When he stood next to a mountain, Dennis Jones didn’t chop it down with the edge of his hand. He used a Les Paul Gold Top guitar.
In the loudest Bluesdays of summer — perhaps ever — the Dennis Jones Band displayed its chops for a packed Village at Palisades Tahoe on July 19 with two full sets of original and classic rock music. Those Olympic rings are still ringing.
Introducing the show, Jones said, “We haven’t been here since 2019 because, you know.” With his customary black fedora sitting on a speaker, Jones let his dome shine during a hot day at the storied ski resort.
The crowd members quickly realized they were being treated to a special performance by an electric guitar virtuoso, who mugged for cameras and ad-libed on the goings-on. The multi-generational crowd was especially represented with energetic 20-somethings.
“You guys have been pent up long enough,” observed Jones, who likened the scene to a pack of suddenly unleashed dogs. “Just don’t sniff any butts.”
Props to Chango, the sound engineer. New bass player Rob McDonald’s riffs resonated loud and clear as drummer Raymond Johnson, whose been with Jones since 2013, kept the rhythmic foundation solid. Jones was animated and loose and the music was tight.
Jones paused to use his phone to take video of the enthusiastic crowd. He said he wanted to show it to friends back in Los Angeles.
“Anybody ever heard of Robin Trower?” asked the bandleader, who heard cheers from geezers back in their territorialized chair spaces.
“Day of the Eagle” from Trower’s “Bridge of Sighs” was followed by Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Cold Shot,” which Jones played cool. Billy Gibbons also was covered: “Nasty Dogs and Funky Kings” from ZZ Top’s “Fandango.”
Rock music of the 1970s is in Jones’ DNA.
As the sun set, a woman shouted, “Seventeen more songs!”
“You must be hard to please,” Jones quipped. “That’s why some men have to have three jobs.”
It seemed to be the greatest Bluesdays of the season. But we’ve been saying that each week. Albert Castigilia is next. He’s a rocker, too.