I’ve been hearing about the wildly popular Ukulele Night at Dana Street Coffee for a few months now and I finally had a chance to check it out last night. I arrived at 6:45, which was way too late to get a seat. The entire coffee shop was packed with people wearing Hawaiian shirts and playing all different shapes, colors and sizes of ukuleles. I counted 75 people and about 50 of them had instruments. I stood just inside the backdoor of the coffee shop. Eventually more people showed up to join the crowd but there wasn’t room so they stood in the alley and played their ukuleles outside. It was beautiful! The employees at Dana Street Coffee handled the big, hungry crowd wonderfully. There was a constant flow of hot sandwiches, salads and cappuccinos being prepared as the crowd strummed along under the guidance and direction of Dave Fichtner. Dave is the founder of the Ukulele Club of Silicon Valley. Many of the club members regularly come and play up on the small stage behind Dave as he teaches the entire room how to find the simple chords. He reassured the group that it was easy and anyone could learn how to play. The first half hour was a super easy lesson and Dave had some loaner ukes that he let people borrow. Then they all played Happy Birthday, Blueberry Hill, Yes Sir That's My Baby, Goodnight Sweetheart and many others. I really liked the goofy words to one of the songs that I video taped, “It ain’t gonna rain no more, no more, how in the heck can I wash my neck if it ain’t gonna rain no more?” It doesn’t matter at all how musically talented anyone is or isn’t; everyone played and sang and had a good time. I thought it was cute to see people stop strumming long enough to pick up their sandwich and take a bite. I would certainly recommend getting there early if you want to have a table or even a chair. I spoke with Nick Chaput, the owner of Dana Street Coffee, and he told me that people come from all over the bay area to attend this event. Many of these people used to drive over to Santa Cruz for a different ukulele gathering until this one started meeting in Mountain View about 8 months ago. Nick is happy to accommodate the group and loves that it’s such a welcoming group, regardless of age or musical ability. He pointed out that last night’s group included quite a few children.
Ukulele Night is the second Monday of every month, from 7 pm to 9 pm. But I’m telling you that you won’t be able to sit down if you show up at 7, trust me. Visit the Dana Street Coffee website for more details about Uke Jam and for other live music events. I just love downtown Mountain View.