Saturday, July 3, 2010

Red, White & Blues Festival - Day 1

The first day of the Red, White & Blues Festival at Boston’s on the Beach in Delray Beach started out hot and sunny and ended soaked. IKO-IKO started the three day festival off on the main stage and played an hour plus of their finest blues, finishing with their hit Crossroads and covered the famous New Orleans tune IKO IKO. I could listen to these guys all night - from Graham Wood Drout's singing to 'Good Rockin' Johnny Wenzel's lead guitar to Ron Taylor on keyboard to the rhythm section - Mitch Mestel and Daniel East. But that was not to be and while the main stage was dark between acts, one man band Ben Prestage became a crowd favorite at the Tiki Bar. This was the first time I got a chance to hear Prestage since Merlefest, and since he planned to play three sets that night - the first was all acoustic. The guy can play and with surprisingly deep, raspy vocals - he is a legitimate blues man. Nicole Hart followed on the main stage and was able to get an entire set in before the ominous rain clouds enveloped Delray Beach. She entertained the crowd with her sultry, soulful vocals while performing a few songs from her latest CD, Treasure - which was one of my favorite Blues CDs of 2009. This evening we heard the title track and "Heart Trouble" - great tunes. As her set ended we drifted back to the Tiki Bar anticipating another set by Ben Prestage when the skies opened and the downpour commenced and wouldn't stop - at least for the next hour. That's the chances you take holding a festival during Florida's raining season. Boston's then made an excellent decision to clear tables in the restaurant and move Tinsley Ellis indoors. Yes, it was crowded - but who cares, its Tinsley Ellis - right in front of you. The guy still has it and his supporting duo rocked; his drummer was awesome. And they played longer than expected - this allowed us to sneak out to hear Prestage's last set which I knew would include his trademark one-man band introduction playing his cigar box electric guitar. Throw in a little gospel and old school country blues - and I decided I couldn't miss his show later in the week at the Norton Museum of Art. We finished the evening listening to more of Tinsley Ellis and thinking that Boston's did a great job compensating for the weather and provided us with some amazing music. Can't wait to see what Day 2 will bring. And more photos are available at the MyJoog Gallery.

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