Featured at the event were local greats, Mike Leslie Band, Tino Gross, Dusty D’Annunzio, and Buck Nell.
National Blues Review hosted their launch party at Callahan’s Music Hall, Detroit’s listening room for the blues music lover. Callahan’s in Auburn Hills, MI has been known and continues to host amazing blues acts like Johnny Winter, John Mayall, Jimmie Vaughan, Walter Trout, Sonny Landreth, Joanne Shaw Taylor and many more.
The room was packed even before the first act, Buck Nell, hit the stage. Hailing from Pontiac, MI he warmed up the anxious crowd with powerful original songs. Armed with only an acoustic guitar, Buck’s delivery grabs the audience’s attention like a punk band at CBGB’s in the 70s. His wailing vocals and blasting bluesy guitar are sure to turn more and more heads in the near future.
Dusty D’Annunzio from Windsor, ON crossed the border over to MI that night with an acoustic guitar and years of experience in rock and blues. A king shredder in his home town of Windsor, his performance that night will be something Detroit audiences will be buzzing about until his next time over, which hopefully won’t be too long. His style crosses borders of delta blues, funk and soul, and even ragtime reminiscent of Blind Blake. His set ended with an extended Stevie Ray Vaughn style jam of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”, which earned him a well deserved standing ovation.
Tino Gross, frontman for Detroit’s Howling Diablos, offered a bluesy, swampy solo performance. With a Fender Strat, tweed amp and kick drum he created a vibe that filled the room like a full band would. Tino treated the audience with a mix of Howling Diablos classics and old blues favorites. He finished his outstanding set with the Detroit favorite “I Wanna Be Your Dog” by The Stooges.
The night’s headliner Mike Leslie Band walked onto the stage to a loud, standing audience with an introduction by local MC Son of Andy. Opening the set with a local favorite “Notice”, MLB set the tone for an energetic rollercoaster of a performance. Mike Leslie treated fans with free gifts and sunglasses in preparation for their new unreleased song “Badasses”. With the chorus line “You don’t need the sun to wear sunglasses ’cause the sun never sets on badasses” fans quickly released the intention and need for the free sunglasses.
Leslie treated the fans to a surprise when he moved to the drums and invited the crowd to come up on the stage with him. While playing guitar, drums, and singing at the same time with his original cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Never loved a man (the way I love you)” he created a new definition of the “One Man Band”. For the night’s finale, Mike Leslie Band invited Tino and Dusty onstage for a spontaneous jam of the Howling Diablos classic “Funky Daddy”. The evening proved to be a successful launch for National Blues Review and left old and new fans anxious for more.
Photo credits: Gary McFarland
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