Did you make it for at least one of the shows on our Blues Blowout Weekend? I’m still recovering from three nights of fun.
St. Pete Blues Allstars – sold out. Backtrack Blues Band CD release party – sold out. Chris Thomas King, impeccable bluesman and star of O Brother Where Art Thou – filled to capacity. The Side Door was the place to be.
There’s more great music to come in July and August, with Damon Fowler, Billy Seward and his horn band, Soufonic, Gypsy Star, The Stolen Idols, plus lots more.
This Friday is one that all my male blues pals have been waiting for – the arrival of Lauren Mitchell and her band at the Side Door. Lauren delivers the goods – rock, soul and blues, and she looks great doing it.
But don’t believe me – check out this item from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Scenestress:
By The Scenestress, Herald-Tribune
In a dark, industrial neighborhood near Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, a comfy hideaway ensconces a happy crowd and a rockin’ band while bold strikes of lightning crackle in the distance.
I credit the buzz of energy here to The Lauren Mitchell Band live on stage, with their eponymous lead singer looking sassy in denim and red high heels, purring and roaring into the microphone and tossing her curly mop about with true rock star abandon. When I arrive, she’s on stage, visibly feeling the music, lifting and lowering her very well-defined eyebrows and gesticulating wildly with a single diva-esque hand. From “Beast of Burden” to “Pride and Joy,” the band sticks on soul, jazz and rock favorites that Lauren can sexify with a wink or a hand running up her torso and through her hair.
But each of the musicians is in his respective zone. Mike Hensley on keyboards closes his eyes and raises his shoulders when playing accent notes, savoring each keystroke like a delicious bon-bon. Michael Dempsey on bass and Howlin’ Bob on guitar do their standing, strumming thing, but once I notice drummer Step in the back I can hardly take my eyes off him. He’s got a wide, toothless grin and a Buddha-like stance on his seat, looking oh-so-cool in his shades and occasionally playfully flailing his sticks in a wide crisscross for dramatic effect. And his feather earrings rival Lauren’s!
Patrons get up from their seats on more than one occasion and they’re actually dancing — like with steps and twirls and all that good stuff. When the band does “Piece of My Heart,” everyone sings along with Ms. Mitchell, whom I could swear was Janis Joplin with my eyes closed, and throws their hands in the air, generating a shared excitement and aliveness between performer and audience that spreads all across the room.
We had to turn people away last Friday and Saturday when the shows sold out. Don’t let that be you this week. Get your tickets early for Lauren’s show. Showtime is 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $12 advance and $15 at the door. For tickets and info visit www.mypalladium.org