Story by Michelle McChristie, Photos by Darren McChristie
On Saturday night, the Thunder Bay Blues Society held their first ever Blues Blast at the DaVinci Centre. It was a perfect way to celebrate the society’s 25th anniversary.
The fact that it sold out well in advance and featured local bands Brother John and The Chain proves that the blues is alive and kicking in TBay. Doors opened at 3:30 pm, so the audience was well-primed for the first of three world class bands—Tony Holiday, direct from Memphis. He played with his regular guitarist, Gordon Greenwood, and, as a treat for fans, flew-in Monkeyjunk’s rhythm section—Steve Marriner and Matt Sobb (a new supergroup?). It was an incredible 75-minute set and the dance floor was packed, but alas, the night was still young!
Up next was Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames from Chicago. Weld is nothing short of a machine who plays the slide guitar with frenetic energy. He was accompanied by Monica Myhre on vocals, Terrence Williams on drums, Joe Fanelli on bass, and Rogers Randle Jr. on sax. Weld and Myhre left the stage to play among the audience a few times which amplified the amount of energy in the room.
The show wrapped up with a mind-blowing performance by Mississippi Heat (also from Chicagodon’t let their name fool you!). A self-described “American with a French accent,” Mississippi Heat’s frontman, Pierre Lacocque, is an acclaimed harmonica player backed by an equally talented band: Sheryl Youngblood on vocals, Giles Corey on guitar and vocals, “Big Mike” Perez on vocals and bass, and Terrence Williams on drums (kudos to him for playing a double set without missing a beat!). Corey and Perez took turns on lead vocals and stunned the audience with their talent and the band left the audience wanting more, so they squeezed in an encore that, no doubt, left everyone singing on their way home.

If you’re looking to add some blues to your life, check out the Thunder Bay Blues Society’s next event: the Blues Challenge on June 17 at The Foundry. This is a blues competition with local bands—the lucky winner will represent the Thunder Bay Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN in early 2024.