By day, Kier Byrnes is Northeastern University’s mild-mannered director of operations for event management, organizing activities in campus venues such as Blackman Auditorium, the Fenway Center, and After Hours.
By night, Byrnes is a rock star, and he and his band — Three Day Threshold — take the stage at venues from Boston to Belgium.
Earlier this month, the band departed for a two-week tour performing for U.S. troops in Djibouti, Kuwait and Qatar. (Since the band wasn’t sure of its schedule beforehand, they printed tour T-shirts listing show locations as “classified.”)
“Part of being in show business is being flexible,” Byrnes said. “Whether you’re on the stage or one of the people working behind the curtains, the key in event management is to remember that we are here to help put on a show and keep everyone safe and happy.”
This trip to the Middle East marked the second time the band has rocked out for servicemen and -women overseas. Byrnes said he was stunned by a phone call in January 2008, when the Pentagon approached the band about traveling to Central America that July to entertain troops in Honduras.
That experience left a profound impact on the band, said Byrnes, vividly recalling a moment in which a bandmate spontaneously broke into a version of “God Bless America” during some downtime, and the troops immediately joined in. So they eagerly accepted this latest offer to perform in the Middle East, and support the men and women defending America abroad.
“We’re looking forward for this opportunity to serve the country,” said Byrnes, the band’s founder and a Northeastern alumnus. He earned his M.B.A. in 2001, and is working toward a doctorate in law and policy.
The band’s sound, according to Byrnes, is a blend of country, rock ’n’ roll and bluegrass, with a dash of his own Irish ancestry — to all of which he contributes vocals and his talents on the guitar, banjo and mandolin.
He’s been humbled by the success Three Day Threshold has enjoyed over the years. They recently released their sixth full-length album, and their songs have been used as soundtracks for TV shows on Fox, MTV, Spike TV, and the Discovery Channel. The band has also won numerous awards — including the Best Local Music Act in Boston Magazine’s “Best Of Boston” readers poll in 2010.
Besides accolades, Byrnes collects mini-flags of the countries the band has visited.
“Musicians are a crazy bunch to begin with. This is a great opportunity, and we’ll see a part of the world we’ve never been to before,” he said.