The Apple Barrel
January 20, 2004
Monday night The Apple Barrel was full, and Mike Hood was havin’ a good time. But, on Tuesday, the blues singer/guitarist/pianist was playing to a crowd of five along with his bandmates--drummer Todd and bassist Miles.
Hood, sporting long hair and all black garb, started the set off with a rough Stevie Ray Vaughn-like shuffle. The focus was on the guitar, and the progressions were pleasing to the ear, but Hood wasn’t proficient enough to keep the band exciting. A couple of songs in, Rob Block grabbed the guitar and showed Hood up, but Hood didn’t mind. It just gave him an opportunity to shine on the piano, his better instrument.
The next song was drum-driven and upbeat. Todd put his funky foot down and created a solid base for the others to build around. Hood was big on chords, and he did his best Jerry Lee Lewis impression on this one.
Miles was sitting in with the guys, so before a song Hood would shout out the key and say “funky blues” or “smoky blues.” Miles turned out some bad-ass solos and caught on quick, but because he was sitting in, when Hood faltered, the whole band faltered.
Next up was a slower, gloomy Gospel number in ¾ time. It was great and uplifting through its sadness. “Heidi-Ho” was after that, and it was the apex of the night. A funky blues reminiscent of Dr. John that had some cowbell flavor, it showed me the band was of a high caliber.
The last song was smoky from heavy use of the ride cymbal. The piece was a very straightforward head-rocker, and Hood switched from guitar to piano in mid-song for a wonderful solo that added a lot of Tabasco.
So, if you stop into the Apple Barrel on a Tuesday night, you might not see anybody you know, but you’re bound to see a good show.