What is the sound of 700 people smiling? Bluesdays.
The weekly summertime Tuesday show at The Village at Palisades Tahoe opened with the happiest ambiance of local cheer in the crowd and upon a new stage large enough to fit The Blues Monsters and some talented friends.
“After every song the crowd would just go crazy,” said Blues Monsters guitarist Chuckie Dunn, whose voice was in fine fettle, singing into a new Sennheiser condenser microphone.
Guitarist Barry Slayton has new stuff, too: A Paul Reed Smith guitar and a sharkskin suit with razor-sharp creases.
A band that began 31 years ago doesn’t need a set list, so there were off the cuff renditions of songs by Buddy Miles, Tower of Power, Sly and the Family Stone, Elvin Bishop and, closing the show with “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” by Bruce Springsteen — When the change was made uptown and the Groove Monsters Horns joined the band, Jen Campbell, Brian “Nak” Nakagawa and Todd Mather blew the crowd away. Onstage guests included singers Kendal Naughton and Kandy Xander and young keyboardist Ashton Kates.
For the first time, Bluesdays had an opening band, Honey Vixen, a rock duo of Kandy Xander and Nicole Gaich, whose hair matched perfectly with the Bluesdays banner.
“I can’t tell you enough how appreciative we are to be the only local band to play,” Dunn said. “We’ve opened every year. When I see the posters and all the names, Chris Cain and everybody else, and our names on there as well, it’s very gratifying.”
The opening show crowd was filled with year-round residents, happy to be back at Bluesdays, which was shortened in 2021 due to wildfires’ smoke and completely canceled in 2020 due to Covid-19. Folks who have been away are reminded to bring their own chairs.
Next week, perhaps Bluesdays’ most popular artist, Chris Cain. will perform.
“That little gig at Squaw Valley has been one of the real joys of my playing days,” Cain told Tahoe Onstage. “I’ve never played anywhere where everybody’s so happy. My band is like a bunch of flowers and if you put water on them, they just bloom. Those folks there are just so receptive to stuff. My band just played their brains out when they’d go there.”
When: 6 p.m. Tuesdays
Where: The Village at Palisades Tahoe
June 21: Chris Cain
June 28: Mark Hummel Band’s Night at The Fillmore
July 5: Laurie Morvan Band
July 12: Terry Hanck
July 19: Dennis Jones Band
July 26: Albert Castiglia
Aug. 2: Aki Kumar
Aug. 9: JC Smith
Aug. 16: Studebaker John & The Hawks
Aug. 23: Eddie 9V
Aug. 30: Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings