Monday, March 16, 2015

Better late than...(than an hour early to the Coral Gables Blues Fest, like Allen Kanovsky likes to be!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 03/16/15

..never reflects of lots of times when you are hanging with Charlie Boyer (esteemed but often tardy publisher of this on-line pub). We missed the first act, A.N.T., of yesterdays Coral Gables BLUES Fest at Fritz & Franz Bierhaus. They are the closing act today so we will make amends. Hurricane Hawk & The Invaders were next and so here goes. Hawk is Hawk Levy (harp), the Invaders are Kenny Clarke (Keyboard), Kenny Z (bass) and Jeff Laforte on drums. The band swings, the band rocks, the band plays the BLUES. 

Opening with "Hey Sweet Baby" then moving to N'Awlins with "Stay Away". "Give It Up" and "Bring It Home To Me" had Kenny Clarke showing us some real good stuff. Their 2nd set opened with a boogie, "Some Kind Of Woman". Kenny Z joins Kenny C. on 8 beat solid solos. They play Otis Rush's hit "All the Loving" with a quote of "Folsom Prison" included in awks solo. They close with a rocker, "If It Was Up To My Momma". A solid performance is all I can say.

It's 5 PM and that's lunchtime for guys who stay up late. Schnitzel, German beer, brats, German beer, giant pretzels, German beer. We take shelter inside and miss the next band because we partake of the aforementioned. Not to mention the couple of gals we chatted up. We take leave of the fair maids (I'm sure none of them were 'maidens'. Blair Crimmins & the Hookers are setting up for their set. None of them are 'hookers' in the way we use the term today. Blair does the vocals and plays guitar and banjo. On upright bass, Justin Roberts. Colin Agnew handles the stick work. Horns include Sam LoBlue (trombone), Darren English (trumpet) and Taylor "wishbone" Kennedy doubling on clarinet tenor & bari sax. There is no doubt where their sound is from. They are out of Atlanta but apparently have a  permanent visa to NOLA and man o' man they let you know. Bourbon Street, Second line, Cajun, Delta, all of it dished up and played well. Opening with Blair singing "Little Red Train". The audience is up and watching some solo dancers doing their stuff. "Lock That Door"  and "State Hotel" were next. More & more folks are dancing. Seated next to me are Angela and John and they are up as well. "Tonight" slows it down a bit but not too much. "Wishbone" introduces the next tune with a 'klezmer' like clarinet coda leading to the tune "Scratching My Head". If you want speed to count than you have to play "Run That Rabbit Down". Banjo and all. If you come from Louisiana and play music it's best you know "Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie Meo Mio". I take a chance with my life and ask Angela to dance.

John is a tall, good looking man. He shows some muscle too. Hey, if you die, you die. We do some fancy steps and smile a lot while doing them. You can see by the pix below she's quite a pretty lady. All that happens while Darren is playing some TRUMPET. Strange things happen. I've just danced with Angela and the band now plays "Oh, Angela". That's for all you faithless out there. Blair's banjo playing intros "All Over Now" and Wishbone plays bari for "I Just Can't Make Her Smile". They do a really cool "Georgia" and then a happin' "Sweet Georgia Brown". They add a little country with some kind of "twirl'---I guess. Now the 'second line' "You Gotta Go To Mardi Gras" and a very, very good trumpet solo. A really young, really pretty girl is nearby shaking her shoulders. Mom is close by. Her name is Tiana. "Pardon me , Miss. Would you like to dance?" A shy look on her face. Demurely, "Yes". She and I had a good time dancing. A smile on her face all the while. 

The audience wouldn't let the Hookers go. The encore was "Mean, Mean Man" and they played their hearts out for an appreciative audience. Sat down to watch the lovely Anna Castelazo managing a 'brat' sandwich.

Next up was Ori Naftaly band. Ori on guitar, a bass, a drummer and one of the sexiest vocalists I've seen on stage in a long time. Amend that to read "BLUES" vocalists. --- Kitt Kat and --- excluded. 

They opened with an uptempo morphing to a slow drag beat and a fantastic guitar solo. The signer, Eleanor Tsaig, did a series of dynamic songs including "I Feel Fine", "Happy For You", "Do It To Me" and an impassioned "How Much Of A Slave Can I Be".  That is when I ran out of power on my note taking telephone. No pen, pencil or paper in sight.

My eyesight and hearing were still in good shape (considering my 83 years) and I really enjoyed just sitting back and listening and watching. Inside Fritz & Franz, Jeff Prine was setting up as the final band of the night. He has Digo on bass, an unnamed young drummer and recent English import Matt
Schofield on second guitar and vocals. Of course Ms. Juanita Dixon will join in and sing the BLUES. Jeff and the band started the program with what I think was the first tune Jeff ever played. Of course, he's much better at it now. Following was "I Got the Same Old Blues" with Matt playing a ***** solo. 
They get funky with "Sugar Was Never So Sweet". 

Juanita steps up and gets it jumping with "Let the Good Times Roll". Every gal in the audience who has two legs is up and shaking what's on top of them. 

Now Juanita does "On Shaky Ground". Juanita has an extensive repertoire including "BLUES Is My Business" and "Drinking My Wine and Singing the BLUES". When she does "My Taxi Driver" she has Elaine up and shaking it and even Charlie is bobbing his head. The set ended with "Superstition". 

Charlie and I were dragging a-- and headed home up the highway of pain (I-95) --- more to come Sunday...   

Al's Disclaimer:
A short note: The reason I write this is because I love music and words. I do not book acts. I do not promote acts. I do not accept invitations to review artists. I go to venues of my own choice. When and where is not influenced by anything other than who I would like to hear that night or day. If I don't like what I hear, I won't write about it. When I like it I let you all know. I never mention a name without asking permission. "Pardon me, Miss. Would you like to dance?" 

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