047190022-nevada-laughlin-colorado-belleLeaning over the rail out back of the hotel and casino on the river walk, you can’t help but notice how swift the river current is. The mighty Colorado, or at least the most famous of all the rivers with the same name Colorado, (there are several in the US, one being right near Austin, TX), but this is the Colorado that carved out the Grand Canyon, feeds the lawns and car washes to Southern California and not to mention the millions it helps feed in the world for the crops that are irrigated by it, this is a mighty river indeed. Our stage is on the river walk and the river is to our backs while we play. A small concrete permanent fixture with ample room for bands of our level it’s not a bad set-up for this festival. My only complaint is since you have the stage being on the walk, you have the main thoroughfare of pedestrian traffic bisecting the dancing floor area that’s right in front of the stage. So you’re going to get a lot of insouciant people lumbering past you while you play and some you can see the painful endurance they’re experiencing while walking in front because they don’t want to be in the aural crossfire. As an artist that feeds off crowd energy you have to just tune this out, it can be a bit of a buzzkill at times.

laughlin-logoWe’re here for the next 11 days to play two consecutive running blues/biker fests that are annually held here in the little casino town known as Laughlin, Nevada. With a diminutive strip that barely makes up two miles in length, it’s bookended with the Riverside casino on the north end and down to Harrah’s on the south. Several are in between and we’re one of them; The Colorado Belle. So our first show is a bit of getting used to the stage and its sound. We have just a few minutes to dial in as best as we can before we’re to play and then that’s pretty much it, – it’s one, two, three go. Also there’s only a 15 minute change over between bands but this turns out to be fine since most bands are playing the equipment provided by the hotel and I’m the only one playing my own amp. Dustin and John didn’t need to use anything beside their own sticks, cords or bass. As I stated in the previous blog, I did make it through the Blues and Brews fest only repeating one song – ‘My Way Down’. The next fest I continued to mix it up but stuck with a few songs that were repeated on several occasions. Although it took me a while to warm up to the scheduling and crowd’s overwhelming unenthusiastic attention at times, we slowly started to win over some in the audience and in the end people were coming out specifically to see us cuz’ they knew we were there to play. We were the odd band out on this line-up. All the other bands were actually just fine as far as entertaining the crowd and getting them to dance to familiar and popular tunes of the past and present and all of them were veterans of this event, with Preston a regular for the past 13 years and Chris Hiatt 8 years respectively, but we were the only one there with a robust original format. As much as I wanted them to dance and sway to my music, I was mainly concerned with how we got our message out there. At times I know I was a bit demanding on some ears and attentions, especially in the early afternoon shows but I tried to go easy on them, but what can I say; I am what I am.

As the days progressed so did we. We got more and more used to the sound on the stage and my fingers and voice started to acclimate as well. There was one performance rained out due to a rare band of showers that blew through but fortunately it was only one because I was starting to have fun at this gig. I liked being the intense band that threw caution to the wind when we played. We definitely started to convert some people. With the festival over now and our tolerance to the buffet food at our very limit, we’re glad to be pushing on to Salt Lake City today. This was a nice break and maybe we’ll be here next year cuz’ I don’t mind breaking up the routine once in a while. The hotel rooms were fine and the people were most enjoyable as were the other bands too, Preston Shannon, Chris Hiatt and John Earl and the Boogeymen. See y’all next year guys, and I’ll see y’all with my next blog.

Cheers = chris duarte

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