@ Bilbo's on 3-24-01
Chris Bell & 100% Blues
by R.J. Bianchino
The Blues Internet
Las Vegas Jazz n' Blues
Boulder Blues Site
"I can't pay my rent, I can't pay the bills, I can't feed the kids... ain't seen nothing yet"
So sings Chris Bell towards the end of the first set. But the above scenario may change soon. Chris brought his band 100% Blues to Bilbo's in Las Vegas last night. And 100% is exactly what was delivered.
The four piece band began with a burnin' instrumental Chris simply calls the "Ali Shuffle". This was followed by "Texas Flood", a song that lived up to its Texas roots. Chris Bell sings the blues in a rough and gritty voice, which at first takes some getting use to. Especially when it comes to picking out the lyrics. But I found that once into the groove this was no longer troublesome. In fact, the voice contrasts nicely with Chris' crisp and clean guitar work.
Bell's next song was "100% Blues" followed by "Mr. Chill" which is on Blues 2001. The latter tune was dedicated to AJ, a KUNV Blues jock, who he thanked for keeping the Blues alive. Saturday was AJ's last radio show and Chris and the boys guested. The band continued with "Hell's Too Hot" which contained a rocking keyboard solo by Alexander Burke. Then Chris slid into "Cold Hearted Woman" which he said would be on the live cd Blood, Sweat & Tears. Both Bell and Burke contributed some nice solo work on this one.
In addition to "Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" the band concluded the first show with "Someday After Awake", "Doin' Time", and "Put The Shoe On The Other Foot". All in all, a very nice well rounded set. In "Doin' Time" Chris laments that he's "been down so long looks like up to me". Chris Bell has certaintly done his time and played his dues. And it shouldn't be long before the dividends roll in.
100% Blues is Chris Bell on guitar and vocals. Ray Aguilar on electric bass. Alexander Burke on keyboards. And Dave Dalessandro on drums. After Bilbo's the band heads back to their L.A. base where they will be playing throughout April. In May Chris says they'll appear at a club during the Catalina Blues Fest. Be sure to check out the Chris Bell and 100% Blues website for more information. Also see the new site at ChrisBellBlues.com
Photography by R.J. Bianchino copyright © 2001-2003 Moondog Productions
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