Blues challenge – Night 2
I returned to Beale Street on Friday night, this time withe Miki in tow, and we began again at BB Kings, where Blackburn had already take the stage, delivering a set no less powerful than the previous nights. We found a table, ordered a beer and settled down to watch Ali Penney & the money makers, and a number or two by Boa & the Constrictors before nipping in to Superior just in time to catch the last two numbers by The Swamp Doctors, who were truly exceptional. Their stock in trade being a supertight blues-funk. Following them was Art Harris and the Z-Tones, with a guitar/sax/drums double bass line-up that swung. Miki was particularly amused by the antics of the double bass player, who spanked, spun and rode his instrument like a 2-bit floozie! Great entertainment, and they seemed to have cranked it up a little since the previous night, perhaps mindful this was make-or-break time with the judges.
A technical hitch meant that by the time we entered the Rum Boogie Cafe, Crossroads Blues band were only just taking the stage, and they delivered a good set that built well, like the previous night, but didn’t quite have the same spark. Then we were in for a treat. Mo’Blues, an Argentinian band who I’d not seen, proceeded to rip up the rule book and put some rock in to the blues, with earth-shattering bass and virtuoso lead guitar, with every rock’n;’roll pose in the book thrown in for good measure. Playing each others guitars, playing them behind their heads, you name it, they did it. Great showmen, and the crowd loved them.
Miki thought they’d clinched the night. But she hadn’t seen the Nico Wayne Toussaint band the night before. Four sharp-dressed dudes took to the stage. Not the youngest men in the room, but jumpin’ to the jive like young kids, and performing with clinical aplomb. Professionalism oozed from every pore. Supremely confident Nico owned the stage blowing up a storm with his harmonica, ably abetted by Josh “The Pitbull of Blues” Rowand on the lead guitar. Flitting between a trio of fine axes, he let his fingers do the talking, and he had a helluva lot to say. The came, they played they delivered. At the time of writing, I don’t know if they won their venue or not, but I can’t see any other outcome.
We left Beale behind for another night, still marvelling at this pot of gold at the end of my personal musical rainbow.
Pics by Miki