley Plaza every Thursday through July. Roy Ayer’s “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” would have seemed like a more appropriate number for the concert’s weather and setting, but Boykin sang Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Surprisingly, it worked every bit as well out of the dimly-lit night club that one would think is essential to establishing that song’s wan mood. 

It was this same element that made the performance enjoyable for Boykin.  

“There is something about playing outside where many people who don’t go to night clubs can drop by. They’re really enthusiastic, and it’s in the middle of the day and they’re giving you joy,” added Boykin, “For me it was beautiful.”  

The rest of the band, guitarist, Eric Swinderman, bass player, Brenda Boykin and drummer, John Hayes wielded their instruments with the same precision as Boykin did hers. An appreciative crowd gave a hearty round of applause as each soloed at different points throughout the performance. 

Those in attendance were a healthy mix of the young and the young at heart. Some people seemed like they planned on attending the event, and others obviously stopped while passing by. Some sat in the shade of the a large awning, others milled about, enjoyed weather and danced.  

Check for information on upcoming performances at