Gator By The Bay "Zydeco, Blues,and Crawfish Festival"
Spanish Landing Park
San Diego, CA
Friday, May 12, 2017
Ben Rice Blues...What a start. The first act I see is Ben Rice, a bluesman who blows the stage up with his vocals and visceral command of the guitars he plays. You aren’t gonna hear a white guy playing music layered with soul, delta blues and roots with such conviction. This young man has paid attention to the masters who’ve preceded him and creates vocals and sounds all his own. The videos are shaky; nothing shaky about the performance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWxEAKITpO4&t=41s
The Bourbon Stage dance floor, heck, all four dance areas, are usually packed, especially for Blues bands; Photo R: Nathan Rivera and Jessie Andra Smith - Jazzy folk gypsy blues with a smattering of klezmer sensibility. The organizers aren’t locked in to name brands. The organizers aren’t locked in to name brands. They present a fabulous mix of musicians and styles. What the bands have in common is their ability to play at a high level and connect with an audience. The program is a version of musical tapas that introduces audiences to genres or styles that fly under the radar.
Big Jon Atkinson, Darrell Nulisch, Kid Ramos: Big Jon Atkinson, a young harmonica virtuoso, effortlessly pumps blues and soul into his solos with every breath he takes and every breath he exhales.Darrell Nulisch has been entertaining since 1978, has played his harmonica with Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters and sang vocals with Chicago bluesman James Cotton. Enough said.
Kid Ramos. Any musician who is an alumnus of The Fabulous Thunderbirds is gonna have the chops to command attention. Listen to him let loose on a solo, you’ll get the idea.
Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys Steve Riley, yes, of Mamou, Louisiana, started this band with David Greeley in 1988. The members have changed from time to time. What hasn’t changed is the quality of musicians: Sam Broussard, guitar; Kevin Wimmer, fiddle; Kevin Dugas, drums; and Brazos Huval, bass. The group remains the gold standard of Cajun bands. Festival Stage packed with dancers
Fun on dance floor; Buzz Campbell and Hot Rod Lincoln.Fine example of the San Diego music scene, relishes playing rockabilly and takes his band Hot Rod Lincoln along for the ride. They weren’t well miked but his Roy Orbison covers were cool.
Dennis Jones Blues Band - Jones got his feet wet playing rock n roll as a kid, discovered the blues and his voice to convey it. When Jones plays the blues, the postage stamp dance floor in front of the Bourbon Stage is packed, hell, any dance floor will fill up when Jones gets going with slide guitar and made-for-blues vocals.
For 21 years and counting, Chubby Carrier has embraced the importance of connecting with his audience, whether in a parking lot somewhere in southwest Louisiana to the Montreaux Jazz Fest (really!) in Switzerland. He and The Bayou Swamp Band bring an infectious party atmosphere, the audience feels it and boomerangs that energy right back to those guys on the stage. The apple fell right under the tree. His father, Roy Carrier; his grandfather, Warren Carrier, and his cousins, Bebe and Calvin Carrier, are all Zydeco Hall of Fame musicians.
Photos by Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.