Written by Rayanna Barker
Aug 15, 2003 at 08:00 PM
Steve BurnsEveryone has to start somewhere. For Steve Burns, this was the beginning. As the beloved host of Blue’s Clues left the blue screen world of felt and imaginary castmates, many wondered where he would end up. The answer: A club tour through the western states of the US promoting his new album, Songs for Dustmites.Gone are the hordes of children, who, even if it was before their bedtime, wouldn’t have made it into the 21+ club. In their place are college students and the occassional mother who ventured out to see what Burns had dreamed up for his live show. Those who had previewed Songs for Dustmites had a general idea, but those who came out solely to see Burns in person were blown away by what they heard and saw.

Burns’ music is multi-layered rock in the same vein as the Flaming Lips. Backing up Burns for the show was the Starlight Mints, who definitely come from the same musical tastes. Also flanking the set were a set of video recordings Burns produced to add a sense of storytelling to the set. Whether it be film of Burns drumming on the Thinking Chair, an angelic Dustmite ascending to the heavens or a friend dancing like a madman, the film clips gave the songs even more depth and added to the event.

For Burns, this was his second performance ever. A chance to learn from the first night and tighten up, but still not early enough to have all the kinks worked out of his performance. This was clear in his continued watching of the film clips to check for timing. Surprisingly (and pleasantly) the band was tight enough and rehearsed enough to stay on track and not miss a beat.

The pinnacle for the band was as they kicked into the higher-tempo parts of Mighty Little Man, the video of Burns’ friend dancing like a lunatic would appear in unison. It’s moments like these that make or break a performance and they all seemed to go right for Burns.

The Dustmite flies away...Despite the tightness of the band, you could sense a bit of jitters from Burns as he nervously talked to the audience between songs. Even pointing out how “different it is to be in front of three-dimensional people.” Life in front of the blue screen had definitely not prepared Burns for the spectable of being placed in front of a group of judgmental fans with only your creations to protect you.

However, through it all Burns kept the audience entralled in the music and those who had been listening to the album, from his website or picked up when it was released a few days earlier in the week, singing along.

It’s just the beginning for Burns, but at the end of the night no one was mentioning the little blue dog who had been Burns’ friend for so long. Instead, they were wondering how long it would be before Burns would be back to provide another night of entertainment for them and their friends, who they were dying to tell about the performance.