The Bands

Local 362 ALL STARS - 1:00PM

For the past six years, musical members of the South Bend Fire Department have come together to create an all-firefighter band specifically for the South Bend Firefighter's Local 362 Bluesfest. They call themselves the 362 All Stars. Although the line-up changes from year to year, a core group of individuals provide a solid foundation.

Because members work on opposing shifts, practice time comes at a premium. The band compiles a set list and is able to rehearse only about a half dozen times before taking the stage as the first act at the Bluesfest. In the past, they've played everything from Buddy Guy and The Beatles to B.B King, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones.

"It's for a great cause and we have a lot of fun. It's something I look forward to every year," says core drummer, Mark Mammon. "Our goals are pretty simple," added keyboardist, Todd Skwarcan. "Give about an hour of entertainment, have fun and try not to lay an egg."

Elwood Splinters Blues Band - 3:00PM

The Band was originated to perform for a one time Jam session for a local Charity Organization in November of 1988. The combination of crowd response and natural love for the Blues has kept the Elwood Splinters Blues Band together, with the reputation of being the hardest working Blues Band in the Michiana area. The Band has worked on bills with the Legendary Pinetop Perkins, Southside Denny, KoKo Taylor and her Blues Machine, Glenn Davis, Clarence Carter, Lonnie Brooks (Rolling Stones Recording Artist), Sugar Blue, Melvin Taylor, Bit Time Sara, Little Charlie and the Night Cats, Son Seals Blues Band, John Conley, Carl Weathersby, Little Ed and the Blues Imperials, Ron Piazza and the Mighty Flyers. Lately they have been asked to be the warm up act for The Tommy Castro Band and many more!

Blue Lunch - 5:00PM

Blue Lunch plays retro music. Its specialty is that confluence of late '40s/early '50s jump blues/R&B/post-swing music that soon morphed into rock 'n' roll. But there's nothing musty about this nearly 20-year-old Cleveland act that has really started to make a name for itself in the last decade. Although this 17-track disc, its fourth, contains four tracks by band leader/vocalist/ guitarist Bob Frank, most of it consists of vintage covers, with a heavy focus on lively, fun stuff that often, on tracks like “Chicken Blues” and “Honey Chile,” exhibits the goofball humor that era's pop music was known for. Spirited, danceable tunes like “Alligator Meat” and “I Do, I Do, I Do,” driven by the crisp horn section, predominate, spelled by an occasional blues track like “Little Boy Blue.” That the band brings it all off with such panache is a tribute to its chops; the eight players comprise some of this town's most seasoned musicians. In big-band style, brief but non-indulgent solos give them a chance to shine without breaking up the flow of the tunes. -By Anastasia Pantsios, Cleveland Free Times

Toronzo Cannon - 7:00PM

Throughout the history of Chicago blues, the intensely competitive local club scene has served as a proving ground, where only the best musicians rise to the top. Iconic blues artists from Muddy Waters to Howlin’ Wolf to Koko Taylor to Hound Dog Taylor to Luther Allison all paid their dues in the Chicago blues bars before making their mark on the world. The same holds true today, as newcomers look to living legends like Buddy Guy, Eddy Clearwater and Lil’ Ed Williams for inspiration in taking their music from Chicago to fans across the globe. Now, Chicago-born-and-raised blues guitarist /vocalist/ songwriter Toronzo Cannon is ready to write his own story as he claims his place as one of the city’s most popular and innovative blues musicians.

Popa Chubby - 9:00PM

Over the course of a career that dates back to 1994, Popa Chubby has been a force of to be reckoned with on the guitar, and his tempestuous, soulful playing has never been more powerful. An imposing figure with a shaven head, tattooed arms, a goatee and a performance style he describes as “the Stooges meets Buddy Guy, Motörhead meets Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix meets Robert Johnson," Popa Chubby is an endearing character who is one of the genre’s most popular figures.

A native New Yorker, Horowitz's first gigs were in the NYC punk scene as a guitarist for what he reflects was a "crazy Japanese special effects performance artist in a kimono called Screaming Mad George who had a horror-movie inspired show." Right from the start he was immersed in rock ‘n’ roll as theater, and learned from George and others playing CBGB’s at the time that included the Ramones, the Cramps, Richard Hell, whose band, the Voidoids he joined that rock ‘n’ roll should be dangerous.

The Blues however was the foundation of his playing style. He recalls, "Since I’d grown up on Hendrix, Cream and Led Zeppelin, when I started playing blues in New York clubs I understood that the blues should be dangerous, too. It wasn’t just from playing in punk bands. Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters were dangerous men. They’d cut or shoot you if they thought it was necessary, and Little Walter packed a gun and wouldn’t hesitate to use it. That danger is a real part of the Blues and I keep it alive in my music.”