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March 06, 2005

Hot Date, Hot Blues in North Beach!!

So, this was "date night" for the husband and I. He took a few nights off this week. All day long we were asking each other what we were gonna do.

Finally, he says, "well, what would you be doing if we weren't going out together?"

That was a no brainer I said, "North Beach for Ron Hack and Daniel Castro!"

He said, "Well....let's go then".

He never wants to go out and hear music the way I do, although my honey is a HUGE music appreciator. He's more open-minded than me when it comes to styles and likes all sorts, including Blues. As a matter of fact...he turned me onto Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, for the first time. We've seen SRV a couple of times, B.B. King, Johnny Winter, and some others, and I took him to hear Daniel Castro one time at the Baltic.

He's a big fan of Daniel and his live CD, and of some of Hacker's stuff, so this North Beach night was soundin' interesting to him as well.

The first time we went to see Daniel was at the Baltic. Michael Emerson wasn't there and we all know what that means. Burton was brand new in the band at that time too. It was a so-so nite.
I told him, "Just you wait...."

So, keeping our fingers crossed, we ventured out to eat, then to North Beach. Just the drive alone was an adventure. The best part was when a huge piece of cardboard, I'm talkin' heavy-duty appliance cardboard, came flying from under a bus in front of us and "Smack!" right into our windshield. We thought we were dead not knowing what the hell it was! It hit real hard with such force, I thought it was coming thru for sure. That was an eye-opener.

We did good and we didn't argue once during the whole drive. A few more S.F. close-calls, but we made it.

Well...everyone of the usual band members, for both bands, were in the house(s). The Hacksaws, and Danny's band, were all present and accounted for. It was a glorious site to see Michael walking out of the bathroom as we were standing at the bar up at Grant & Green.

Daniel started up first and this opening number could not be topped.... all....night.... long!! I don't know what song it was, we'll just call it the "opening number", but it was way over the top!!! Damn, he is such a master!!! After it ended, Daniel says, "Thank you and good night everybody!" My sentiments exactly!!!

It was a "hair-puller" for sure.

We stayed there for a few then it was off to the Saloon for Hacker. I was anxious for Al to hear this guy. It was a pretty good night there. Those Hacksaws were on it. Al was most amazed at all the sound coming out of this little band, and he was impressed with the little "duct-taped acoustic" he calls it.

Damn..... we think so much alike, it's scary. Musically speaking that is. I never realized this before!! He thought all the stuff I thought about the shows thru out the night. He said everything I was thinking and believe me....I sometimes talk about my bluesin' journey's the next day, but I hardly think he listens to everything I say. Imagine that.

Throughout the night, I kept asking him, "So, what do you think?" I'll be damned if he didn't say exactly what I was thinking!! I guess after 21 years it shouldn't be too surprising but, you have to understand that we live in different worlds for the most part. We know NEVER to talk politics.

We shared all the same view points about the shows, and the blues scene in general, so my feelings about alot of things are validated because I know what a music fan he is. I respect his taste and what he expects out of show. He is there for the music and the music only. Not a social creature, niether of us are for that matter, we are there for one thing and one thing only. Yeah, I'm "full of myself" for it, I guess.

Walking between venues, I said ONLY this....."That's weird. I have NEVER seen him do that before." I won't go into where, why, or with whom it was, due to repercussions, but it was the best line I've ever heard, and I couldn't have said it better. I fell in love with him all over again after he said it, and it was, "They should save that sh*t for the garage"

North Beach was hot!!
Both venues stayed relatively full.
We both agreed on one thing for sure....Daniel Castro is a master and puts on one "classy" show. (Husband's words)
Not once did he let up, but only for a moment to let Michael shine. Deservingly so. This guy is one of the best on keys.

Burton Winn on bass, T. Moran on drums, just the tightest.
Daniel NEEDS to go places. He NEVER treats a show as just a barroom show, NEVER gives less due to what he's gettin' paid. It's consistant at every show. unless of course some members are MIA.

I was wonderin' one thing, tho.....what does one do if there's NO cover AND no tip jar to be found????? That was the case with Daniel's show.

After a couple of sets, we paid the bands, and left. After all....we had other things to do before the night was thru. Talkin' of our bluesin' journeys on the way home, I thought to myself, "I have me a new blues buddy and we have much in common."

Thanks to The Saloon, Grant & Green, Hack and Daniel, for showing this old married couple a pretty darn good time!!

Good luck to Ron Hacker and his Hacksaws on their European tour and knock em dead!!


Posted by Mo at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2005

Wendy, Workman, Willy and Winn on a Wednesday Nite!!

So....after a brief nap, the blues crew started gathering at the
house with one to pick up along the way.

Got parking with ease and we were there!

The moon was full but in all, it was a tame crowd. A few eccentrics
but pretty tame.

I have to say that these two "honeymooners" are just so awesome
together. Dave Workman and Wendy DeWitt. They play together as if they are making love thru their music. I swear that's the best i can explain it. They work off each other giving equally to the others needs. No selfishness here and they seem to want to satisfy each other.

It was blowing me away the way they would work off eachother. It
would build up to a climatic bit. It was like a FEW guitar duos I've
heard where the guitars feed off each other without the steppin' on
one another or shreddin'. Just conversating but with passion.

[I have a hard time explaining music not being very articulate and
failing english, and all.]

One would be off in sololand while the other will be backing up with
lots of interesting stuff. The foreplay was intense. Wendy is one classy lady and when Dave went off into his space on that guitar(which he did several times), she didn't bother bringing
him back. She just let him go. Real classy lady and they both support each other well on stage.

Wendy's singing is just a melter with that smooth sexy feel to it. Her playing is just getting better and better with each time I hear
her. She's a commanding lady on stage when it's her show as well she
should be. Man...can she play!!! If she keeps going the way she's going, bigger things will be in store for her, for sure. Very talented lady this Wendy DeWitt.

Dave's playing has mellowed out a lot!! I guess it might be so he
doesn't step all over Wendy (what a guy), he has toned it down quite
a bit. This was alright with me cuz when he gets rippin', it'll blow
your eardrums out!! Especially in the Saloon. Don't get me wrong....I love that rippin' stuff of Dave's and miss it and need it every so often, but it would've killed the whole Wendy
effect, for sure. Instead he played ever so gently. It was so delicate and intricate I was having a hard time believing what I was hearing coming from this guy. It was playing that had a real fresh crispness to it. It was tantilizing and teasing.

I'm a caressing/tickling kinda gal and this was some awesome foreplay
for sure. Very intricate, clean, soft, and just beautiful guitar. None like I've heard before from Dave Workman.

Like I said....it was as if they were making sweet love thru their
playing. I guess we could call it, "Blues porn" but that wouldn't
serve it justice cuz it was too sweet and gentle for porn.

So...the rhythm section, Willy Jordan and Burton Winn were good playing together. It was so cool to see Willy there. He played great. Burton...well....we all know about Burton. Be sure to congratulate Burton on his quitting smoking next time you
see him. Going on 11 weeks now and man is that a major accomplishment!! He did it on the gum and even socialized outside
with the smokers!! Congratulations, Burton!!

It just dawned on me tho.... if Burton was there, who was playing
with Daniel Castro at Lou's?? They were there on the same night.

We left after two sets cuz 4 a.m. was appraoching real fast. It was all I needed to hear to know that this couple has joined together not
only in lives...but on stage thru their music is a togetherness
that feels as though it will last always.


Posted by Mo at 06:47 PM | Comments (1)

Johnny Nitro Benefit at The Saloon

Now that I've gone and heard all my Specter CDs, I'm into Ronnie
Earl. His stuff with Daryl Nulish is wonderful. I need more of him.

So after the Mojo Lounge, we bailed, stopped for a coffee and a
burger, and then into SF. Yep, it was a three bridge nite. What a beautiful sight coming from the East Bay into The City. The best approach by far.

It was early enough to get in the Nitro Benefit at the Saloon before
the night was through.

(I forgot til this AM that Alvon was at Rumours in Oakland. I am
still wanting to get there for that show one evening)

So, we weaved our way thru the city and voila!.... we're in North
Beach. Parking a piece of cake, walked up, and they were already at

The place was a hoppin'! Packed. Squeezed up to the front and there they were; an all-girl blues band tearin' it up.

That was fun. First for me was this little Yoko chick on guitar. Oh my lord.....can she play!!! "Sylvia's Sisters," I do believe was the name of the band.

Lots of people came and went on stage, as you would expect from a
Nitro show, but here's a few of my personal favorite highlites:

Nitro when he really started playin'. Never too much Nitro and never

Stan Erhart when he got up there. Caught him twice now sittin' in on
occasions, and it's always too busy on stage to fully appreciate his
playing so I'm gonna have to get to a show of his soon. Fine guitar

Tommy Castro popped in for a few and tore...it...up!!! He hits those real sensitive spots. That's all I can say.

Daniel Castro was around the whole evening and finally got on stage
for a couple of songs and that was it. I just love it when this guy gets up there. He had a couple of those great magical, moments he's so famous for like when he and Andy Mazelli were goin' back and forth.

Daniel was doin' that "doo-doo-doo" stuff he sings into the mic,
usually along with his guitar playin', but this time Andy would mimic
his "scoobie-doobie-doo-in" with his guitar licks and it was incredible!!!

That was a great moment that had Johnny and Silvia stopped dead in
their tracks, takin' notes.

The moment right after that was when Daniel, Nitro, and Andy, were
trading licks, taking their time, sharing, building up ever so gently
with much restraint until it could hold back no more. They slowly came together, musically speaking, and walking closer together 'til they had three guitar necks joined together, two criss-cross then Andy shot right up the middle and they were joined together like it was Super hero time!! It was amazing. Shazam!!

They joined forces, bouncin' off each other and it was great. Sure, we had lots of those shreddin' moments. The ones where it's just a bunch of noise, blows your eardrums out, and leaves you standin' there lookin' at the stage like, "What the hell?" but this one was
different. It was magic. Like I said, the joining of superpowers.
(Thanks Terri for that one).

Next would be Rich "North Beach Peach" Piellish (sp?). He would be the one to tune up the guitar that was for the raffle so's everyone could play it before they gave it away. He got up there and BELTED out "I Ain't Drunk. I've Just Been Drinkin." It was too cool. Man, he can play, this I knew, but I didn't realize he could sing!!

It was fabulous. Thanks Peach. It was comical. He really gets into that song and does it very well.

Not sure who that drummer was but he was great. Tom Bowers on bass
always holdin' it steady.

Andy Mazelli throws surprises out there every so often and the one on
this night was a bluegrass of sorts and I can't remember the tune's
name but we all know it.... something about Tennessee...Arkansas,

I hate that......it'll come to me. It was a bit off the blues course but everyone following along beautifully and even joined in the "twangy" harmonizing back up vocals.

I wish I could remember that song, dammit! Real fun night and I was about to collapse. I was spent.

I think Johnny made out pretty good, and let us wish him a speedy
recovery after his operation.

Posted by Mo at 05:51 PM | Comments (0)

Dave Specter/Steve Freund show in Fremont

I am so glad I made it out to this show!! It was just as I remember but only better. Dave Specter is just so damn good.

He's a Chicago jewel that we had the honor of having play
right here in the bay area for a mini-tour. I just wish I would've made it to a show the was a bit longer but aaah well...my fault, I guess.

The way he and Freund interact, or communicate, with them guitars is
nuthin' short of amazing!! I was in heaven, especially when the two of them would be playing together and just bouncin' off each other, trading licks. I could have listened to that all night long and nothing else. Masterful stuff. It was heaven.

Aaaah sweet guitar gods cleanse my soul and then it happened......
it ruined the whole momentum that was goin'.

Dammit, the marquee said DAVE SPECTER AND STEVE FREUND, right??

Call me a whiner but.... driving an hour and a half for a total of an
hour, if that, of Specter was not what I intended. Hell...it was
already a short two-set night!!

If I wanted a jam, I would go out on Jam night, or to a Johnny Nitro
show. (More on that show later)

This guy comes out here ONCE A YEAR and he should not be leaving the
stage for no one, no how, NEVER!! I don't care about "Chicago tradition" we're not in Chicago and neither was Dave. He was on tour, no?

I endured sleets of rain on near white-out conditions, on a dangerous
highway for an hour and a half, sucked up a half tank of gas, hurried my ass off at a 9-hour work day with absolutely NO BREAKS just to make it on time, and this is what I get??!!

I was about to leave, I was so heart-broken, but I do love all the
local players that were up there although I was not happy about it,
at all. Dave came a long ways, as well as we did, and dammit it just ain't right.

I love ALL the locals that were up there but I can go see these fabulous players any 'ol time.

Dave should never leave the stage, when out here "on tour," for no
one, ever. He is just too damn good for that.

Sorry to offend anyone. I wasn't gonna say nuthin' and was told I
shouldn't, but I'm still reelin' over this.

Please don't be mad at me, Spencer Jarret, Chris "Kid" Andersen, Johnny Cat, James reed, and whoever else was up there. Especially you, Scott Brenton. You know I love ya all but you have to understand what a fan I am of Dave's and have been long before I even heard of Steve Freund or any of the other bay area players. Before I started steppin' out on the scene. He's one my guitar hereos.

Great to see and hear, Dave. Even if was only for an hour. I'll be listening to all of his CDs all day, hoping it will give me
that fix, but it just ain't the same. Thanks for bringing him out once again, Steve. You guys are amazing up there together. Just too damn amazing, I guess.

Just a whiny, frustrated Specter fan....

Posted by Mo at 05:41 PM | Comments (1)

Sonny Lowe at Jasper's w/David Burke!!/Blind Curve

Went out to Sonny Lowe's jam night last night out at Jasper O'Farrell's in Sebastopol.

Picked up blues bud, Dee, since she lives right on the highway which takes you there.

It was a real good night.

"Tall" Paul Dowding on bass. He's got a band he's starting up of his own (self-titled). They do blues covers and he writes too!! He's the guitarist and singer for the band. Gonna check that out sometime.

James Foster on drums and as always, he was on fire.

Those two guys are one of the tightest soundin' rhythm sections and have gotten better with each time I hear them together.

David Burke was there on that gitar, and words can't describe how much I enjoy this guy's playing. He took us a some incredible journeys. What is it about this guy, and where does he come up with this stuff? He's got some a great voice too.

Sonny Lowe was in great form with his harp and singing. He hosted a real nice jam. But this seemed to be more than just a jam.

After one of the best sets I've ever heard from Sonny and band,
The second set started out with a whole 'nother band called, "Blind Curve." This was an actual band and not a jam.

None-other-than Jake Richmond on guitar!!!! Man, can this guy play some stingin' stuff.

James Foster was the drummer for them too so he hardly left the stage, as usual. He is there usual drummer. I guess he's in a few different bands including a "other-than-blues" band. He really mixes it up and keeps it interesting.

Didn't get the bassist's name for Blind Curve, or the singer's, but let me tell you something....she can sing!!!

They kicked it in a bit more, and even threw in a slow blues. They had some outstanding original material. Very original soundin' too. All the changes, ups and downs, it was definitely an original sounding rock/blues band.

The crowd loved them and one can tell they've been practicing. It was said they have a CD of some sort coming out.

I will be keepin' an eye out for them and you should too.....

A few more changes on stage.....a couple of dudes from "Free Peoples," another local band I haven't seen, but heard of, got up there and turned us on to something different. Wouldn't say they're strictly blues but very talented indeed. They had a real nice sound and directed the band thru some tricky stuff. I've heard that band packs them in.

Evan Morgan was there on guitar. He was sounding good. Been a long while since I've seen him.

Great night of jammin' and more.
Sonny Lowe and band were sounding real tight.
Why I wait so long to catch this event, is beyond me.
Thank You, Sonny. You are a wonderful host.

Jasper's has been sold, I was told. Hear they weren't planning on making changes but we'll see.......

Posted by Mo at 12:46 PM | Comments (1)