The lovely lady Jane and I took in another night of music and fun at the Roots Concert Series at the Botanical Gardens in downtown Fort Wayne. It was a gorgeous night, with a slight breeze and much lower humidity than we've been having. But the best part was definitely the music.
The opener this week was Dan Dickerson from right here in Fort Wayne. He is a one-man band who makes good use of his looping machine. It's just not everywhere you see someone playing a harp either (he has a real 'harp condition'). I have heard about Dan, but this was my first time to experience him, and I was impressed. This was also the first time I've heard 'Johnny B. Goode' played on a harp. Very cool. He would get a beat going either by strumming a few cords on guitar or banging on the side of his harp (or something) and then he'd take off from there; blending sound and voice into a mesmerizing journey of funkadelia. It was unique, it was good, and it had me wanting more. It didn't hurt either that his partner was there entertaining us with her giant hoola hoops.
The main show was the Kilborn Alley Blues Band, and they delivered their "filthy Chicago blues with a bit of southern fried soul" large and loud. I had read where they "know how to smile in your face and then kick you in the ass," and that fit pretty well. Andy Duncanson leads this group of bearded long-hairs with experience way beyond his years. I have to admit, I was a little leary of some young-ish white guys playing the blues, but from the first note I knew this was music I could use. It didn't hurt that they hail from Champaign, Illinois either (God's country); nor that several of them (not all) have long pony tails and wild beards (yes, I am envious of such); but they also know how to belt the blues and entertain an audience. And maybe the best thing is that they are, indeed, a 'band.' All are equally good at their part, and Mr. Duncanson's humility really lends itself to making everyone - band and audience - enjoy the experience. On a personal note, these guys made me feel at home too, because they seemed like the kind of people we used to hang out with when we lived in Illinois. Nice, nice (and I don't necessarily mean that in a "nice" way) band of bluesmen. Grit, gruel and growl, and leaving you loving every minute of it.
All in all, it was another nice night for some garden music downtown. Just something about listening to live blues on a beautiful Friday night with the woman I love. It doesn't get much better than that.