Review of “Artwork Jamal and the Acid Blues” Rewrite

Published September 18, 2011 by mickala


“Artwork Jamal and the Acid Blues” was stellar but it is time for Jamal to retire and nap somewhere besides the stage.


To say that Artwork Jamal did not stand up to his hype would be an understatement, in truth Artwork Jamal barely stood up throughout his entire performance, let alone stand up to anything. The rest of the band on the other hand, made up for Jamal’s slacking attitude. They were still very much in their prime and it was obvious they still enjoyed playing.

Before that Friday night I had never heard “Artwork Jamal and The Acid Blues” play, but Jamal’s website and reviews promised great music and the comparisons between B.B. King and Jamal were intriguing. Sitting down at a table in the dark and smoky Café Boogaloo in Hermosa Beach, which was designed to transfer one to New Orleans I waited for the music in anticipation.

Before I could even prepare myself for the music to come, the blues instantly blasted the bar at full force. There was no announcement or introductions; we were just slapped in the face with the welcoming and down right gritty blues. Immediately people started hollering and dancing in their chairs, one rather intoxicated woman waved her drink in the air and swayed vigorously back and forth in the way of waiters and other patrons.

Artwork Jamal parked himself in a chair front and center for the entire concert while the rest of the band stood behind him filling up the stage. Jamal attempted to play his guitar while “singing” into a microphone. I use quotations because though it was obvious this man had immense talent at one point in his life; he seemed well past his hey-day. Vastly overweight Jamal barely got up out of his chair and when he was not singing, he appeared to be slowly plucking his guitar and possibly dozing off. At one point he was even checking his phone while his lead guitarist slam-dunked his solo. Not only was it distracting to the audience, the bassist even chuckled and rolled his eyes in a way that made it seem Jamal did this often.

Even though Jamal’s performance was distracting it did not take away from the stellar music the band was presenting. Bassist Rick Reed gave a down and dirty solo, which got more hollering from the crowd then was heard the entire evening. Billy Bates, even with Jamal’s distractions, had fun with his solo and with him on the lead guitar Jamal’s attempt at picking out the tune did not mar the music. The beats were going strong with Brendan Etter on the drums. Michael Feller, however, was my personal favorite. It wouldn’t be a blues band without a killer harmonica player and that is exactly what Feller is.

Overall it was a very enjoyable evening and ultimately I would go see them again. Though I would prefer that “The Acid Blues” leave the sleeping, stuttering and phone checking Jamal at home.


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