Monday, August 26, 2013

CONCERT REVIEW: C.J. Chenier, Chris Duarte at Abilene

Posted By on Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 10:34 AM

C.J. Chenier certainly laissez les bon temps rouler at Abilene Wednesday, August 21. The joint was one big percolatin' dance floor as Chenier and his able crew rocked up the zydeco. The show went well past most bedtimes, and into those hours known as wee.

I don't believe I've seen Houston, Texas, blues rocker Chris Duarte perform since the Milestones days -- the first Milestones, that is, back in the 1900's -- 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.

Earlier the same day I was gnawing on a lamb shank at the Greek Festival on South Avenue as two cats on stage played some beautiful bouzouki. Mixed in the traditional flutters and trills of the Greek selections were some surf flutter and trills. As they played Dick Dale's "Misirlou" I found myself wondering if all the things Dale captured in his sound included not only lava, but baklava?


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