Monday, November 8, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Blues Jam -The Limelight Lounge - The Tap -Host - Michael Fioretti

Sunday Afternoon Blues Jam
The Limelight Lounge - The Tap
Haverhill, MA
Host - Michael “Fee” Fioretti

Review by Georgetown Fats

The Patriots had just had their backsides handed to them by the lowly Cleveland Browns, the fall nip in the air continued to drop into the bitter range, and the intermittent clanging of my furnace reminded me of just how ridiculously expensive it is to live in Massachusetts. I had the blues, and with my own band spending Sunday afternoon recovering from a Saturday night of chasing women, there was only one way to let these blues out.

While other areas of the state are losing blues locales due to the economy and low turnout, those of us in the Greater Haverhill area are fortunate enough to have bar owners still looking to cater to a blues-loving crowd. Michael “Fee” Fioretti has recently taken over as the host for the Sunday afternoon Blues Jam at The Tap’s new “Limelight Lounge,” and extended an open invitation to the jam and cemented it with the promise of a micro-brewed beer to-be-named later.

With a house band consisting of Steve “Tats” Taturunis on bass and Dave Mattacks on drums, Fee and his jam rhythm section opened the afternoon jam up with a quick forty-five minute set. Due to a previously booked event at the Limelight Lounge, the jam was moved down to the main dining room at The Tap. While The Tap may not have a juke joint vibe, the acoustics in this old mill building are just exceptional for live music. The floors creak, the steep stairwells offer an interesting exercise in depth perception for those who may have consumed a bad ice cube, nothing in the room is level, and the exposed brick wall offers both visual and audio appeal. And the special appearance of the flashing blues lights from Haverhill’s finest through the uninsulated windows provide both an impromptu light show and a moment of comic relief for the assembled blues and beer enthusiasts. The old mill building in which The Tap is located provides a vibe and ambiance rarely found outside of New England.

Mindful of his jazz and funk roots, Fee keeps almost every sound out of his custom homemade guitar and boutique amp tinged with jazz and funk, which are complemented perfectly by his soulful vocals. Though capable providing a lot of sizzle with his bass work, Taturunis provides a low-end foundation and groove big enough to drive a cement mixer through. Like a reality television star, “Tats” has the innate ability to appear whenever there is a crowd, live music and alcohol. Unlike a reality television star, “Tats” has actual discernible talent, justifying his ability to be an in-demand local musician. Mattacks’ drum work propels and swings the trio through an exercise in tempo and creativity. They started every piece in the same key and tempo, and finished every piece in the same key and tempo -- not always the norm with a piecemeal backing band.

Probably one of the one of the most entertaining aspects of anything musical Fee involves himself in is the ability to push the envelope of blues. Fee and the assembled group of musicians brought their ‘A Game’ delivering an afternoon of deep tracks and a sprinkling of original pieces.  A sampling of this particular Sunday afternoon had Bob Leger pulling out Lloyd Price’s “Mean Disposition” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Who’s Been Talking,” Dave Thompson of The Resuscitators singing Kim Wilson’s “Wait on Time” and an original composition called “So Free” while holding down an airtight groove on the drums. With ‘Rockin’ George Leh and John Shiavoni patiently waiting for their turn to jam, by no means was the quality of the jam going to diminish as the afternoon went into early evening.

Ever mindful that while the dining room had been taken over by the jam, it was a full service eating establishment, Kirsten and Zaida provided more than the appropriate level of hustle, charm and navigation through tables and instruments to make sure all were taken good care of. Glasses were kept full and appetites were satiated despite being slightly understaffed for the situation. Clearly, ownership and management of The Tap knew that the best way to handle the scheduling issue was to put some of their best waitstaff together to handle the thirsty blues-lovin’ crowd.

So if you find yourself in the Haverhill area on a Sunday afternoon and have that itch for live blues, the Michael Fioretti Trio’s Sunday afternoon blues jam at The Limelight Lounge at The Tap is well worth the investment of your time. Or be sure to check out their other nights of live blues, which have featured Gracie Curran and  The High Falutin’ Band, Blind Billy and The Spectacles, Jeff Norwood, Drivin’ Blind, Lydia Warren, and The Ten Foot Polecats. While the weather may not be warm enough for the jam to take place on The Tap’s expansive back deck overlooking the Merrimack River, The Michael Fioretti Trio have assembled quite an assortment of local musicians to keep it plenty hot inside at their Sunday afternoon jam.

1 comment:

  1. Great info, thanks for posting. If you are looking for a portable grill & deep fryer then you really shouldn’t look any further. This thang rocks!