The Circle Bar
December 23, 2003
Eric Lindell was from California, but he threw a New Orleans party at The Circle Bar Monday night. The R&B/Blues man had people throwing dollars at the feet of his rockiní band, and I heard hoopiní and holleriní in the middle of songs. He had my legs rocking so hard to the music that I spilled beer all over myself.
There were just enough people in the bar to create a neighborhood/jovial/talk to a stranger feeling. The happy atmosphere was fed by regulars, who spit out Lindellís catchphrases before he got them out and sparked a smiling recognition in him.
He introduced himself as Eric Slidell, which was a nod of allegiance to his new home. Lindell's band was bassist Cassandra Faulconer, drummer Marty Joyce, organist Marc Adams and saxophonist Jason Mingledorff.
Faulconer locked onto the kick drum for a rock hard tightness and groove. The band was a study in minimalism well-doneóno one played one more note than needed. This left a lot of room for Lindellís guitar melodies and vocal soulfulness to shine through. Some blues men seem to be reading from a teleprompter when they deliver someone elseís feelings, but every anguished or celebratory word out of Lindellís mouth was believable. The band sped through their set with a Ramones-like efficiency.
In fact, my only misgivings on the show were that Lindell didnít speak more between songs and that his solos were not more noteworthy. It was funny to see a sly smile on his face during the solos, as if to say, "I donít like doing this part." No matter. The boyís got soul.
After Lindell won two Offbeat awards, he landed at The French Quarter Fest with a new saxophone player and a new look. Slicked back hair, Black Cat t-shirt and tattoos visible. Still, it was the same Cassandra, same awesome groove. Sitting in and adding some great guitar solos was Sol Fiya guitarist Chris Mule, who is just starting to make a name for himself on the scene. Here's to emerging artists.