Sunday, December 06, 2015

The Lucky Cheats with the Swamp Gospel and DJ Lucky LaRue at the Sand Dollar, Saturday Dec 5, 2015

This show was one that I had been anticipating for a long time - the return of the Lucky Cheats, one of my fave Las Vegas bands! The Swamp Gospel was "lucky" enough to open the show this evening and had a blast selling our soul salvation to the crowd. The Sand Dollar has a a real stage, real sound system and a real sound man (thanks, Steve!) - a pleasure to play! Hope to do it again.

(Swamp Gospel photo by John Armstrong)

But, the crowd was definitely there for the return of the Lucky Cheats - and it was pretty much a packed house for the evening. The Cheats - bassist/vocalist Luke Metz, harmonica/vocalist Jeffrey Koenig and guitarist/vocalist Wade Braggs - were joined by original drummer Rob Cournoyer, and all seemed to miss the interaction and just plain, goddam fun of playing the blues together. Everyone sounded amazing this evening and reminded me just how much I missed seeing these cats.

I've ranted and raved about the band multiple times, but besides a smokin' rhythm section, Jeffrey remains the best harp player I've seen since Magic Dick of the J.Geils Band and, as a guitarist myself, watching Wade fly over the fret board with his fast, tasteful and clever licks is as good as it gets!

The set consisted of many of their greatest hits - "Automatic",  Billy Boy Arnold's "I Wish You Would", their swampy take on "King Bee", a rousin' version of RL Burnside's "Skinny Woman", the slow'n'sultry "Good Thing Gone Bad", an almost jazzy number with Jeffrey on a chromatic harp, "You Don't Love Me", "Don't Look Back" and lots more. Jeffrey and Wade traded riffs, took dual leads and had some fine harmony lines all while Luke'n'Rob were keepin' things wild'n'fernzied behind them. So freakin' good!

Honored to have been a part of the night and happy to know that these cats are back on the scene. See 'em - you won't be disappointed! And super special thanks to DJ Lucky LaRue for keeping us entertained with quality tunes between sets!