Well of course you don't miss a chance like that!
The Iron Horse Music Hall is located in the heart of Northampton MA, and has that downtown "smallish town" feel. The venue lends itself truly to the feel of an intimate Blues club. And it's one that brings in big artists!
From the outside you would never know the depth of what is yet to come. The staff are all quite friendly and work hard to keep up with a packed room at showtime. They truly put their full energy into the work. I've yet to have a bad experience.
Where do you start when you try to describe Roomful of Blues...? With a band that has existed and evolved over 50 years of history, that has had 48+ band members throughout the years, and has amassed an amazing (and well deserved) list of awards and accolades. It's a challenge to find a starting point that is remotely sufficient to the task of describing or even attempting to review such a talented group of musicians!
In fact, this review is rather late because I've had trouble starting it for just this reason. I only hope that I succeed in conveying just how amazing they are!
When you first walk into 9 Wallis there are a few things that stand out. The first are the friendly and personal greetings you get at the door by the owners and staff, and the second is being taken to where your seat is. You're not left to wander through the venue trying to figure out where your table may or may not be hiding. (Although, there is no hiding in this venue, everything is easy to navigate!)
The next thing that will stand out pretty quickly is the venue itself, from the clean and fresh exterior to the attention to detail that has been given on the inside. Beautiful flooring and woodwork, stained glass, a bar that looks like it just rolled out of a glamorous movie set from the 50's, and bathrooms that are some of the nicest I've seen in any venue.
The venue itself…
Marcia Ball is one of those singers/musicians that really stands out on a list of artists when you scan the list of top performers in the Blues. Her blend of Texas and Louisiana country and party Blues really is unique experience. You really don't see or hear many people that can take two genre's and blend them into a third AND make it work. Marcia's ability to take you on a ride through the countryside and lead you right down Bourbon Street and hang a left only to land in Texas truly is the recipe for a fun night out!
When she takes the stage one is instantly struck by the irreverent and totally classy nature that she carries herself. It's just one of the many ways that she takes what would be a harsh contradiction amongst most and then turns it on it's ear to make you instantly feel engaged with her.
I wasn't sure what it would be like to have live Blues in the middle of a Chinese food joint, but I'd heard good things so I went in optimistic, and oh boy was I impressed. John Chan greets every person coming into the venue as he checks you in and then personally walks you to a seat of your choosing.
My advice is to get there early (the doors open 90 minutes before show start times) to make sure you get the seat you want. My second bit of advice…
The first time I had the chance to see Janiva live was truly an emotional experience for me. I'd seen her concert at Bull Run being advertised on Facebook off and on and kind of just kept getting distracted.
Then on the day of the concert that night I decided to take a leap and go see her for the first time and at a venue I'd never visited. It's funny how the most wonderful things happen out of the blue.
I went in and sat down…
The first time I attended an event at Bull Run I was truly surprised that such have a gem existed here in New England and that it took me nearly 11 years to find it,
My first visit was quite the experience, as I didn't know what the food would be like or where a good seat would be. I quickly found out that there's not a bad seat in the entire place and that the food is fantastic.
They pride themselves on locally sourced foods which are then expertly prepared and presented in a professional and impressive manner. It is refreshing to see a venue, or any establishment, take such pride in supporting their local community and industries. And while you may see prices that seem a bit more, they are truly worth it, without hesitation.
I highly recommend the sweet potato fries!
The Nick Moss Band never disappoints and with their album release tour for The High Cost of Low Living on Alligator Records proves once again that they bring their A game everywhere they go.
During their recent dates in New England (03/22/2018 Iron Horse Music Hall, 03/23/2018 Chan's Fine Dining, 04/05/2018 Bull Run Restaurant, and 04/07/2018 at 9 Wallis) they proved why this band has been nominated for a Blues Music Award, with Dennis earning his own nomination as well.
Classic rocking Chicago style Blues were on full display with Dennis playing his heart out, Taylor absolutely killing it on the piano, and a rhythm section that keeps the band moving forward at a pace that keeps the listener moving in their seats (and on the dance floor)!