No musical artist wants to be categorized, and that fits just fine for events such as The Great Eldorado BBQ, Brews and Blues Festival. There will be plenty of tasty blues — along with a bunch of other sounds — at the annual street party featuring more than 50 microbrewerys in downtown Reno held Friday and Saturday, June 14-15.
Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio plays the second night and will be the headliner for avid blues lovers, and Shane Dwight keeps his streak going with yet another appearance at the festival. Also
listed as headliners are War and Berlin, bands that had a lot of time on the radio in the 1970s and ‘80s and in movie soundtracks ever since.
Dwight, who has played the festival more than 15 years in a row, is cool with the mix of styles.
“I know some people trip out about the blues purity thing but I am not one of those people who gets hung up on ‘it should all be blues,’” he said last year.
Bishop resides in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and had his best commercial success when radio called him a Southern rocker. But he is true blues.
Guitarist and keyboard player Bob Welsh and percussionist and singer Willy Jordan are Bishop’s partners in rhyme.
Bishop, 76, is a native of Oklahoma who cut his blues teeth in Chicago with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. He moved to Northern California in the 1970s to begin a long, prolific solo career.
“One of these days it will be all over and I’ll have to go but I try not to let me down because everybody’s in the same boat,” he sang on the 2014 album, “Can’t Even Do Wrong Right.”
His two recent albums with Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio have received Grammy Award nominations.
In the 1980s (after disco and before EDM), that’s where you’ll find Berlin, a synth-pop band included in the new wave generation. It sounded European exotic, but Berlin was from Los Angeles. The songs listeners will remember are “No More Words,” Sex (I’m A …),” and “Take My Breath Away,” which was on the soundtrack for the Tom Cruise movie “Top Gun.” Original lead singer Terri Nunn, who has also had a career in acting, remains with the group.
War was a groundbreaking band for fusing funk, Chicano and Caribbean sounds delivered my multi-ethnic members. It was once fronted by British singer Eric Burdon of the Animals. It had numerous hits, including “Low Rider,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” “Summer,” “The Cisco Kid,” “The World is a Ghetto.”
War also continues to play “Spill The Wine,” but now the “Long-haired leaping gnome” is Lonnie Jordan, one of the early members who retained the legal rights to the group’s name. Four of the other members continue to perform as the Lowrider Band.”
Beer tasting packages for the 24th annual event are on sale now and can be purchased in advance for $40 per person for a one day pass and $65 per person for two days with prices increasing to $45 and $75 on the day of the event. Tickets include a commemorative tasting mug and an unlimited beer tasting wristband for the purchased time frame. Hours for Brews and Blues are 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday with beer tasting ending one hour prior to the festival’s end time. Confirmed breweries for 2019 include The Brew Brothers, Lagunitas, Angry Orchard, Truly, Ninkasi, Four Peaks and Alaskan Brewing Company.
— Tim Parsons