Blue Notes
5th Annual Doheny Blues Festival 5-18-02
Doheny State Park, Dana Point, CA
by Don Brown Sr.
The Blues Internet
Las Vegas Jazz n' Blues
Las Vegas Blues
music divider

Millertime Boogie took the Renaissance Stage to get the 5th Annual Doheny Blues Festival underway. They played classic songs "CHEVROLET" and Buddy Miles'"THEM CHANGES". It was a great way to start the weekend.

Creature Of Mercy was the first band to take the MGD stage. They played a hard rocking blues set that included "STONE SHINE" and the Led Zepplin version of "SINCE I'VE BEEN LOVING YOU". This song took the crowd by surprise.

The Renaissance Stage then presented Raging Sun, the lone holdover from last year's festival. "EVERYBODY GET THE BLUES", "THE SUN IS GONNA SHINE AGAIN", and "SHE'S IN THE GROOVE" showed this Southern California band at its best.

Candye Kane The big stage then featured a big woman with a great big voice, Candye Kane. Candye and her band opened with "BIG LEGGED WOMAN", then went into "SCREAM IN THE NIGHT" and "FOR YOUR LOVE", from her latest CD THE TOUGHEST GIRL ALIVE. "I AIN'T GONNA LET YOU GO" lead into the Etta James song "OH IT MUST BE LOVE". These days Candye is doing Etta better than Etta.

Rick Holmstrom & Rod Piazza The first four years of this festival, you could see every band, unless you had to eat, drink, or use the restroom. This year, they added the Backporch Stage, so now that doesn't work anymore. Rod Piazza and Rick Holmstrom played a short but fun set with Rod also doing a Q & A sesson. One question he was asked was who is musical influences were. George "Harmonica" Smith and Little Milton were his answers. Rod and Rick also played a few tunes in this intimate setting, including a great version of "IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME".

Next on the Renaissance Stage were The Bluebirds from Sweden. Their singer reminded me of Jeff Healey, and their show had some highlights. The songs "MATCHING NUMBERS" and "BIG MAMU" were their best.

The MGD Stage next had Rod Piazza with all the Mighty Flyers. They did a hot set that featured "GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL" and "CALIFORNIA BOOGIE", which highlights keyboard player Honey Piazza and drummer Steve Mugalian. The band also played favorites "LOVE TO SPARE", and Rick Holmstrom sang "I'M GONE". They ended their set with "SOUTHERN LADY", which featured Rod playing his harmonica and walking around the crowd.

Terrance Simien For me, the surprise of the day was Terrance Simien. His energetic zydeco set featured "ALL HER LOVE AND I STILL WANT MORE" and "THE SUN AIN'T GONNA SHINE ANYMORE" and an "IKO IKO" jam that went into "JAMBALAYA" and back into ""IKO IKO". Terrance and his band also performed an encore, the song "BOOGALOO CHER" that also featured an instrumental zydeco version of the Jackson 5's "I WANT YOU BACK". This performance left the fans stunned at what they'd heard.

It was back to the main stage for East LA's own Los Lobos. Having just seen this band in March, I expected a great show. Los Lobos didn't disappoint. They only repeated a handful of tunes from the show I had seen. They opened with "DON'T WORRY BABY", "I WALK ALONE", "DOWN ON THE RIVERBED", and a great "DONE GONE BLUE". "HEARTS OF STONE" and "MARIA CHRISTINA", two new songs from their soon to be released CD, were next. "GET TO THIS" was played before the band jammed out on "JUST A MAN". Two mariachi songs, "SOY MEXICO AMERICANO" and "AY TE DEJO EN SAN ANTONIO", had the fans dancing on this chilly day. "YOU'VE GOT TO LOSE" lead into another jam of "MAS Y MAS" to end a great but short set.

The Renaissance Stage next featured harmonica hero Charlie Musselwhite. Charlie's fine band left him plenty of room to wail, and wail he did. Show highlights were "POOR GREY LIGHT OF DAWN" and "HIGHWAY 51". Charlie's harmonica playing would be hard to surpass.

Closing the first night on the main stage was 21 year old Jonny Lang. Jonny's nine song set featured "LOOK OUT MY WINDOW", "GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL", and Tinsley Ellis' "A QUITTER NEVER WINS". Jonny's playing and singing were in top form, even in the slight drizzle. The highlight of the set was the song "I AM". During the song, Jonny traded riffs with his sax player. He ended the day with an encore of his biggest hit, "LIE TO ME" to send to moist crowd away happy, tired, and anticipating Sunday.

We would like to give a special thanks to Ryan from Omega Events.

Photography by Carol Michaud, copyright © 2002 Brown Ink

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