Magic Slim and The Teardrops played some of the finest blues I've ever seen, at The Silver Dollar Room here in Toronto on Saturday, September 7, 2002. I was headed to the annual Southside Shuffle Blues Festival in Port Credit, Ont. that evening, but thought I should stop by The Dollar for a few minutes along the way to take a couple of photos of Magic Slim. Once I got inside I was totally captivated by the band's raw, straight-ahead approach to the awesome Chicago blues they played. Magic Slim and the boys played the Southside Shuffle the night before, and really added to the awesome talent roster that played that incredible four-day event. The energy, good taste and tightness of the band is
everything anyone could ask for in a blues band. What I saw at The Dollar is the best the blues ever gets. The only other time it gets this good is when Guitar Shorty comes to town - this according to my friend and fellow reviewer/blues aficionado, Gary Tate.
The whole band performed together as a team. They seemed to read each other's minds and anticipate each other's every musical move. Sometimes Magic Slim himself would play an incredible guitar solo, or other times it was Michael Dobson's guitar licks that blew the audience away. Magic took the back seat when this happened, playing some powerful backup rhythm guitar. Daniel O'Connor was thumpin' and pumpin' out some heavy duty bass lines all night long, totally supporting the rest of the band in a big way. Allan Kirk played some steady, melodic rhythms on his drum kit that blended beautifully with whatever the rest of the band was doing. He sang some rousing lead vocals at times too, and added some great background vocals when called upon to do so.
Magic's vocals were expressive and always enjoyable to listen to. He sang with ease, and played guitar superbly. Most of the tunes that night were hard driving and up-tempo. Others were slow, introspective and deep. No matter what was played, the crowd loved it - packing the dance floor for most this highly enjoyable evening. The beautiful servers at The Dollar were kept on their toes, making sure all the lucky patrons there had plenty of whatever liquid refreshment they needed. The whole place partied to the nth degree with the fantastic blues they heard on stage. Sadly, the evening finally came to a close after two long and spectacular sets. The crowd's unrestrained applause let Magic and the boys know they were well loved.
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