Sunday, October 08, 2017

Hurricanes hardly happen, and the Stomp continues

It turned out to be the hurricane that never was. Nate moved to the east of New Orleans and caused no problems in the city. But by then it was too late, as the Mayor had ordered a curfew, meaning that the second night of the Ponderosa Stomp couldn't go ahead. It wasn't all bad news though as Dr Ike, the man who has master minded all 13 Stomps to date, managed to arrange some sets at the Ace Hotel. And very good they were too, as the small room they took place in was a lot more intimate than the Orpheum Theatre where the first night's show was held.
Guitar Lightnng Lee, performing for the first time in a year after illness, began proceedings with some blues, before Los Straitjackets set the room alight with some stunning instrumentals, including Space Misquito and Itchy Chicken. They were joined on stage by various vocalists for Hanky Panky, Cruel To Be Kind and, Tom 'Spongebob' Kenny, for Ooh Poo Pah Doo. Next up were the Stomping Riff Raffs , a young Japanese band comprising an energetic male singer and three female instrumentalists. They were great fun on a succession of high energy two minute numbers. Rockabilly man Johnny Knight came next, looking dapper with shiny black hair and matching moustache, who was very good on Rock and Roll Guitar, Snake Shake and What Happened Last Night. He was backed by Deke Dickerson, which helped of course.
The most popular act with the crowd came next, a garage band from Portland called the Mummies, who dressed the part. They were terrible:tuneless, loud and extremely basic. Unadulterated rubbish, but what do I know? The crowd loved them. The room quickly cleared once they finished and I was able to get to the front for a short set by Evie Sands, a left handed guitarist and a singer who showed that she is still on top of her game. She included a couple of numbers made famous by other artists (her fate throughout her career), I Can't Let Go and Take Me For Little While. Excellent stuff,but the best act was the last one of the day, Gary US Bonds, backed by Los Straitjackets. He started appropriately enough with New Orleans, continued with I Wanna Holler, a song he said he had sung only four times in 50 years, and ended with his anthem A Quarter To Three. Gary is a joy to watch - very funny as well as a decent singer - and his set was just great, if inevitably short.
We had to leave the hotel soon after this to comply with the curfew and it's a real shame that some of the other acts who were scheduled to appear didn't do so, including Roy Gaines and Vaneese and Carla Thomas, who were in the hotel at the time. The Mayor has a lot to answer for, making his premature and, in the end, totally unnecessary order, for no doubt political reasons. But a good day all the same. We stocked up on beer and sandwiches for an evening in expecting the hurricane, but it didn't materialise.



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