Johnny “Blue Horn” Moriconi has been down for a while but he certainly isn’t out. Last spring, Boston’s hugely popular blues musician Moriconi noticed that the hearing in his right ear was getting poorer. When he had it checked out he discovered he had a benign brain tumor in the back of his head. He’s now recovering from radiosurgery he had three weeks ago. The good news is that he’s already back to sitting in on some gigs, as a singer and playing his trademark Holton MF Admiral blue-lacquer trumpet.
Emergency Broadcast System sent out a strong signal at Boston’s Bell In Hand last Saturday night. This hugely popular cover band kept a crowd of cool, young Bostonians partying and dancing all evening. That was no easy task as the patrons packed what is considered America’s oldest tavern, founded in 1795. The five piece knew how to dial it in, picking the right songs to get their audience’s attention and to keep the crowd moving.
Acting on a tip from greater-Boston’s blues maven Al Cecchinelli, I caught Matt Stubbs and The Antiguas at the Book And Bar in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The band played their special brand of instrumental rock, blues, and surf music to a fairly sizable and enthusiastic crowd last Saturday night. Their music found a good home in this venue which combines a used book store with a coffee shop and bar. The room’s wide open space and high ceiling let the sound breathe and travel.