Presented by: Outback Presents
Review and photos by: Patrick Dunn
662 Juke Joint Live
Despite the extraordinary number of tours that have been announced for 2022, my experience at the State Theatre this past Wednesday evening has made me ready to lock in my pick for “hidden gem” show of the year early. Rising Mississippi born blues guitarist and singer Christone “Kingfish” Ingram gave a caliber of performance that would without question blow away a diverse range of music fans reaching far beyond the often-narrow perception of this important genre.
Fueled by recognizable growth on his latest release, which is a product of forced time off the road during the pandemic, the “662 Juke Joint Live” tour feels like a vehicle for Kingfish to finally pop the cap on this piece of his creativity that has been bottled up for months since the albums release in July 2021. Accessorizing his stage attire with Prince’s Love Symbol on a ball-cap and pendant gave an immediate visual clue to the audience that Minneapolis was a significant stop on the tour and likely was in store for something a little extra special.
The four-piece band launched into opening track “She Calls Me Kingfish” without their front man in view, and suddenly his commanding guitar sound appeared front and center in the mix, creating an added feeling of excitement and anticipation leading up to the moment Kingfish finally took the stage. An all-encompassing theme became apparent early on suggesting that the naturally suited guitarist would be referencing the planned setlist as a roadmap, but where each individual song ended up going was left to develop in real time and there weren’t any imposed constraints.
It was fun to try and identify some influences in his playing like a few Eric Gale’s style chords on “Another Life Goes By” to the Eric Clapton and BB King version of “Key to the Highway” seeping into the main melody on “Something in the Dirt”. The less prominent guitar accompaniment on “Another Life Goes By” effectively framed up the songs important lyrics and offered a perfect opportunity to appreciate Kingfish’s rich singing voice and how clear and understandable he was able to deliver the words live.
Several elements ended up making “Too Young to Remember” a standout. A funky Prince style riff in the verses beautifully tee’d up an explosive solo section that Kingfish carried out into the audience giving quite an up close and personal moment for fans with seats halfway back from the stage. He was able to really dig into bends and find his way to powerful notes that screamed out in a way that sometimes made you almost physically ache, and other times make you want to jump for joy. There were moments of slow quiet blues that resolved with dynamic builds driven by tasty runs. It was especially apparent during this display how effectively Kingfish feeds of a crowd’s energy and I’m happy to say Minneapolis fans rose to the occasion. Once back on stage, he had one final moment of inspiration and decided to cap off the marathon solo in classic Hendrix fashion by picking the final few phrases with his teeth.
Switching gears and tapping in to his Mississippi roots, Kingfish grabbed an acoustic for a 3-song section that produced some nice moments, my favorite being the solo during “You’re Already Gone”. It proved to be the calm before the storm as he dialed in his best tone of the evening for a truly rockin’ combination of “Outside this Town” leading into “662” that brought the crowd to their feet demanding more. As if it wasn’t already amazing enough, Kingfish saved his special nod to our city for the encore. “We are in Minneapolis, right? There’s a certain someone from here who obviously had a big influence on what I’m doing.” Kingfish invited supporting artist Maggie Rose back to the stage to join him for a tasteful duet of Prince’s “Cream”. One final sentiment was expressed leading into the evening’s biggest moment, “I debated whether or not to play this next song because no one could ever play it as well as Prince did. Can I play Purple Rain for you?” I must say, he did a pretty damn good job!
She Calls Me Kingfish
Another Life Goes By
Empty Promises (Michael Burks cover)
Too Young to Remember
Been Here Before (acoustic)
Something in the Dirt (acoustic)
You’re Already Gone (acoustic)
Not Gonna Lie
Outside This Town
Long Distance Woman
Cream (Prince cover)
Purple Rain (Prince cover)
Hey Joe (Hendrix cover)