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  • Writer's pictureValana Spencer

Makayla Dawson @ Xanadu Beach Club

September 12, 2021

I first heard Makayla sing last week at Scarlet’s Hideaway. She was on stage, about halfway through her set, where I had arrived early to listen to Shaye Dezno’s first performance in several weeks. I loved Makayla’s voice and choice of songs, so afterwards, I introduced myself and we chatted bit. Armed with her performance schedule and a song list, I told her of my intent to blog her on a future concert.

While I was dressing for the occasion in that day's favorite, fire engine red skirt, off the shoulder top and matching 6-inch heels my cell phone announced an incoming message. It was from Makayla, letting me know that her sister, Mari Ryder, a new performer, was going to be filling in for someone at 4pm if I was interested in hearing her sing. Of course, I wanted to hear her! Looking at my watch I realized that I needed to get going or I would be late. From the limo I made a call to my co-blogger and dear friend, Aqua, to meet me there.

The limo dropped me at the Xanadu Beach Club, owned by Shame Cuddihy (shamelesshussy). An Outdoor venue, surrounded by water, white sand beaches, and palm trees. The covered stage built out of concrete and steel pipe, looks very patriotic with red, white, and blue flags hanging from the roof. The stage back drop is a beautiful, nighttime scene of New York City, in remembrance of the 9/11 20th anniversary. Below the stage a neon sign flashed informational reminders to the crowd. One which read: All Veterans “WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE”.

I was greeted by the friendly hostess, Sweet, the Manager, Saff Nevaka and club owner Shame Cuddihy. After having a quick conversation with Saff about my intent to blog Makayla and the club I noticed a small bar/concession stand nearby.

It was about 20 minutes until show time, so I bought myself a Rum and Coke and a slice of pizza. Yes, I do occasionally eat, non-liquid, carbs…… I took a seat on a round, cushioned bench located on the left-hand corner of the dance floor. In front of me was a small table, that to my delight was stocked with a variety of what appeared to be free liquor for guests. Free is good. Right? Munching on my pizza, I closed my eyes and savored that first bite. While chewing, I listened to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach and smelled the heavenly aroma of ocean air and tropical flowers.

Aqua arrived and we joined the dance line just as Mari was taking the stage. She sounded a little nervous at first but did a great job entertaining the crowd. Her best song was Clarence Carter’s “Strokin”. The audience went crazy, and everyone was crying with laughter. It was a great set. I look forward to seeing how things develop for Mari.

Makayla took the stage wearing black short- shorts and a green camo tank top. Joined by her band, Lacey Leathers on guitar and Ire Mae Stroheim Psychotic on Violin. Her sweet, rich voice, with just a hint of naughty or "cheeky" as Aqua called it, resonated over the stage area as she welcomed her guests and began performing.

The first song performed was “Be My Baby Tonight” – John Michael Montgomery, followed by “Boot Scootin Boogie” – Brooks & Dunn; “Love Bug” – George Strait; “That Wink” – Neal McCoy; “Don’t Close Your Eyes” – Keith Whitley; “Fancy Like” – Walker Hayes; “Biscuits” – Kacey Musgraves; “Jambalaya” – Hank Williams; “Baby Likes To Rock IT” – The Tractors; “No News” – Lonestar; “Love Me Like You Used To’ – Tanya Tucker; “Adalida” – George Straight; “Fast As You” – Dwight Yoakam; “All You Do Is Bring Me Down” – The Mavericks; and ending the set with “What A Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong. My favorite song? I couldn’t pick one, loved them all!

I spoke briefly with Makayla after the show. We discussed her thoughts on the show and what improvements she would like to make. Makayla was very positive and confident about her performance abilities and the outcome of her show. We ended our conversation with her final quote: “ I do it for the love of singing, so its all good."


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