So you didn't want to cross the Patomac into Virginia... eh? Well count this another awesome show missed.
Joe Stanley's benefit was a giant who's who of DC area music. Stephanson, Mitchell, Preveti, & Hart started the show off at 4:30. I arrived in time to see the Surf Club's House Band, Heroes & Friends, play. I hadn't heard them before, and was impressed with their heavy country-rock mix.
One of the great joys of these things is watching the musicians watching the musicians. Next up was the Rick Whitehead Trio. I don't know enough about Jazz guitar to classify his style, but consider Rick like Earl Klugh at 2-3 times the speed. It was cool to see the Heroes & Friends guitarists watching this display of pure velocity in a genre very different from their own.
Big Joe & the Dynaflows were up next. This, of course, included the man of the hour, Joe Stanley. Big Joe put on a superb set, including giving many solos to the esteemed Mr. Stanley and keyboardist John Cocuzzi.
By this time the crowds were growing. And unlike the standard Whitlows crowds. This bunch was very focused on the stage. Channels 4 and 9 had camera crews come through. There is a good chance some of us got on either channel, and a very good chance Patti Innis and I made it on channel 9.
Billy Hancock's name was new to me. The band resembled Big Joes in many ways, including Big Joe and John Cocuzzi. Then they added the superb saxes of Jocque Johnson and Chris Watling (on Bari). Billy himself is a bit of an odd guy. But he sings an old swing style very nicely.
Many of you have heard us gush about the State Theatre benefit of some months ago. This one had a very similar feel and, in many ways, lineup. One thing this had was organization. The bands pretty well stuck to their half hour allotment and set changes were very quick.
Mary Ann Redmond's band was the next up. She had Benji Porecki on keys and borrowed Tommy Lepson's congo player (Cesar Vanegas). Mary Ann is great. She has so much fun on stage, and is in absolute control of that band. After a few songs, Tommy Lepson is called up. Though Tommy is a great organ player, he leaves that job to Benji, and took on the singing chore. Tommy and Mary Ann are some of the absolute best singers in the area. And they didn't disappoint.
The Nighthawks are a band so critical to the area's music. These guys have been around forever. And this night they got together with guitarist Tom Principato. These guys play together on occasion, most recently at the State Theatre Halloween gig. They are good together, and the Nighthawks danceable-hard driving-blues is always great.
And from the Blues to Country Truck Driving songs. Yep, it was time for Bill Kirchen & too Much Fun. Another perenial favorite, Bill's Dieselbily, is full of energy and very danceable. Continuing the guests sitting in trend, Bill called up Tom Mitchell (guitar) and Chris Watling (bari sax) for 'Who's that Who'.
There were lots of musicians running around. Many not scheduled to perform. But they were here to support Joe. There's Janine Wilson over there. David Earl over by the door. The Iguanas Derek Huston stopped by before going off to his gig at the Rams Head. And many many faces that I recognize from various bands, and who's names don't come to mind.
One of the faces that I didn't recognize was that of Ruthie (of Ruthie & the Wranglers Fame). Bill Kirchen called her up on stage for a song before finishing with 'Hot Rod Lincoln'. Ruthie had cut her hair, and I never would have guessed it was her.
The next great task was fitting all of the J Street Jumpers on stage. They did manage to do it. Some of the monitors were pushed off the stage onto chairs. Rusty Bogart was hidden behind the five member horn section. These guys sounded great. And Marianna Preveti's voice was very strong.
These shows bring out some great talent and it brings out the best in them. Best of luck Joe, I hope this helped offset your costs enough.
Late Breaking News: It was announced after the show that they had raised over $5000 for Joe's surgery.