photo by Bob Burchess

The Chris Duarte Group is on the road performing tracks from the superb "My Soul Alone" album plus new surprises as well! Chris will soon be recording another album for release later this year. Take some friends and catch a show, you are guaranteed to be blown away by this current lineup of Chris, Dustin Sargent and John McKnight! Please send in some concert reviews and photos to post here on the 'ol Reviews page. I've posted several YouTube video links to many shows, but I really like hearing your visceral reaction to the music and strange tales of your roadtrip. Please write up a little review, maybe something bigger than a Tweet (be as verbose as you want, there's no word limit), and e-mail it to: cdgfans@ix.netcom.com or you can also mail them to:
Chris Duarte Group Fan Club, 939 Revere Street, Aurora, CO 80011

I'll post them here for all to see! Thanks!


 

THE 702 BAR
Las Vegas, Nevada
1/23/14

Here's some photos of the show taken by Bob Burchess. This was the band's first time playing at this club.

 

 

THE CRYSTOLA ROADHOUSE
Crystola, Colorado
1/18/14


1st Set: New Instrumental / Show Me That You Want It / Yes, It’s You / Still I Think Of You / Crazy
Tailspin Headwhack / It Comes To Me Naturally / I Bucked It Up / It's Quittin' Time / Ridin'
Open Up Your Back Door / One More Cup Of Coffee / Carelessness

2nd Set: Big-Legged Woman / The Best That I Can Do / Make Me Feel So Right / Leave My Soul Alone
Sundown Blues / Screenwriter's Blues / Manic Depression / Catfish Blues / My Way Down / People Say

Here's some video clips of the show that were shot by Reverend Bob:

IT'S QUITTIN' TIME

RIDIN'

 

 

 

BART'S RECORD SHOP
In-Store Performance
Boulder, Colorado
1/18/14


Big-Legged Woman
Sweet Little Girl
It's Quittin' Time
(1st time performed live)
Just Kissed My Baby
Show Me That You Want It
Open Up Your Back Door
My Way Down

Here's some video clips of the show posted by Reverend Bob:

BIG-LEGGED WOMAN

SWEET LITTLE GIRL

JUST KISSED MY BABY

SHOW ME THAT YOU WANT IT

MY WAY DOWN

-photos by Rick Shaw

 

 

THE TOAD TAVERN
Denver, Colorado
1/17/14


1st Set: New Instrumental / Show Me That You Want It / Ridin' / Yes, It’s You / Scrawl
Open Up Your Back Door / Crazy / Outta' My Way / I Bucked It Up / Sweet Little Girl
Just Kissed My Baby / Let's Have A Party / Live For Tomorrow / Do The Romp
Carelessness
(1st time performed live)

2nd Set: Hideaway / Screenwriter's Blues / Tailspin Headwhack / The Best That I Can Do
Make Me Feel So Right / Bottle Blues / Letter To My Girlfriend / Watch Out
Leave My Soul Alone - Blue Jean Outlaw
(1st time performed live) / My Way Down
Cleopatra - Like Eric /
Encore: Wish You Were Here

The Chris Duarte Group pounded out an intense 3-hour show after driving over 600 miles from Missouri to Colorado (the day before they had also driven over 600 miles from Atlanta to Missouri!). This was my first time seeing drummer John McKnight and I was blown away. Not since seeing Frosty play back in 1995 has there been a drummer with such power and finesse. John has been drumming a long time and is a real pro, a drummer's drummer. He adds another gear to the band's sound and also contributes background vocals on several songs such as "Outta' My Way" and "I Bucked It Up". It's always great to see Dustin Sargent on the bass. He is such a natural fit to Chris' playing and he and John McKnight make a lethal rhythm section for Chris to play with, against, and on top of.
Sporting his gold-flaked guitar and shorter hair-do, Chris eased into the show with a new instrumental track I hadn't heard before. He then downshifted into several newer songs and never looked back. Everyone was sweating by the second or third song. Chris always plays at his best when he's backed by a solid, confident band, one that frees him up to just play and has his back on each and every song. The entire show was riveting, intense, and professionally played with power to burn. They played so hard it was emotionally draining to just watch, kind of like watching MMA in the octagon. Several times I just closed my eyes in order to listen to the song and not watch the musical storm onstage. Paul Barnstable from the band Another Mother sat in on a couple songs and went toe-to-toe with Chris. It wasn't just a throwdown, they complimented each other very nicely. The first set ended with a free-form instrumental that took me awhile to realize that it was "Carelessness" but without the electric violin! This was the first time this song has been performed live and we were treated to another debut performance of "Blue Jean Outlaw" which was very effectively tacked onto the end of "Leave My Soul Alone"! This combination worked really well together and made for a poignant ending. Several songs had extended solos and the 3-hour show ended with a nice version of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here". I felt like a wrung-out towel after watching the Chris Duarte Group tear up the Toad and I'm sure they were exhausted and looking forward to a good night's sleep and a day with very little driving! A great show by a killer band!

Here's some video clips of the show provided by Reverend Bob:

RIDIN'

SCRAWL

OPEN UP YOUR BACK DOOR

-review by Craig Keyzer, photos by Rick Shaw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VARIT
Kobe, Japan
11/8/13



VARIT is one of the best live venues in Kobe and Chris has played here a few times before with Bluestone.
The Chris Duarte Group played two and a half hours with several new songs. I loved "Leave My Soul Alone", a heavy tune that grooves like hell. I enjoyed Chris's excellent blues/rock sound with psychedelic grooves and a touch of jazz. The last song was "People Say" which became a long outro-psychedelic-jam session! Incredible, impressive, awesome! It was a fantastic show! I hope they come back soon.

-photos and review by Megumi Iuchi

 

 

 

 

TAKUTAKU
Kyoto, Japan
11/7/13



TAKUTAKU was once a sake brewhouse and is now one of the city's most popular live venues. Chris Duarte has cut his hair short and was playing a gorgeously-glittered XOTIC guitar. His guitarwork is more and more amazing each time he comes to Japan. The new drummer, John McKnight, is the best of both worlds - a very cool drummer as well as a good singer. In the middle of the show, before the song "Hold Back The Tears" (which he played with Bluestone), Chris asked for donations for the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster and many people donated. I was glad to see that and really appreciated everyone's thoughtfulness. Thanks Chris and all the fans!

-photos and review by Megumi Iuchi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABILENE BAR & LOUNGE
Rochester, New York
8/25/13


It's been awhile since I've seen blues rocker Chris Duarte perform and I remember him as more of a blueser than the progressive bruiser I saw play at Abilene Sunday night. The show, a stop on his "My Soul Alone Tour 2013," was initially slated for the patio. But given the fear that Duarte's Stratocaster would stratocast and bust clouds, causing it to rain, management horsed the whole affair indoors. Duarte rocked the crowd as if it was one big bag of Shake 'n' Bake ("And we helped"). Working within the flexible confines of his three-piece band, Duarte took songs based on a riff -- often a blue one -- and explored and enjoyed and extrapolated it, frequently giving a toggle-switch tour along with all his stomp boxes and their myriad purr, growls, and screams. Duarte doesn't shy away from the mic either, and I imagine he needs to give his fingers a reprieve. So songs like "I Bucked It Up" were sing-along crowd pleasers for the mostly male, cargo-shorts-wearing crowd, which also needed a break, what with all the air-guitaring, fist-pumping, and head-banging going on. A blend of Stevie Ray and Jimi, Duarte proved song after song (including his expert stab at "Manic Depression") why he is up there and out there on the upper deck when it comes to the classic American guitar hero.

-review by Frank DeBlase, Rochester City Newspaper

 

 

 

GILLY'S
Dayton, Ohio
7/10/13


1st Set: Hideaway / Ridin' / Show Me That You Want It / Yes, It’s You / Scrawl / I Bucked It Up
Bottle Blues / Leave My Soul Alone / Sweet Little Girl / One More Cup Of Coffee / 101

2nd Set: The Best That I Can Do / Outta' My Way / Make Me Feel So Right / Big-Legged Woman
.32 Blues / Satisfy / Paper Dolls / Still I Think Of You / Let's Have A Party / Manic Depression
My Way Down / Cleopatra

The band played a great deal of the new CD "My Soul Alone" to an appreciative Dayton audience. It was great to see and hear Dustin back on the bass. With Mr. Sargent and Mr. Dave Anthony, the bottom end was in very capable hands, allowing Chris to do his thing. "Bottle Blues" continues to be the jewel of whatever set that it gets played in. And the song "Leave My Soul Alone" has even more of an "off the rails" feel to it live, with body language really speaking volumes. Played back to back on this night, the two aforementioned songs provided a solid twenty minutes plus of deliciously intense guitar playing. Check out the videos below to see what I mean. It was unbelievably physical. It was insanely dramatic. It was a typical Wednesday night for Chris Duarte. The highlight for me was seeing (and filming) "Manic Depression" for the first time in my 18 years of following this band. That was a REAL treat!!!

Here's some video clips of the show:

LEAVE MY SOUL ALONE

BOTTLE BLUES

MANIC DEPRESSION

-review by Arthur Creech

 

 

 

DON ODELL'S "LEGENDS" SHOW
Palmer, Massachusetts
6/25/13

The Chris Duarte Group made their second appearance on Don Odell's fabulous "Legends" show for a taped performance! The taping is filmed in high-definition with great sound to match. There's also an interview with Art Tipaldi in which Chris mentions that the next album will be a live album! Check out Don's YouTube site for clips from the performance here. And you can still purchase the very first "Legends" broadcast from 2010 here.

 

THE BRICKHOUSE
Scarborough, Maine
6/23/13


1st Set: Hideaway / Show Me That You Want It / Ridin’ / Big-Legged Woman / Yes, It’s You
I Bucked It Up / Bottle Blues / Crazy / Still I Think Of You / I’ll Never Know / Scrawl
Hold Back The Tears / 101

2nd Set: The Best That I Can Do / Make Me Feel So Right / Outta' My Way / Empty Arms
Sweet Little Girl / Leave My Soul Alone / One More Cup Of Coffee / Let's Have A Party
Sundown Blues / My Way Down / Like Eric / People Say

Boom, Boom, Out Go The Lights! Chris Duarte is a Texas bluesman who infuses his blues with a bit of jazz, creating a style that is all his own. The Brickhouse is a small venue, which is actually not a venue at all but the basement of a house in the middle of a wooded lot where they hold house concerts. To get into the events you have to be invited or know someone. The Brickhouse seats roughly 60 people, has a small stage, a sound system, a few lights, and a greenroom equipped with beds for the band. Over the past couple of years homeowner Paul Williams has held some great shows from both national acts as well as many local acts. These have to be “Private Parties” or the town will give him flak for unlawful assembly or something to that effect. Friends attending can leave donations which all go to the band. Fans of the music will often buy a lot of merchandise, T-shirts, CD’s and posters from the bands which also help with their expenses. Chris hit the stage promptly at 6 p.m. and, along with Dustin Sargent on bass and Jon McKnight on drums, played a 90-minute set of material spanning his 26 years of recorded material. Chris’ style is very unique, at times ripping through what seems like thousands of notes within a 30-second timeframe, and other times slowing it down and getting those deep bends that have been a signature of the blues. Each song was met with huge applause and cheers from the full house. After the set Chris announced that they would be taking a short break to sell some merchandise. After maybe 10 minutes, the rain outside started picking up and then BOOM! A crack of thunder shook the house and we were in the dark. Candles were lit, flashlights and cellphones alike illuminated the room, as we all sat and waited for the power to come back on. After maybe 15 more minutes in the dark, Chris announced that he would be continuing the show. A fellow patron and local musician had an acoustic guitar with him and as homeowner Paul started a generator, providing enough power to run the board and a light or two, Chris and company hit the stage again. Chris muscled his way through the first two songs of the set on the acoustic (which, along with the bass, was plugged directly through the board). Jokes were made about the work it was taking to bend the heavy strings of the acoustic, which are much heavier than the light electric strings. Dustin asked “Are we gonna do the next one?” apparently it was a new one and was very demanding on guitar, and on acoustic it was going to be a chore. Chris answered, “Shit yeah, I’m gonna soldier through this!" - and he did just that, not missing a beat. Someone brought up the fact that since the acoustic was plugged through the board, that his electric should be able to be plugged in and after a laugh and a headshake, insinuating, why didn’t I think of that? The show continued. Chris smiled and announced, “It's like running with legweights on!” Chris played a second hour-and-a-half to two-hour set and then left the stage before being called back for an encore. This show was great and you could really tell that Chris is just a guy who really likes to play his guitar. Where most bands would have taken the excuse of a power outtage to call it a night, especially after already playing for an hour and a half, Chris just wanted to play and was determined to give the audience everything they paid for and more. After the show Chris and band were treated to Lobster and Steamers, a traditional welcome in Maine.

-review by James Pappaconstantine

 

THE BIDWELL'S HOUSE
Willington, Connecticut
6/22/13


1st Set: Slapstak / Make Me Feel So Right / Scrawl / Open Up Your Back Door
Get Outta' My Way / I Bucked It Up / Sweet Little Girl / Bottle Blues
Yes, It's You / Show Me That You Want It / Manic Depression / Happy Birthday
Crazy / Screenwriters Blues / 101

2nd Set: Hideaway / I'll Never Know / Big-Legged Woman / Satisfy
Let's Have A Party / One More Cup Of Coffee / Leave My Soul Alone / Ridin'
Hold Back The Tears / Leave Her Be / The Best That I Can Do / Still I Think Of You
People Say / Empty Arms / Stratus / My Way Down / Cleopatra-Like Eric

What a night!! It was an unplanned show, the result of a scummy club owner canceling a gig 2 days before it was to happen. The club, The Alamo in Brockton, Massachusetts, is a dive bar that Chris has played twice before. The guy paid pretty well in the past, so Chris kept going there, but this time he backed out, leaving Chris & company with no gig on a Saturday night. Nice, eh? But enter longtime hardcore CDG fans Dave and Mel Bidwell. Their niece was having a college graduation party at their sister's house in Connecticut. After hearing from Chris about the cancellation, they made a couple of phone calls, getting both the OK and the sound equipment needed to pull it off, then went to Chris to ask about him playing the party. He shot them a price, they quickly agreed, and what took place was easily in the top 5 CDG shows my wife Gloria and I have seen...and we've seen a ton of them! After the show I mentioned to Chris that the performance and the vibe at the gig was on par with the Duarte Family Reunion shows in Eureka Springs. He agreed...the whole thing couldn't have been any cooler. It was at a house out in the sticks, a beautiful home with a huge backyard. The band set up under the raised deck, using their amps and a PA for the vocals. There were a few of us fans/friends from the New England area, but most people in attendance were Bidwell family members and friends who had never seen Chris. It was very cool seeing all these newbies getting into the music...folks ranging from teens to 70's, all getting into it. I personally "educated" a few folks about Chris, and told them about the 7/12 show at Chan's...which is about an hour from the house. I had a few people tell me they were going for sure! So in the end, everything worked out perfectly: The guys had a paying gig, the party had killer music that everyone was into, and we "family" members got treated to Chris laying it all out there...3.5 hours of the guys at their best. Speaking of the guys...Chris had John McKnight drumming for this New England run, and he was great. At the Bull Run show the night before, we chatted with Chris before the show and he said this guy was a great "get", that he's very highly sought after in the Atlanta area, and that he reminded him a lot of Frosty. I totally agree...John looked and sounded like he'd been playing with Chris and Dustin for years...and those were his first 3 shows. The guy is a real pro...and he sang lead vox on "Empty Arms"! This was a show for the ages, and it will not be soon forgotten! To watch some video of the show, click on these song titles:
Open Up Your Back Door
Manic Depression
Stratus
Empty Arms

-review and photos by Mark McKay

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BULL RUN
Shirley, Massachusetts
6/21/13


Here's some photos taken by John Dadalt
and here's a video clip from the show:
Bottle Blues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE HUNGRY TIGER
Manchester, Connecticut
6/20/13


The CDG tore up the Hungry Tiger again, great set with some new songs and a surprise rippin' Manic Depression. Getting ready to head to the Bull Run for another go! Here are a few pix from the Tiger show.

-photos by John Dadalt

 

 

 


 

 

 

THE CRYSTOLA ROADHOUSE
Crystola, Colorado
5/4/13


1st Set: Make Me Feel So Right / Scrawl / Leave My Soul Alone / Show Me That You Want It
Crazy / Open Up Your Back Door / Bottle Blues / Satisfy / One More Cup Of Coffee
Yes, It's You / Do The Romp
2nd Set: The Best That I Can Do / Letter To My Girlfriend / Still I Think Of You
Borrowed Love (with Austin Young) / People Say (with Austin Young) / Let's Have A Party
Birthday / I Bucked It Up / .32 Blues / Just Kissed My Baby / My Way Down
Sundown Blues - Manic Depression / Cleopatra - Like Eric

My buddy Craig Keyzer got off work and headed over to pick me up and off we went to Rick Shaw's house on our way from Denver down to Crystola, up in the mountains west of Pikes Peak. A CDG roadtrip! Nothing better! We headed up to the spot-on-the-map known as Crystola, just outside of Woodland Park. We made a point of getting up there early to maybe hang with the band, eat some dinner, and chat a bit. It's always nice to spend some casual time with Chris. He's an incredibly busy guy who makes time for his fans and is a fun guy to be around. It also gave me a chance to get to know Dustin and Dave a little better. Unfortunately, I had a big wooden timber right in front of me throughout the whole show, but that didn't dampen my spirits any. As good as last night's show at the Toad was, I knew tonight would be even better. Sure enough, they hit the ground running and right off the bat I knew it was going to be a great show! We got a wide variety of songs that included a mix of old and new. A GREAT version of the new title track, "My Soul Alone". All three band members lit this song up at both ends and burned it hard all the way through. This one is starting to grow on me, it kicks some serious butt! We also got the new "I Bucked It Up" (we've all been there at one point or another) and others from the new album. A killer version of ".32 Blues" (see link below) had some amazing guitar work and then came a long jam session with 14-year-old Austin Young! Smokin'!!! Austin came up to sit in with Chris on "Borrowed Love" and "People Say" (see link below). Talk about some axe slingin' - damn! I think Austin was trying to impress Chris so he pulled out all the stops and wailed. It was a great jam! The band ripped out a special birthday song for our friend Rick Shaw and punched out a rollicking version of The Beatles' "Birthday"! We also got a superb, long "Sundown Blues" and then Chris suddenly yelled out "Let's climb on this snake and ride it to Valhalla!" before the crunching opening chords of "Manic Depression"! An incredible version! It was great to see Chris pull that one out and dust it off (I always like it when Chris gets all Hendrix!). Anyway, new guys and two fantastic shows! I told Chris after the Crystola show it reminded me of the early days back when John used to be in the band. He just said thank you and had an incredibly genuine smile on his face (he knew what I was talkin' about). Nuff said. Luckily I had my trusty cell phone with me on this night (my regular video camera is in the shop) and I was able to record some of the songs. I had to squat down right next to the PA stack so the sound is a little distorted, but if you turn your treble down and turn the bass up, I think they still came out good enough to watch. Here's some links to the videos:

I Bucked It Up

The Best That I Can Do

Birthday

.32 Blues

Just Kissed My Baby

My Way Down

Cleopatra

Jam with Austin Young (Scratch My Back > Borrowed Love / People Say)

I did shoot video of the "Sundown Blues > Manic Depression" track, but my battery died in the middle of it and shut off. Go see Chris whenever you can! Buy all his CD's! Buy all the fan club releases! Support the greatest band in the Universe! And always be excellent to each other!

- review by Reverend Bob, photos by Rick Shaw

 

Flyin' south down I-25 in a bright blue roadrocket, our roadtrippin' trio of Rev. Bob, Rick Shaw and yours truly were eagerly looking forward to tonight's performance at The Crystola Roadhouse, a historic wooden roadside joint in the mountains west of Colorado Springs. Last night's show at The Toad Tavern was really good but was performed at the end of a long drive into Denver. Tonight's show will be after the band got a good night's sleep and is rested and ready to rip. We got there early and were lucky enough to be able to get a bite to eat with the band and hang out awhile. Chris mentioned he's having (and hating) to sell his SS Camaro as we dived into some of the best-cooked hamburgers I have ever stuffed into my face! And it was real cool to talk to Dustin Sargent again after him being gone for a few years. Afterwards the band went to get ready (no opening band and an early start time) and we went to snag some seats. Well lucky me - for two nights in a row I got the pole position (see photo where I had to stretch waaaay out just to get Chris into view) in which a big, fat pole of some sort mostly blocked my view of Mr. Duarte. In this case it was a giant timber, the kind that you use to build bridges, that was about two-feet wide and looked like it came from a giant sequoia! Nonetheless my ears worked fine and I have a good idea of what Chris looks like anyway so it was a fine soundin' show. The band busted out of the gate with a crisp rollicking rendition of "Make Me Feel So Right" and never looked back. Unlike last night's show, the soundman had Chris' guitar tone dialed in just right plus the audience was a Saturday-night crowd of rowdy locals who've been fans for years so the energy level was high from the get-go. Third song in the band played a torrid, raw "Leave My Soul Alone" which left the crowd speechless and numb. This song is one of my personal faves from the new album. Chris sings his guts out on it and live is no exception! Wicked! This was one of those nights where CDG hits a groove and Chris' playing is real fluid and it seems more like we are sitting in on their wild jam session than it is them playing a show for us. "Do The Romp" also left peoples' jaws on the floor. Later Chris invited a young player named Austin Young to sit in on a few songs. One of them, "People Say" ended up being close to twenty minutes long and even then Chris had to force the song to land on the runway. Austin was ecstatic on being up on stage with Chris. The band played The Beatle's "Birthday" for longtime fan Rick Shaw and then went into ".32 Blues", a song I hadn't heard in awhile. You could hear a pin drop at the end of it as it took the blown-away audience a few seconds to regain consciousness and clap. It was a super-duper show from start to finish and the new stuff is sounding great! Go grab some friends and catch a show near you (and write a review!)

- review and photo by Craig Keyzer

 

 

 


THE TOAD TAVERN
Denver, Colorado
5/3/13


1st Set: Paper Dolls / The Best That I Can Do / Show Me That You Want It / Scrawl
Leave My Soul Alone / Let's Have A Party / Still I Think Of You / Sweet Little Girl
One More Cup Of Coffee / Hideaway / Manic Depression
2nd Set: Letter To My Girlfriend / Yes, It's You / Satisfy / Screenwriter's Blues
Make Me Feel So Right / 101 / My Way Down / People Say / Cleopatra - Like Eric

With the rumor of old alumni Dustin Sargent on bass and Dave Anthony on drums it was with great anticipation that I looked forward to tonight's show. I headed out into the 4:00 p.m. rush hour for the trek across town to The Toad Tavern. The trick with The Toad is to get there early if you want to sit down for the show (my bones don't like it when I stand up all night anymore) and I met up with Craig Keyzer and his lovely wife and my friend Rick Shaw. We were treated to a great opening act, the local band Another Mother. These guys kicked it! They did a good job warming up the crowd for Chris. It's always refreshing when I hear an up-and-coming young guitar slinger who has listened to the right records. I heard a lot of Alvin Lee (R.I.P. God rest his soul) in Paul Barnstable's playing. And at the end of Another Mother's set, Chris Duarte came out for a kick-butt jam session that included a great cover of Alan Parsons' "Wouldn't Want To Be Like You" with Paul jumping up on top of his amp and getting sonic. Yup! That's no typo. Chris playing Alan Parsons Project! It was very cool! And the best part is that Another Mother was having their performance pro-video shot. They got the whole jam on tape (oh yeah, they don't use "tape" anymore) err, I mean digital archive! I spoke with Paul after the show and am trying to get a copy of the DVD when it's done for Chris' band archives. Now...let's talk about CDG! It was soooooo nice to have some fresh blood in the band. I think Matt Stallard and Chris Burroughs were just getting burned out with trying to keep up with Chris' rugged on-the-road lifestyle and were "hanging back" on stage (which seemed to hold Chris back a lot and make him work harder to keep the song together). Oh crap, I hate it when my inner thoughts jump out onto the paper, but their hearts just weren't in it and I personally think it showed in their playing. So anyway, it was nice to see and meet Dustin and Dave. I talked to them a little before the show and they are both great guys. Then I got to hear them play..... The term "fireball of sonic assault" comes to mind. They were both on fire, hungry and playing for blood - and of course that made Chris even more ferocious than usual! I just remember the whole show was "special" and left me with that jaw-drop that the early Fox Theater shows were famous for back in the 90s. What can I say, it was spiritual! But, it was just a warm up for...............The Crystola Roadhouse tomorrow night!

- review by Reverend Bob, photos by Rick Shaw

 

I went straight from work to The Toad Tavern in hopes of snagging some seats for tonight's Chris Duarte Group show. They disappear fast, especially on a Friday night. I got a seat, but my view of Chris was completely blocked by a large metal pole for the entire show (photo at left). No big whoop-de-doo as I've seen Chris hundreds of times and have a pretty good idea of what he looks like. I was there to tape the show anyway (not dvd though, then I would've been screwed!) so I gave my friend Rick Shaw the camera to go take some shots for me. The opening act Another Mother were very good and played a lot of original material. They were a trio with a heavy psychedelic-blues groove ala Joe Bonamassa and were so good that Chris came out from backstage to watch them play and was even invited onstage for three songs! They cooked on two instrumentals and an interesting cover of Alan Parson's "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You" (interestingly enough a song Chris played back in the 1980s while in the Diana Cantu Band!). The sound guy mixed the sound nicely (he was with the opening band) and then we got "the house guy" come in just before Chris went onstage. Whatever he did, he certainly did NOT have an ear for CDG's style of music and for the rest of the show the sound was lame. Chris' guitar tone was muddy and buried in the mix, vocals too! Ugh! I've heard stellar sound before at this club so it was a big disappointment to hear such badly mixed sound, especially in anticipation of hearing a bunch of new material. Some days it's chicken, some days it's feathers so I squinted my ears and adjusted accordingly. The band put on a tight, rockin' show and the rhythm section of former bassist Dustin Sargent and drummer Dave Anthony was solid and playing hard. As a band they sounded great, giving the songs the extra kick in the pants they deserve! CDG music always sounds better with extra "Umph!" added to the playing and I mean sweat, bulging veins, flying hair, stomping feet, and leaning into the songs! This incarnation of the band does just that and propels Chris to greater heights as well as freeing him up to solo his ass off!!! Resplendent in silver concho pants from Mexico and playing a metallic-gold guitar, it was wonderful to see him playing longer solos and taking it out more. The new songs had a lot of punch. Power-ditties such as "Yes, It's You", "Still I Think Of You", "Show Me That You Want It" and "Make Me Feel So Right" were punched out like from a souped-up jukebox! "Screenwriter's Blues" was given a twist rhythmically and vocally, too with Chris referencing the legalization of marijuana here. It was fun to see "Manic Depression" dusted off again and that it still puts cracks in the plaster! It was a solid sender of a show except for the bad sound mix. Looking forward to everybody gettin' a good night's sleep before tomorrow's show up at The Crystola Roadhouse!

- review and photo by Craig Keyzer


Hey y'all, remember to confirm the shows before roadtrippin'!

 

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