I’m just going to come right out and say it. I don’t believe you can see a better show than Bobby Messano’s. You can see a bigger show, with more special effects, but I don’t believe you can see a better show musically, and I’m not just talking about blues or blues-rock. Bobby is a seasoned profressional, and he’s played with some of the best in the business. His CD, That’s Why I Don’t Sing the Blues, was my favorite CD of 2011 and nothing has challenged it in 2012 so far. RIght now, he’s at the top of the American Blues Scene chart. And last night he and his bassist, Steve Geller, and drummer Mike Williams, in the words of owner Ernie Ladato, “raised the roof off of Darwin’s!”
Last time I saw Bobby, the crowd was woefully thin, and he still played as though the room was packed, for hours. This time, the room WAS packed, and the crowd was enthusiastic and that is the way it should be. Not a person there would be surprised to find out that Bobby has been nominated for a Grammy in the first round of nominations eight times, including nods for Live in Madison and That’s Why I Don’t Sing the Blues.
For the 2 hours we were there, Bobby sang and told stories and just generally entertained. The crowd was delighted with every song, from originals to covers. The interaction between Bobby and Steve (who had a fantastic bass guitar with flourescent strings, by the way) was such fun to watch, and the sheer joy on Bobby’s face as he performed was just infectious. I didn’t stop grinning for the entire performance! And Mike Williams, who told me he had not played onstage with Bobby and Steve since summer, sounded as though they had been doing this every day for years.
After Bobby recounted a story about seeing one of his first major concerts with The Chambers Brothers, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix at one show in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York for $3.65 (and I remember the days when you could do things like that, too), he played an amazing Hendrix set to end the evening.
As I was leaving and thanking Ernie for the fabulous show, he told me that he has known Bobby for a long time and he never heard him play better than he did last night. I’ve known Bobby for a short time, but I can not imagine hearing him play better, or with a better bassist and drummer to back him up, for that matter. But I can’t wait until the next time to see if he can match or surpass that performance again!
Just go ahead and do yourself a favor and mark March 3 on your calendar, and come see Bobby Messano at Darwin’s. Get there early and get some great burgers or some of Darwin’s other great food and claim a seat…the place is going to get packed!