With protective crystals, Hunter & The Dirty Jacks cash in

Hunter & The Dirty Jacks

From sand to snow, Hunter & The Dirty Jacks played Crystal Bay Casino on wintry Saturday night.

Band members from Hunter & The Dirty Jacks are going play in a casino on Saturday with one of a kind.

Frontman Hunter Ackerman is the one of a kind and the band hopes to draw a full house into the Crystal Bay Casino’s Red Room for a free after-party show.

“I like our odds,” guitarist Jon Siembieda said.

Southern California-based Hunter & The Dirty Jacks will appear at the venue on a winning-hand weekend for rock ‘n’ roll fans. The living vanguards of Hill Country blues, the North Mississippi Allstars, headline the Crown Room on Friday, with opens with North Shore soul — the Sam Ravenna Band — followed by a Red Room after-party with The Sextones, the R&B stalwarts of the Lake Tahoe-Reno area. On Saturday, just another band from East LA, Los Lobos, will make a rare North Shore appearance in the Crown Room. Afterwards, Hunter & The Dirty Jacks will play with house money.

“It’s Americana,” bass player Aaron Barnes said. “It’s heavy blues rock. And we do jam a little bit.”

Barnes, Siembieda and drummer Brian Lara previously played with a blues band they called Kettle Black. Almost seven years ago, they started The Dirty Jacks, which includes guitarist Carmelo Bonaventura. When they met the charismatic Hunter Ackerman, they knew they had found a frontman who fits right in with the others.

“He’s one of a kind and it’s all real,” Siembieda said.

On and offstage, Hunter & The Dirty Jacks wear boots and vests, beards and beads.

“Ironically, the crystals protect us from false beliefs and silly superstitions,” Ackerman said.

The music?

“We’re like late ‘60s, early ‘70s bands that blended styles, such as the Allman Brothers or Free or even the Stones, with an “Exile on Main Street” kind of sound — a little bit of everything,” Siembieda said.

The band has three albums, the most recent being 2018’s “Chase The Moonlight.” A new one is in the works.

“We’re gearing up,” Barnes said. “We’re going to go in the studio in April. We’re working with a producer this time around. We’re pretty stoked about that.”

Some of the new songs will be played Saturday. Probably.

“Frankly, we don’t know what we’re going to play until we step onstage because we don’t have a set list,” Siembieda said. “We’ll play songs from ‘Chase the Moonlight’ and stuff from our first album or two, and it’s an after-party show so we’ll throw in some sort of fun, uptempo covers. Maybe some Stones, or what have you.”

On the previous CBC shows, Hunter & The Dirty Jacks had the casino to themselves. Now they will play after a truly transcendent American band. Los Lobos became a national sensation in the late 1980s blending rock ‘n’ roll and traditional Mexican music. Its lineup has remained nearly the same since 1973.

Siembieda is happy to be a part of Crystal Bay’s epic weekend of music and to be becoming a familiar band to Lake Tahoe concertgoers.

“Crystal Bay … is where we’ve wanted to play all along,” Siembieda said. “The north side is where the North Mississippi Allstars are playing on Friday, Los Lobos is playing Saturday, Chris Robinson Brotherhood plays there, The Mother Hips play there. It’s all the kind of bands we like. Even the peer bands Groove Session and The Higgs, who are friends of ours, play there. That’s our scene. We’ve found our place in town where we’re going to build upon. That’s Crystal Bay for us.”

 — Tim Parsons

Related story: Q&A with Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars.

  • Crystal Bay Casino’s sparkling weekend of rock
    Friday, Feb. 8
    North Mississippi Allstars
    Opener: DJ Harry Duncan, 8 p.m. start
    Red Room after-party: The Sextones
    Tickets: $25 in advance or $30 on the day of the show
  • Saturday, Feb. 9
    Los Lobos
    Opener: Sam Ravenna Band, 9 p.m. start
    Red Room after-party: Hunter & The Dirty Jacks
    Tickets: $35 in advance or $40 on the day of the show

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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