A week on the scene
The San Antonio Blues Society celebrated Halloween by hosting the International Blues Challenge on Sunday, October 31 at Sam's Burger Joint. Five area blues artists competed for a shot to represent San Antonio in 2005 at the Blues Foundation's IBC in Memphis (the most highly respected blues talent search in the world), with the contest also serving as a fundraiser to get the winner to Memphis. After the contest, some of SA's best blues players launched into a spirited, extended jam.
The Will Owen Gage Band launched the competition by showcasing the flashy, left-handed guitar heroics of its 17-year-old namesake frontman. Both Gage's playing and his guttural vocals indicated a heavy debt to Stevie Ray Vaughan, but his technical prowess - particularly at such a tender age - was impressive.
After Midnight and Texas Queen Bee were both dominated by their commanding lead singers (Queen Bee's Janis Joplin-esque screeches and wails were often histrionic and scary, but oddly compelling at the same time), while Delta Ryde took their blues foundation into the heavy-metal realm.
The contest's unlikely winner was the one solo performer of the bunch. Acoustic troubadour Jimmy Lee, a straw-hatted, one-man band, sang about busking for change at the laundromat and gracefully covered Delbert McClinton. A smooth guitar player and passable singer, Lee surely won the competition on the strength of his major-league virtuosity on the blues harp, characterized by wild melodic leaps and his ability to find harp riffs which locked into funky grooves with his guitar.
The 21st annual IBC, featuring Lee as a participant, will be held from February 3-5, 2005 in Memphis.
Frank Lugo managed Hogwild Records for two decades before unexpectedly passing away in 2001. Now, a little more than three years later, family, friends, musicians and supporters of San Antonio's local scene continue to remember Lugo's passion for music through Frankfest 2004,a joint celebration of his lasting influence and a benefit for surviving family members.
More Fire (Austin), Pillcrusher, Double Clutch, Hammered, and Total 13 are among the bands taking the stage this Friday, November 5, at Taco Land. Between sets, guest DJs will spin some of Lugo's favorite songs.