BBQ and the blues are salaciously synonymous in my sordid life. Both share a plethora of adjectives like smoky and juicy and hot, and indulging in both at the same time seems only natural. Sure, the Lilac Fest has the sweet smell of flowers and the Jazz Fest marks my favorite week on Earth each year, but Big Rib BBQ and Blues Fest is, as the kids put it, my jam.
Six rib masters from around the US — Porky 'N' Beans from Port St. Lucie, Florida; Texas Pit BBQ from Willis, Texas; Good Smoke BBQ from Rochester; Gator BBQ from Ontario, Canada; Smokin' T's BBQ from Long Grove, Illinois; and Johnson's BBQ from Chesapeake, Virginia — will bring the heat to the meat as you eat to the beat of these top flight artists. Shoes optional, napkins mandatory, pleasure overload inevitable. Dig this righteous line-up, dad:
Thursday, July 10: Ruckus Juice Jug Stompers will bring the old time porch music (4:30 p.m.); Fat City will cover the blues with a dash of soul (5:30 p.m.); one of the best soul singers alive today with his killer horns and killer band, The James Hunter Six (7 p.m.); and blues shouter Shemekia Copeland will bust the sky (8:30 p.m.).
Friday July 11: Rochester soul sister number one Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People — you've just got to hear this woman's voice (5:30 p.m.); Grammy nominee and James Cotton's guitarist Slam Allen (7 p.m.); Robert Randolph and the Family Band with Rochester's Aaron Lipp on the organ, brings the sanctified, over the top revelation of the steel guitar (8:30 p.m.), hell yes!
Saturday, July 12: Prepare to be wowed by bluesman Fred Vine's Delta-rooted fleet finger work (12 p.m.); and equally wowed by Steve Grills (one of my favorite guitar players anywhere) and the Roadmasters' all-knowing stab at the blues (1 p.m.); Shine gets funky for you (2:15 p.m.); Rochester's own bluesmaster and bluesblaster Joe Beard (3:45 p.m.); don't miss singer/songwriter Willie Nile as he brings his hip NYC vibe a la Garland Jefferies and Lou Reed (5:15 p.m.); Brooklyn's Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens have the Daptone seal of approval (They're on the label, By the way) so you know they're good (6:45 p.m.); and you can truly experience the world with The Playing For Change Band (8:30 p.m.).
Sunday, July 13: It's Rochester's rock 'n' roll queen bee Deborah Magone and her hard-working band (12 p.m.); hard rockin' mainstays The Coupe de Villes play the coupe de blues (1:30 p.m.); Tommy Brunett will wow you with his Americana-rock mash-up — if you dig the Supersuckers country detour or Billy Joe Shaver, then you'll love this band (3 p.m.); another chance to see Slam Allen (4:30 pm.); Glen David Andrews, who has recorded with Ivan Neville and Mahalia Jackson gets big and easy with his trombone (6 p.m.); and Kansas City's Kelley Hunt will tickle the ivories silly while singing the blues (8 p.m.).
Punk-metal icon Wendy O. Williams will be inducted into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame on Sunday. Plasmatics guitarist Wes Beech and Rod Swenson, the band's creator and Williams' life partner, talk about the legacy of the singer.