Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blues at the Upstage - Port Townsend, Washington

By Robert Horn

The talent coming to The Upstage in Port Townsend is very impressive. This has been true for a while now and seems to still be getting greater. In late May, the Upstaged hosted Pinetop Perkins, Roy Rogers and The Delta Rhythm Kings, Willie Big Eyes Smith Band, Mark Dufresne, Country Joe McDonald, and Marcia Ball and her band.

Peace, Love & BBQI was there for the Marcia Ball show. It was impressive to say the least. She arrived as the news reported about the horrific oil spill that’s impacting Gulf of Mexico and New Orleans. Many of her songs were about New Orleans where the band has had its roots. Songs like “Where Do You Go (When You Can’t Go Home)” and “Louisiana 1927” (which was about one of the devastating hurricanes to hit the area) caused the crowd to hang onto every word in respectful silence as she sang, but applaud long and loud afterwards. She talked about the need to help the fishermen out of work down there. Much of the music was typical of Marcia and New Orleans: a rousing call to party with songs like “New Orleans Is A Party Town” and “Watermelon Time.”

Marcia Ball Live: Down the RoadSax player Thad Scott delivered what may have been the best sax performance I have seen. Mike Keller on guitar was great, too. I was impressed with the rhythm section and talked with bass player Don Bennett after the show. Don’s known Maria since 1974, and has consistently played bass for many of those years with Marcia. The place was packed with people sitting on the stair steps and hanging out in the balcony window area. The band performed two encores, and clearly appreciated Marcia and her band going the extra mile.

When the time comes to nominate Blues Clubs for the BB Awards next year, consider The Upstage. Of course, I still love the old favorites like the Highway 99 Blues Club, Engels Pub, The Oxford, The New Orleans Creole Restaurant and Salmon Bay Eagles, among others, but it’s always good to consider another exceptional blues destination like The Upstage in Port Townsend. Congratulations....

No comments:

Post a Comment