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KING OF THE ROOTS BATTLE OF THE BANDS FEATURING EAST ASH ST. BAND, BIG MEDICINE, BIG MUDDY, SERIOUS
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Friday July 20, 2007       The Blue Note, Columbia

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LAS DESTERRADAS

      This was going to be one of those long and busy nights for me.  With the paying job keeping me busy and not much to deal with in other parts of my life, I come across a night with two shows I want to check out.  Given the quandary between which to miss out on or check out, I decided to go for broke and check both of them out.  Would I succeed?  Would I fail?  Let’s start for the first show and see what I managed to accomplish as an audience member.

 

      I arrived at the Note partway through Las Desterrada’s set.  This sextet plays and eclectic leaning type of blues rock with some Latin and jam band elements.  Drums and congas lay down the grooves while nylon string flamenco style guitar battles with overdriven electric guitar work for the collection of originals and covers (I think the ratio was 3:2 in favor of their own stuff, but I missed the first song so don’t quote me on that one).  Never heard these guys before but I have to admit I’m kinda curious.

 

      Up next was the Serious Blues Band, who Keith of Big Medicine encouraged me to check out.  This quintet is straight ahead electric blues fueled by raunchy electric guitars and overdriven harmonics.  They mainly focused on covers but managed to get a feel pretty close to a juke joint.  I admit I would’ve like to hear some originals, but SBB musically pulled off their set pretty well.

 

      I never heard Big Muddy before they played the middle slot of the night.  Basically, these guys kept to a no frills classic blues/R&B set staying with the covers route.  Musically they come off as a bar band delivering the goods to a crowd wanting to hear “Mustang Sally” (which they actually played) than a stone blues or roots band.  However, the crowd danced to the music, which was an indicator at that case.

 

   

EDDIE, KEITH, AND SAM OF BIG MEDICINE
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  Then Big Medicine came on and all things were about to change.  As readers of this zine have read in here a lot of times before, once again they tore through a too brief set of originals (some newer stuff, some of Eddie’s older songs) that was hot rodded roots rock with blues and country footing played as if the world was going to explode. While the set was only five songs, Big Medicine played with no apologies.  Admittedly I’m biased but these guys rock – even though the band faced a massive obstacle in the way.

 

     I never heard East Ash St. Band before tonight though they’d been around for a while (partly due to the controversy surrounding their name).  Being as I was in a hurry I was only able to catch one song by the band.  Given the nature of the night, the song I saw was an expanded blues song (A Muddy Waters cover, I believe) more than the jam band music they’ve gotten a local following from.  Due to that I wasn’t able to fully judge for myself about them so I will have to see them later before I can judge.

   

   Due to a chance I had to take, I had to miss seeing Caulfield and the Magic and Celandine’s sets for the bill, figuring if things had already happened I could come back.  Later I learned that one of the other bands might have sabotaged Big Medicine by turning down the tone controls on Eddie’s amp to zero.  Whether it was an accident or done on purpose by one of the other bands is impossible to know, even in retrospect.  However it did kind of tarnish the evening for some people.  Those not in the know about this probably didn’t notice but it did have an effect.

  

   - Boone

EAST ASH ST. BAND
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copyright 2008, Boone Stigall/The Trouble With Normal.